I’m so frustrated! I love scarves and usually make my own, but last weekend in a fit of retail therapy, I purchased one of the latest, most trendy accessories: a blanket scarf. If you don’t know what that is, picture a horse blanket wrapped around your neck. For some reason, these are popular, and I wanted in. The one I scored, was just $6. Wow! Love it! Even the sales associate congratulated me on this great purchase, but I guess that’s her job. (Possible red flag…)
Perhaps I should have been suspicious with a price that low (possible red flag #2), but it was on clearance and was originally priced at $30. Sooooo…. it’s 100% acrylic/polyester and was made in China (was that another red flag?), but a lot of things are made in China these days, and it wouldn’t be itchy, I rationalized. Excited about this find, I wore it first chance with a black topcoat.
After removing the scarf, I glanced down at my jacket and was shocked to discover I had somehow physically clashed with a llama somewhere, or maybe it was a sheep dog, or maybe a whole herd of sheep. Unable to recall any wildlife encounter that would cause this, I narrowed down the culprit to my now, not-so-great blanket scarf. If acrylic/polyester had a soul or had suffered to make this scarf, I had just assumed some karmic debt that I will be paying for a long, long time (or until the scarf runs out of fuzz).
But, I still have hope. A quick Google search confirmed that I am not alone, and many people had weighed in on possible solutions while others had to prove how snarky they could be: “Don’t buy cheap scarves! Ha ha” one diva admonished; another suggested readers “Hoover it, lol”; still another recommended putting it in clingfilm, which completely flummoxed one earnest reader who wanted to know if she had to wear the scarf while it was wrapped in clingfilm. The person who offered that useless suggestion clarified: “It was a JOKE!” Not helpful.
My third link took me to some common-sense solutions on Hunker, and I have now finished following that writer’s advice to brush it with a pet-hair brush, hand wash (or wash on gentle cycle) with mild soap and fabric softener and lay flat to dry. The article further suggested spraying it with spray starch, which gave me pause. First, I don’t have any spray starch. Second, wouldn’t it make the scarf stiff and sticky? I’ll skip that step and see if I have any luck with the first three steps.
Update: Just hauled the thing out of the washer, which I had set on the no-spin cycle. Of course, it weighed a ton due to being waterlogged, but some gentle squeezing and a half hour draining on a thick towel made it dry enough to lay over a dryer rack. Fingers crossed for a wearable blanket scarf! (PS: Thought the scarf broke our washer–all that fuzz!–but, alas, my husband got it going again. Relief! The washer was not destroyed by angry acrylic/polyester fibers. Have I tamed the beast? Time will tell.
Now it’s your turn. Have you suffered any not-a-bargain bargains? Had fuzzy scarves or sweaters turn on you? Would love to hear any fashion/fiber horror stories to prove I am not alone.
And finally, messy logic
I am not proud of the fact that I still (despite knowing better) occasionally purchase cheap, disposable fashion. My philosophy if buying new is to purchase quality goods, made close to home (if possible), and made ethically by people who are paid a living wage. Buying local, handmade items from people you know is always a good thing. Spending more on quality is my choice when I have the money. This is particularly true if I buy the occasional handbag (Cuyana is a good source and my Cuyana tote looks nearly new after 2+ years of daily use) or shoes (My Wolky boots are 5+ years old and have endured many, many travels and daily wear).
If I am not buying new, my first stop is a secondhand store or thrift shop. I figure recyling clothing is the next big thing we can do if, like me, you enjoy changing up your wardrobe now and then. Still, sometimes the best I can do is to be mindful of how my decision to buy cheap clothing or accessories may contribute to the dark side of the fashion industry. Acknowledging I am a work in progress is not an excuse–I am not letting myself off the hook–but I need to acknowledge the reality that I sometimes come up short of the standards I have set. I also acknowledge that my decisions, not just with fashion choices, but when I choose where to shop, where to eat, where to travel, etc, have an impact. Awareness precedes action, action precedes impact, and impact is real if not always visible. A positive impact is the best we can do. If you want to learn more about the impact of your fast fashion choices, here’s a good start.