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Most of us are sold on buying local, knowing that it helps our local economies. But there are so many other bennies like the unmatched freshness of your local farmer’s market or CSA’s produce. And there’s the uniqueness factor: local artisans make all kinds of unique goods not to be found in the big-box landscape—goods uniquely suited to the needs and tastes of you and your neighbors.
But what about clothing?
Textile manufacturing has mostly disappeared in the USA. Aside from those incredible textile artists who weave and knit fabrics using locally sourced wools and fibers, most artisanal apparel makers depend on the international textile market. The supply lines used by artisans can often lack transparency. It was only through a lengthy process of elimination that I arrived at Sympatico’s sustainably produced hemp/Tencel fabric. Still, Lenzing, the Austrian company that produces Tencel in a sustainable, closed loop system, only opened its first plant in the U.S. in 2017. And the hemp I use is grown in China where the fabric is milled.
There are exciting developments in the US that are aimed at producing textiles that benefit our biosphere. Founded in 2010, Fibershed works with regional groups and farmers to create regenerative fiber systems that give back to the earth. Their mantra is “soil to soil,” a holistic approach to fiber production.
Another positive development is the burgeoning industrial hemp crops springing up all over this country. While much of the excitement has been focused around hemp produced for CBD oil, hemp is also being grown for fiber production. Activist-farmer (and Sympatico customer) Winona LaDuke has been spearheading that effort through her Hemp and Heritage Farm. Winona's vision is informed by her Native American roots and a keen appreciation for hemp’s earth-friendly attributes.
Think globally, act locally
As informed citizens of the world, we can all help. Starting close to home seems to me like a rational response to global economics. We can’t deny globalization’s impact on our lives. But we can ameliorate some of its worst aspects through our decisions as consumers, choosing to shop local whenever that’s a feasible option.
And speaking of shopping locally, now summer’s practically here, you’ll find Sympatico most weekends at the Lithia Artisans Market of Ashland. You’re also welcome to shop by appointment at my workshop near Jacksonville, Oregon. Give me a call at 541-899-3988 or send an emaill to confirm I’ll be at the market when you visit. You can also call or email to plan a visit to my workshop.
"I get ideas about what’s essential when packing my suitcase."Diane von FurstenburgIs it possible to travel with an all-natural, sustainably-made wardrobe? The answer to that question is, of course, it depends on where you’re going and what you’ll be doing. Sometimes those realities impose solutions that involve so-called technical fibers. Given airline weight limits, it [...]
Travel Tale: Our latest Travel Tale winner’s Tank and Tunic Tops are staples in her on-the-go wardrobe.
Our latest Travel Tale winner has an appreciation for simple elegance in both industrial design and the way she dresses. Charlotte Clement’s account of her travels and the role her Tank Top and Tunic Top play in her travel wardrobe earned her a Sympatico gift certificate for $100. Here’s what she says:Charlotte gets a lot [...]
Because so many of you have shared your adventures while wearing Sympatico, I was inspired to create Travel Tales — a semi-regular email feature.Send me your Travel Tale along with one or more pictures of you in your Sympatico wear and I’ll send you a $100 gift certificate if I use them. Email me with the [...]
The underlying idea of Sympatico’s color scheme is straightforward. Classic colors such as Graphite, Natural and Grey Fog work like neutrals and form the base of the Sympatico wardrobe. My fashion colors, in this case, Peach, add panache. Shades must communicate and work with each other to make the cut in my color scheme. Mix and [...]
“What is Tencel, anyway?” I get that question a lot at the Lithia Artisans Market where you’ll find me most weekends through October. Even though it’s been around since the 1970s, I find Tencel is far less well known than other modern fibers. And that’s a shame, given its sustainable, Earth-friendly production and wonderful look and [...]
Direct from the dye bath, here’s my newest shade: Peach! With the promise of summer just ahead it’ll inject a colorful note into the warm months ahead. As with all my new shades, my aim was to come up with a shade that coordinates well with the rest of the Sympatico palette. Peach hits that [...]
Like snowflakes, DNA, and fingerprints, no two figures are quite alike. As a result, coming up with size schemes that make sense on actual bodies is a challenge that has never been satisfactorily solved by clothing makers. Toss in the question of how much ease you need, and shopping for women's clothing online becomes pretty [...]
I love how Earth Day underscores how doing the right thing environmentally calls for a genuine mindset instead of just a day’s celebration. It requires a fundamental love for the only home we have. Earth Day has been inspiring us toward that for 48 years, and though at times it seems we’ve made too little [...]
Like so many Sympatico customers, Rebecca Allen is a frequent traveler. In putting out my call for entries for our recurring feature, Travel Tales, Rebecca responded with the following account of a recent New Orleans trip.Rebecca A, ready for her trip, in her Angled Skirt.I’m an archaeologist, which means that much of my wardrobe has [...]