“About.” The Bra Recyclers, Bra Recycling, http://www.brarecycling.com/about/about-the-bra-recyclers.
This company encourages the recycling of bras and is a collection center for donated bras. The site claims that 2 in 10 women are wearing the wrong bra size, and that the vast majority of clothing and textiles are recyclable. Honestly, I hadn’t considered donating or recycling my undergarments up until visiting this site. I had always been instructed to throw away retired undergarments because donating them was assumed to be unsanitary. Recycling had never crossed my mind, though. This website links to a company more encompassing of textile recycling in general, SMART, whose claims about textile recycling reveal just how mindless the consumer is in regards to trashing clothing and fabric:
Digitek, Potomac. “SMART: Consumers &Amp; Green Advocates.” SMART: Consumers&Amp; Green Advocates, Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association, http://www.smartasn.org/consumers/index.cfm#.
This site claims that although 85% of textiles are recyclable, 95% of them are thrown in the trash. This is evidence that textile recycling gets hardly any of the attention that mainstream plastic, paper, and glass recycling does. However, this might be due to the fact that textiles only amount to 5.2% of landfill waste, so it is reasonable to conclude that many don’t consider textile recycling to be a priority.
Friedman, Arthur. “Lycra Moves Athleisure Goes After Sports Bra Market.” Women’s Wear Daily, Penske Media Corporation, 22 Sept. 2016, wwd.com/fashion-news/textiles/lycra-moves-athleisure-goes-sports-bra-market-10560271/
This article from Women’s Wear Daily helped explain the reason why everywhere you go you see people in athletic clothing who are probably not planning on going to the gym that day. “Athleisure” is a lifestyle whose follower count is still rising. It is ever more common to see people wearing yoga pants who are not avid yogis, or people wearing basketball shorts who have no plans for shooting hoops. Comfort and practicality, not elaborate frilly underthings, dominate women’s bra preferences. This is another example of how the bra industry is catering to women’s preferences. This casualization of the bra gives us a hint that it isn’t the specific form of the bra that makes one feminine. Sports bras are still feminine, even if they aren’t lacy things. How does the bra contribute to our definition of femininity?
Hawkins, Amanda. “4 Signs It’s Time for New Underwear and Bras.” Good Housekeeping, Hearst Communications, Inc., 11 Mar. 2015, http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty/fashion/tips/a22827/signs-throw-away-underwear-bra/.
Krupnick, Ellie. “10 Bra Mistakes You’re Probably Making (And How To Fix Them).” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 5 Sept. 2013, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/05/bra-mistakes-fix_n_3854055.html.
These articles provided information about the lifespan of a bra, which was said to be about 6 months to a year. Since these websites advise the consumer and are not employed by the bra industry, I’d say this information is trustworthy.
Ruffier, Jean. “China Apparel in Textiles World Values Chains.” Institutions and Economies(2012): Institutions and Economies, 2012. Print.
This paper is most likely a translation from French to English, as the organization information is written in French. It is also a poor translation, as there are grammar oddities throughout the entirety of the paper which made it difficult to understand at times. Though poorly worded, the information about the methods of Chinese textile industries was well-cited. The paper described the Chinese textile business as subject to the whims of Western clothing companies. Chinese businesses act in accordance with their customer’s demands, copying designs of clothing for mass-production rather than designing and developing original lines of clothing. Western companies can and will take their business elsewhere if it benefits them, as seen during the 2008 recession when Western companies took their business from China to cheaper Southeast Asian countries. I had not previously considered the U.S.’s role in China’s industry. I hear a lot of rhetoric that portrays China in a negative light, such as China is taking our manufacturing jobs and China doesn’t compensate its workers or provide them with safe working conditions. However there is more to the story. China is only doing what it must in order to keep competitive with other East Asian countries. It’s a race to the bottom perpetuated by Western consumers who desire cheap clothing. We as consumers are equally to blame for China’s lack of inclination to compensate workers fairly. If Chinese industries paid their workers more, clothing prices would increase and people would be less inclined to buy.
“Slavery Footprint.” My Footprint / Slavery Footprint, slaveryfootprint.org/my-footprint#results.
This website advocates for safe and fair working conditions for third world workers who make the things that we as Western consumers rarely question the origins of. The website offers an interactive survey that calculates the degree to which one’s lifestyle depends on scant-wage workers. To figure out how bra factory workers overseas are involved in the manufacturing of the bra, I had to meticulously go to the Fine Tune tab for every category and change the item counts of all but the bra count to zero. I put in 100 bras (the maximum) for the most pronounced effect. The results: it takes 23 “slaves” to make 100 bras. Bras are made cheaply and readily all year round, so this number should be scaled up hundreds of thousands of times.
“Wonder Bra.” National Geographic Channel, channel.nationalgeographic.com/man-made/videos/wonder-bra/.
This video went behind the scenes of how a bra is designed. It featured Maidenform, a bra brand, and its process of creating a new bra. The entire process is quite meticulous. Any prototype undergoes numerous live-model fittings and alterations. A lot of care goes into designing a bra; it is a complicated garment.