Modern day clothing manufacturing in the Western world is thoroughly outsourced. A quick perusal of nearly any closet in North America will likely show that most item labels bear the words, “Made in China.” Although companies like American Apparel have made a push to promote goods that are ostensibly manufactured in the United States, it feels more like a passing fad than a trend we are likely to adopt at a large scale, especially given the relative cost. A cheap shirt made in an anonymous factory in Asia allows us to save money for other things, even if the shirt falls apart after a few washes–or so we think.
As a fibre and fashion enthusiast, I found the Wheel of Fortune to be a highly interesting read. Given the effort involved to start from fibre roving to weaving ones own cloth, it seems unlikely that many people would be willing to lead the ascetic style of living that would be required to discover the secret of Swaraj. Whether we intend to or not, the clothing we wear gives others a glimpse of the personality we hope to show. The right fashion choices can make the right first impression, and words like, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” are examples of the power that clothing can provide an individual. So in a world where power is money, and money provides life, who will be the first to pick up the equivalent of Khaddar?
Though I would be amongst the first to promote the fibre arts in any education system, and though I believe it would be highly beneficial to source local fibres and textiles, it feels like it would take a lot of effort to counteract the convenience that we benefit from today regarding outsourced manufacturing systems.