Organic comeback- Wool and cotton back in style


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The infatuation with synthetics has been mainly from manufacturers, rather than consumers, for some time. Synthetics are cheap and easy to produce in huge quantities. That, inevitably, has produced a reaction against them, as the anonymous wash and wear horrors have degraded into unwearable, and sometimes costly for consumers, eyesores. Kids clothes have been at the forefront of the rebellion against crud which is now rehabilitating the clothing industry as an industry and clothing design as a respectable profession.

Anyone in the rag trade will tell you that mainstream clothing design is about as intellectually and artistically challenging as blinking. The monotonous, boring “street clothes” which comprise the uniform of the average human being are a good example of design values in a coma. Office clothes are marginally better, but only because of women’s clothing. Men’s clothing continues to linger in about 1920, but with far inferior quality materials.

Ironically, the best clothing materials are the organics. Wool and cotton are infinitely more versatile than the polymers, which are pretty much stuck with their ability to stretch and that’s really their only trick, except for the new nano fibers and metal- incorporating weaves coming on the market in eclectic dribs and drabs, mainly drabs.

Wool suits are perhaps the best example of genuine quality. These are standout items of clothing, and they have to be good. Prior to synthetics, they’d have another organic, silk, as their lining. Unbelievably comfortable, and incredibly durable, these suits never really went out of fashion. Forget lapel sizes and mindless blather about cuts, good fabrics simply out-present anything else. Anyone can see they’re superior clothes.

Tweed is another example. This is a virtually bullet proof, tough, material which simply refuses to die. You can buy an old tweed in any op shop for peanuts, and you’ll have an item of clothing for life. Again, a superior fabric, a much better design concept, and the “Tweed image”, and this is a type of clothing which like a Rolls Royce simply sits there and proves it’s a better product.

The market for wool and cotton

The market developed through the real need for better quality kids clothes, particularly girls clothes, which if cheapish were also nasty, patronizing things usually of appalling quality. (Who wants their daughter to look like a sack of potatoes or be a deafening neon pink, anyway?) Another factor was that the synthetics were also identified as being fire hazards capable of causing serious burns. A combination of parental irritation with inferior quality and the real needs of kids for decent clothes created the new market for organics.

The return to organics started through kids denim and wool tops. These clothes don’t fall to pieces if a bit of sunlight hits them and don’t have to be washed by hand under a full moon to avoid color loss. The synthetics were nowhere in this race.

You really would think that someone could have come up with a fireproof synthetic which didn’t need to be treated like priceless art in the washing machine, wouldn’t you? Well, they didn’t, and that’s where the organics came roaring back into style.

Good clothes will always beat inferior clothes. Go for quality, and you can’t lose.


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