One Good Bad Good Sandwich, Please

I learned a while ago that when you give news that contains some negative comments, especially feedback, it’s best to deliver it in the sandwich format of good/bad/good. This way, the good parts envelop the bad and it is more palatable to the intended receiver. Why does this matter? There is a greater chance, I believe, that the receiver of news will consider the bad because it’s not all bad, instead of rejecting said isolated bad news outright. Plus it’s nicer. And you can usually find a positive thing or two if you think hard enough, and why not put that good in. The exception to this is when you have only good things to say, but then the good/good/good sandwich is no sandwich at all. It’s ice cream. 

I learned this in law school when I was asked like all the students at the end of a course, to give the professor feedback, which was SUPPOSED to be anonymous, and I wrote a bad/bad/bad sandwich. The professor found out through an inexplicable chance turn of events. My guess is he also matched my handwriting after the exam (yes it was all handwritten; there was no hiding in the “rate your professor” internet) Then he more or less asked for an explanation as to why someone would hurt his ego like I did. No I am not making this up. 

I responded by back-pedaling which makes me cringe to this day because this guy was clearly a jackass and baby and I should have unloaded on him in real time about what an arrogant blowhard he was and how about putting some energy into teaching like you do being a pompous ass and the world would be a better place (the time I spend on imagined clever retorts is substantial). It’s probably good I didn’t do this. I bet he would have failed me. 

Maybe I will write a post on baby-men at a later date. So, so much material. Maybe the bad/bad/bad sandwich is a good idea in some circumstances. It wouldn’t be a sandwich then either. Just pudding. Poop pudding. Hahahaha. 

I’m sorry I can be very silly at times. Back to the matter at hand. To review, I think the good/bad/good delivery is best. I’m sure you are on the edge of your seat at this point thinking what is she going to tell me and why doesn't she say it already. Hey just be grateful you are not getting poop pudding today. 

Big Reveal- I'm going to tell you how people are thinking differently about the fashion industry, which is good because the fashion industry is causing a lot of damage, but I’m also going to tell you why there is hope for the future if we change our attitude towards clothing. All in that order.

The Good

There are many organizations that are already having an impact on the way we think about clothing and the fashion industry, and this is a good thing. If you missed it- last week I talked about Fashion Revolution. I also wrote about New York’s efforts to pass the “Fashion Act”. There are MANY other good organizations out there that are fighting this fight: The Ellen Macarthur Foundation, Remake, Stella McCartney, Patagonia, Swap Society, Sustainable Fashion Alliance, Fashion For Good, Slow Fashion Movement, The Wardrobe Crisis, the Clean Clothes Campaign. There are tons more- google “sustainable fashion” and see what's out there.

The Bad 

1. The fashion industry accounts for 10% of global carbon dioxide output (more than air transportation and shipping combined).

2. The fashion industry produces a fifth of the world’s plastic, like polyester, which is made from petroleum. There is more plastic in our clothes than cotton. Microplastic clothing sheds when you launder it and little bits of it end up polluting the ocean.

3. The fashion industry is producing more clothing than ever. Over the past 15 years clothing production has doubled. There used to be spring collections and fall collections, with a resort collection in winter. Today, there is an ongoing cycle of new designs pumped into circulation.

Shein, a $100 billion dollar company, has produced 314,877 different styles of clothing since the start of the year

One study suggests, to even make a dent in all this production, we must cut how many new clothes we buy by 75%.

4. Barely any clothing is being recycled. Eighty-seven percent of total fiber input ends up in a landfill, or incinerated. That is around 2150 pieces of clothing per second.

Maybe some of you heard that the Coach was even burning their handbags, although they now promised they wouldn’t. Wow. Do you want a "thank you" Coach?

5. Many of the clothes that are donated for re-use are sent to Africa and end up in landfills there

6. The people who make our clothing are often underpaid and working in horrible conditions.

The Good

As bad as all this is (and it feels like a punch in the gut to me), there is hope because it is possible to change our ways. Each of the above statistics are impacted for the better if:

  1. We wear the clothes we have in our closets.
  2. We take care of our clothes so we can wear them longer.
  3. When we buy, we buy used clothing.

Simply, we have to decrease our consumption and use what we already have. I find it comforting that there is an "answer" out there. It is hopeful!

Can I cut my consumption of new clothing by 75% as the headline above suggests?  If I buy resale I don’t need to be hung up on that percentage. That, right there, makes things easier already. What is new to me can be my new “new”. Resale is a positive alternative to the current state of affairs.

I will top off this good/bad/good sandwich with a shameless plug for Second Serve, because I wholeheartedly believe that we can not just stop the bad, but create good with a new clothing mindset. 

Buying resale and sending 85% to nonprofits is more than positive, it’s wicked awesome. We are using our clothing to fund the nonprofits that will transform our communities. 

Next time you check out at Second Serve, think about selecting a sustainable fashion organization as the beneficiary! As you buy your resale you can support a nonprofit that has a mission to change how we look at clothing consumption, or change the fashion industry. Make your resale work for you! 

On that positive note, here endeth the good/bad/good sandwich. If you are hungry after this long post you might want a sandwich yourself. Skip it and go for the ice cream. 

No pudding for you.

1 comment

  • Didi

    Amy, thanks for writing this. I have always been a believer in if it still fits keep wearing it. I’ve been a fan of second hand clothing for years and I don’t believe in getting a new wardrobe each season.

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