When clothing is used to protect the human body from the elements, from injury, and from wear and tear, it is rightfully considered to be an essential. Even when it is used as adornment, it fills several essential purposes, as a form of self-expression, as entertainment, as a creative outlet, and as a means of sexual attraction. However, as a global commercial industry, the manufacture and distribution of clothing is uniquely driven, not by essential human need, but by effective marketing. Furthermore, the process itself involves an enormous waste of human and natural resources to satisfy each season’s new hot color or silhouette as determined by the fashionistas. Meanwhile, fiber harvested in one country is shipped to another where it is woven into fabrics which are then shipped to a third country where they are sewn into garments that are shipped to a fourth, and richer, country half way around the world where it will end up in a closet with a dozen others just like it except for a slightly different cut and a lively new color. The workers, on the other hand, the cotton pickers, the millworkers, and the sewing machine operators, have produced a product that, most likely, they are unable to afford themselves. Of the ten essentials tagged in this project, clothing is the one that carries with it an overabundance. If suddenly everyone decided to wear only clothes already in their closets, and to donate to others those clothes they are unlikely to ever wear again, no one would have to go naked. And all those cotton pickers, millworkers, and sewing machine operators could take a break.
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