by Lorne Holden
A few years ago, I saw a man named John Perkins interviewed on TV. Perkins is the author of “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” which describes his life as exactly that – an economic hit man. His job was to to convince countries that are strategically important to the U.S. to accept enormous loans for infrastructure development, and to make sure that the lucrative projects were contracted to U. S. corporations. Then, saddled with gigantic debts, the countries became beholden to the U.S. government.
Ultimately, he had an awakening which prompted a re-evaluation of his life. He re-dedicated himself to a life with real values. He wrote his book and told his story after 9/11, when he felt that world events compelled him to do so.
The TV interview was interesting because he talked about many simple ways that people can live a more thoughtful life – a life that is less hurtful to others and to the planet. And the thing that I remember most was that he spoke about the simple importance of buying clothing at Thrift shops. He pointed out that re-cycled clothing not only creates less waste but helps stem the tide of oppressive circumstances for the many people working in terrible conditions in sweatshops around the world.
I've been a Thrift Shop fan my whole life but until that moment, I had never made this bigger, more important connection. I hadn't put together that purchasing re-cycled clothing could actually he considered a political/philosophical act, and that I could see that act as an extension of the ideals with which I live my life as a whole. But the experience isn't even just about me, and about how I want to live my life. Many Thrift Shops are run by organizations that assist society on a larger level, providing training, jobs and sustenance to people who are disabled or disadvantaged. Here's an example of what a few major thrift stores support:
- Goodwill Industries: Provides vocational rehabilitation and support for the disabled.
- Salvation Army: Provides shelter, food, job training and spiritual guidance to the poor.
- Oxfam: Runs development efforts in Third World nations.
Taking the re-cycled clothing idea even further are the many ingenious creators who make new clothing out of old clothing, making unique one of a kind creations. And of course, this site celebrates the work and imagination of one of the greats, Crispina herself.
Take a moment to think about the clothes you wear and where they come from. Would a swing by a Thrift Shop work for you, instead of heading to a mall? Could you arrange a clothing swap with friends so that your clothes get a second chance to delight someone else? Or might you want to dive into the adventure that is making something new out of something old? Have a look at the list on the right – Crispina has some workshops coming up and one might be just right for you. You would spend a great day with great people and come home with a piece of clothing that is also a work of art.
Remember that all of our daily experiences add up. Where you purchase your clothing can have a beneficial or detrimental effect on the lives of others and the planet as a whole. Be a clothing adventurer and look for your next treasure at at Thrift Shop or better yet - make it yourself!
Lorne Holden is an artist and author of the Bestselling book "MAKE IT HAPPEN in Ten Minutes a Day/The Simple, Lifesaving Method for Getting Things Done." Pictured at left if a great thrift shop Lorne discovered on a recent trip to Budapest, Hungary. Learn more about her at: www.makeithappenintenminutesaday.com