run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Gear: Melanzana

The past few months, I've been trying to at least THINK about where the shit that I buy comes from. A couple of years ago I did a massive purge of a bunch of crap (clothes, books, household items) that I had accumulated over the years (mostly stuff I bought because it was cheap or on sale) and since then, I've been trying to just buy quality pieces that I need.

And for me, there seems to have been a natural progression from trying to buy only what you need to thinking about where that item came from and at what cost... both ethically and environmentally. I mean, I try my hardest to buy things that were not tested on animals or have animal products in them. But, shouldn't I be thinking about whether or not those running shorts that I bought from Lululemon (shame, I know) were made by a 12 year old who doesn't make a fair wage or have good working conditions? OF COURSE I SHOULD BE THINKING ABOUT THAT!

And wow... what a rabbit hole to fall down into... the research is hard and most of the time pretty murky. And it's frustrating. There are about 3-5 stores that I buy most of my clothing from and so it was pretty easy for me to sit down and read their policies... but it's mostly just abstract bullshit. You see the word "committed" tossed out everywhere, For example.... let's talk about JCrew:

 We are committed to using the highest-quality materials to deliver the best possible products to our customers. This commitment includes making sure that the materials used in our products are harvested and processed in line with our broader commitment to social responsibility. To that end, we have a number of policies on our specific expectations that include the following. 

Uhhh... WTF does that even mean? But, then their number of policies is 3 things. Two of which are kind of abstract in their responses:

1.  "We commit to not knowingly sourcing Uzbek cotton for the manufacturing of any of our products until the government of Uzbekistan ends the practice of forced child labor in its cotton sector." Uhh... does this mean that you could unknowingly have uzbek cotton in your clothes? Why wouldn't you just say... We don't use Uzbek Cotton in our clothes?

2. Is about Australian sheep wool practices that "over time, J.Crew is fully committed to phasing out the use of mulesed wool" HOW much time???? Is there no other fucking wool that you can use? Do people REALLY need Merino wool that badly?

3. And the ban of sandblasting: "To ensure the well-being of the workers who manufacture J.Crew products, we have banned the use of sandblasting for all J.Crew, Madewell and crewcuts products." YAY! Finally a word that is concrete: BANNED.

But, this is so frustrating. I want to know MORE. Okay, so you don't knowingly use Uzbek Cotton. What kind of cotton do you use? Where does it come from? What are the labor laws like there?

 I was on my soapbox about it one day to The KoB and was saying... I wish there were more American-made* clothes. And he was like... how about Melanzana and was I like.. who?

He proceeded to tell me about them. They're a Leadville, Colorado based company that MAKES the clothes that they sell. It's mostly outdoorsy, active stuff. The next morning I checked out their website and ordered a bunch of stuff from them:
The grey is the women's tank. I bought it in black and LOVE it.
Am going to buy another one or two. It fits well and is a really good length 
(something that is hard to find in running tops).

This is a half zip fleece pullover. I cannot wait to wear this fall/winter.
It's a lightweight fleece that can easily be worn under or over something else.

They refer to this on the site as a running skirt. THE HORROR! I bought a running skirt!!
But, fear not, it's actually just a skirt. There's no brief or shorts underneath or anything.
I bought it in hopes of just wearing it as a casual skirt on the weekends.
But, I ended up sending it back, it's a fleece material, which just didn't
make sense for me here in TN. SUPER cute though.

I will definitely be buying more stuff from Melanzana. It's high quality, VERY affordable, and it's American Made! What more could you ask for?? I only wish they had a bigger range of products that they sell. And, I would have NEVER have heard of them if the KoB hadn't spent so much time in Leadville and knew about the company. So, my question to you is... do you know of any American Made retailers?

* I realize American Apparel is American Made. But man, that company skeeves me out.


Coach Bitch said...

You actually bought something with the name "running skirt" attached to it?

You are dead to me.

Amy said...

Actually... I was wrong, the official title is:

Micro Grid Ultra Mini.

Anything with Ultra in the name is totes perf. Obvi.

Amy said...

So, what I'm trying to say Coach Bitch, is... SUCK IT.

Coach Bitch said...

So you're saying Michelob Ultra is totes perf?


Amy said...

Goddamn Smarty Pants Bitch.

Carina said...

I'd never heard of them either, and I love your coach's comment -- but since it really wasn't for running, I think you're absolved. I have mixed feelings about buying American-made. When we were in China, I thought a lot about how I want to buy Chinese products to support them and allow them to elevate their standard of living, making it closer to something you'd find in the US. Just because they weren't born in America in my mind doesn't mean I don't want them to earn money. They might need my dollars even more than someone living here. But I realize that as the Chinese standard of living increases, they have to pay their workers more, so companies often go somewhere with cheaper labor like Vietnam or Bangladesh. It's such a complicated issue.

Amy said...

Carina: GREAT point. And I completely agree with you. I guess my idea about buying American made is that I KNOW that the working conditions and the wages are fair (well... that's another topic, I guess. But you know what I mean). I have no problems supporting people in other countries. I guess I'm just too lazy to take the time and find out which countries have labor standards that I agree with.

I'm glad you brought that up, though. I hadn't really thought of it like that.