Emily Matchar sets out to puncture what she sees as the illusions of smug boho consumers who believe their purchase of locally grown and handmade goods is striking a blow for a better world. She writes,
"In progressive circles, buying handmade has come to connote moral virtue, signifying an interest in sustainability and a commitment to social justice. By making your own cleaning supplies, you're eschewing environment-poisoning chemicals. By buying a handmade sweater, you're fighting sweatshop labor. By chatting with the artisan who makes your soap, you're striking a blow against our alienated "Bowling Alone" culture."
To which I first want to say, Yes, and You gotta problem with that?
Ms. Matchar goes on to say that, unfortunately, consumer choices have not always been the most effective driver of social change, pointing out that "Buy American" campaigns did not save either the American auto or textile industries. Most people will buy the goods that represent the best value for money, and for many that means what is available at the "local" Target or WalMart or their equivalent. Heck, I've been known to buy clothes at Target occasionally myself.
|Sustainable cotton handwoven infinity scarf, from cotton grown in colors (no dyes used). $80 on www.mollyelkind.com|
|Alpaca-silk and tencel handwoven infinity wrap (sold) on www.mollyelkind.com|
Why do you buy handmade, if you do?