I've seen a few posts about Uniform for the Dedicated's initiative, The Rag Bag. Uniform for the Dedicated seems to be a clothing company that's dedicated to ethical and ecologically sound production and material sources (in their words - couldn't find any other details on their site). The Rag Bag is a shopping bag that you can re-use to send used clothing items to a charity of your choice, postage-paid.
The video on The Rag Bag's site says the problem is not really that we buy so much clothing...but what happens to it when we are no longer using it. Their solution is encouraging shoppers to adopt a "one in, one out" philosophy so when they buy something, they're expected to ship an old item off to charity -- to solve the environmental issue with our clothing.
So, just wanted to break that down a little...and let's see what we think. (And by we I mean me.)
1) The concept that it's totally not a problem to buy new clothes (asserted by an initiative put forth by a clothing company) is kind of a problem. I don't need to explain this. I'm not against buying stuff. I'm against thinking it's no big deal and not at least part of the problem, though.
2) How green is "one in, one out"? They don't outright say this is the concept they're putting forth but it's pretty much implied. If you buy something new, you'll have something older to get rid of - and what better place than charity! (Actually, we don't know that charity is the best place for old clothing.) But more so, I'm not sure that the concept of "one in, one out" or being encouraged to get rid of older clothing is all that green. And it might make people feel better about buying new stuff if they think giving an old item to charity makes up for it.
I think if you're just trying to create a manageable or minimalist wardrobe and you use it as a way to have a wardrobe while you shop for better-made pieces that better suit your style, great. That's a good way to not divest yourself of your entire wardrobe and then fall into the trap of just buying anything to replace it. What "one in, one out" doesn't do, though, is make sure that those clothes are used to the extent they could be whether that's with you for a while longer or you're matching them with future-owners who will get use out of them. (I do think re-sale shops like Beacon's Closet and Buffalo Exchange are likely better at getting stuff into the hands of people who will use them since they're more "curated" while charity shops are a hodge podge, harder to shop and their turnover is usually faster.) I always balk at people proclaiming that they're getting rid of all of their sweatshop clothing and replacing it with ethically-made stuff. It's already there! Just use it until you can't use it any longer! Putting it into the stream of used clothing doesn't guarantee it's life here on earth will be more sustainable.
3) The positive! (I saved it for last since I'm usually such a critical mellow harsher at picking apart what I think is green-washing.) An initiative like this might encourage shoppers to consider where their old clothing goes. A lot of people just throw them in the trash instead of charity, re-sale shops or textile recycling. So that would be an improvement.
That's where I landed. I think it's more "feel-good" than "solution" but at least it's admitting there's a problem...sort of. Agree? Disagree?