I’m Breaking Free From Industrial Clothing!

Robin Greenfield holding a bucket of black walnuts, standing next to a woman under a tree.
Intentional LivingPersonalRobin’s TransitionSimple LivingSustainable Living

I’m breaking free from industrial clothing!

For nearly a decade, it has been my dream to break free from all synthetic clothing, all fast-fashion, and all clothing made in factories. It’s been my dream to feel truly connected to my clothes – to know not just where the fiber comes from but even the threads, the buttons, the dye to create the colors and every single component of my clothes. It’s been my dream to know the people involved with the clothes and have mutually beneficial relationships with them rather than exploitative relationships.

This year, I am many steps closer to accomplishing my dream. In May, I celebrated getting rid of my last synthetic fiber/plastic clothing. It has now been about four months of owning only natural fibers.

This summer I worked with an apprentice, Abbey Waterworth, who helped me to create my first items of clothing with linen and cotton that we sourced. She made ten items of clothing and we really enjoyed the apprenticeship together. Thank you, Abbey!

Now I am naturally dyeing the clothes that she made. I’m in my homeland of Northern Wisconsin and in this photo I am standing with my mom in her yard. Behind us is a black walnut tree and in the bucket are 128 walnuts that I will use to make a dye bath to dye my pants, shorts, socks and bag, brown. I am so elated to be a part of this process. I already loved black walnut trees and have been enjoying eating the nuts for the last year. My relationship is deepening with this plant relative through working with it as a dye. As I wear these clothes in the years ahead, I will feel a strong relationship to these trees. Wherever I go, I will carry the joy of the walnut tree that grows at my mom’s house in Ashland.

There are few things that have brought me more joy than building this new Earth skill. I feel myself growing closer to Earth and moving further away from industries and corporations through this process.

One step at a time I am breaking free. Soon everything I wear will be a representation of this liberation.


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