Guardarrr #34: Only the unused stays perfect

Esta es la versión inglesa de mi boletín, puedes encontrar el mismo texto en castellano aquí.

Wear and tear is a topic that I think a lot about lately, more precisely, about the paradox that what is loved and used wears out and has to be discarded while only that which is not in use remains perfect.

Unfair, right? The intuitively correct thing would be that each use recharged and rejuvenated the garment, thus extending its life, but that, as you will have noticed, is not the case.

I just took to the textile recycling bin the shorts that I made in 2020 from a fabric that I found in my grandmother’s storage, which means that it was woven at least 30 years ago in the USSR or the adjacent countries. It didn’t have any label, I don’t know the country or the fiber composition. It didn’t seem synthetic and I would bet on cotton but I still don’t have a sufficiently developed touch to be sure. What is obvious is that the design of the fabric was clearly inspired by the Japanese tradition of white thread darning of indigo-dyed fabrics: sashiko.

And what also became clear very soon was that I had chosen poorly to use this fabric for pants. I managed to wear them 38 times in total, last of them under a shirt dress as a modesty garment in order to be able to move in class without thinking about how much leg I was showing to my students, when it was already clear that there was no real fixing of theses shorts and they had to be discarded.

After the trip to the container, I have two questions:

Having worn these shorts 38 times, much more than the vast majority of what is bought today, maybe it is a great success after all, especially considering that I made them myself and with deadstock fabric? Maybe, yes, but I still feel a little cheated. I guess I just hope for eternity where it cannot be.

And, seeing that they were wearing out, why didn’t I patch those shorts? Because I saw that the fabric was falling apart, it would have torn again soon enough, right next to the patch. This is the big problem with patches for fabrics in constant friction – they usually don’t last.

Well that it’s, goodbye, little pants, it was fun while it lasted. Here I remain, managing my frustration over the fleeting nature of garments in use.

Kids’ clothes swap | 4 de noviembre 11:00 – 14:00 in Plaza Joanic, Barcelona.

Adults’ clothes swap | 16 de diciembre 11:00 – 14:00 in Ateneu Roig, c/ Torrent d’En Vidalet 32, Barcelona. To be up to date about upcoming swaps in Barcelona, follow @unbaulazul, please, that’s the volunteer team who did it with me and they are continuing organizing swaps, go and enjoy!

Recoger los residuos desperdigados por el campo no debería ser un evento de voluntariado: El Proyecto Libera es un irresponsable lavado de imagen y, cuándo se quiere, se  puede incentivar los comportamientos deseados con bastante eficiencia: Impuestos y Reciclaje: Evidencia del Canon de Residuos.

No tengo soluciones pero me parece una pregunta muy importante: ‘Gastrificación’ o por qué acabamos comiendo exactamente lo mismo en cualquier restaurante.

Y otro tema – la gestión de los bosques – del cuál sé poco pero me interesa cada vez más: La fiebre del eucalipto: Especulación y fuego en Galicia.


Your Clothes Were Never Meant to Fit You sells the fallacy that from the obvious truth that industrially made clothing has a very approximate fit for real bodies follows that sewing your own clothes is the solution. Despite my passion for sewing, I do not think that everybody can or should invest those 10000 hours to become a skilled dressmaker, nor that this should be the discourse.

On the discourse of just consume better: “I don’t think this is a problem that we can consume our way out of with quote-unquote “better” products. I don’t know that there is any way to ethically sell products that target signs of aging. I don’t know that there is any way to ethically promote aesthetic changes without buying into beauty standards and therefore, perpetuating those standards. […] I think in order to flip the script on looking older, we need to flip the script on growing older. Ultimately, this is a cultural problem that points to many intersecting systems of oppression that desperately need to be addressed. Because to be clear, it’s systemic ageism — not your face — that makes aging an agonizing and emotionally draining experience for so many.”

Oh, the issues of urban and suburban flora: “Traditional lawn care is, at its essence, a perpetual fight against biodiversity, a war conducted with mower blades and chemicals. All of the numbers — the gallons of water wasted, the tons of pollution generated — tell us to stop.” + How urban planners’ preference for male trees has made your hay fever worse.

I hope that you enjoyed reading and would be very happy to hear from you, be it regarding garments falling apart sooner than you expected or anything else… in the comments below, via Instagram or e-mail at luize.ratniece [a] gmail .com

Guardarrr is a bilingual newsletter dedicated to sustainability and mindfulness in fashion. It is written by Luīze Ratniece, a sociologist and textile activist based in Hervás, Cáceres.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.