A reader sought advice on how to feel stylish while still sticking to safety fabrics.
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For a long time, all kinds of disabled people have been the biggest blind spot in the fashion industry-and, as far as I am concerned, this is a missed opportunity. Although the industry has made significant progress in acknowledging and trying to address many of its own shortcomings (including a history of racism, body discrimination, and age discrimination), there are still shortcomings in terms of disability. Even last season, there were some models in wheelchairs on certain tracks.
Given that, according to the CDC, one in four adults in the United States has a disability, this seems not only wrong, but stupid. After all, those millions of people buy clothes. As my friend and activist Sinéad Burke has often pointed out, they want and should wear clothes that express their identity and values and make them feel good about themselves.
In other words: fashion.
This brings me to you. It shouldn’t require hours of research on the material composition of clothing before the consumer makes a deliberate decision about whether to buy. But for those who suffer from skin diseases such as textile contact dermatitis (the official name for skin reactions to fabrics), this is reality.
My guess is that somewhere in those times, most people gave up and decided not to buy. Even if you can discover what a piece of clothing is made of, information about what chemical treatments were used in the process is almost never available, and it is often the residues of these chemicals that cause problems. The result is a situation that is not in anyone's interest. However it still exists.
In some cases, the certification body has already done some work for you. Maxine Bédat, the founder of the New Standards Institute, is a non-profit organization focused on setting sustainable standards for clothing. She suggested looking for "OEKO-TEX or bluesign certification and organic cotton to limit some of the more dangerous chemicals used in our clothing." Matter. ”
However, this does not change the fact that, as you pointed out, many of these certified organic garments are either fairly basic, partly because "Linter cotton has no natural elasticity," as Maxine puts it, or very expensive. (If you are really willing to invest, La Double J is a good starting point.)
The good news is that there is a wardrobe hack in this situation.
First, buy a well-made cotton dress that feels good on your skin. Maxine suggested looking at Doen, it has some beautiful floral block print dresses. Livia Firth, founder of Green Carpet Challenge and consulting company Eco-Age, favors Kitri from London and KowTow from New Zealand.
Then imagine your clothes as a primed canvas, you will go all out to match accessories: personality shoes (leather); a great belt, also leather (think Michelle Obama and her wide tight bust Clothing belt-Lyst has many options); a chic bag (leather); and some eye-catching jewelry. After all, keeping accessories updated is easier (and more economical) than clothes.
Then prepare your entrance.
Every week on Open Thread, Vanessa will answer readers' fashion-related questions, which you can send to her via email or Twitter at any time. The question has been edited and condensed.