Fibershed Project: The 150 Mile Wardrobe

fibershed field photo

Photo: Fibershed

Three years ago we covered The Hundred Mile Suit, where 92% of a man's outfit was created from materials and production sourced from a radius of 100 miles. The project's designer, Kelly Cobb, said at the time: "If we worked on it for a year and a half, I think we could have eliminated that 8 percent."

Now, the Fibershed Project is experimenting with the concept once more, and they seem to taken on board Kelly's hint, for they've widen their scope to fibres sourced from within 150 miles, and given the project a one year time-frame.

But why impose any such limitations? Because in 1965, 95% of the clothing in a typical American's closet was made in America, today it's less than 5%. Because the textile industry is reckoned to be the 5th largest contributor to CO2 emissions in the US. Because the production of an average T-shirt emits 40 times its own weight in carbon dioxide emissions. Rebecca Burgess, Paige Green and Heidi Iverson wanted to see if a bioregional approach to apparel could reduce such impacts.

Fibershed plant dyes photo

Photo: Paige Green for Fibershed

Their Fibershed Project is centred in Northern California, and aims to document the plant life, farmers, knitters, and spinners they encounter during the challenge. To date they've found the likes of the Sally Fox's remarkable organically grown coloured cotton, as well as the Wool Scouring Co-op and the Yolo Wool Mill.

fibershed paige green yolo mill photo

Photo: Paige Green for Fibershed, seen at Oakland Local

The plan is to live for one year in clothes that were grown, processed, woven/knitted, dyed, cut and sewn less than 150 miles (241 km) from Rebecca Burgess's doorstep. If all goes to plan her wardrobe will include: boy-cut shorts; a tank top with shelf bra; wide leg capris for biking; work pants; sleeveless tunics that double as dresses; separate sleeves; below-the-knee bloomers for yoga; socks and undergarments. And maybe an evening dress dyed in pokeberry (fuchsia).

The project have nominated for assistance with both Kickstarter and Nau's Grant for Change to help with funding to pay local farmers and mills and to record the project to photo and film. They were successful in the first instance, but only have a couple days left to benefit from your vote for the Nau's Grant for Change funding.

More Fibershed information:
Rebecca Burgess
Paige Green photography
Oakland Local

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