Redneck Sustainability: Dress to Impress… Cattle

The Harris Tweed Shop

The textile and clothing industry, like every industry, has been facing the green facts.  Cotton, the big fiber on the block, is taking its hits. Being half granola and half redneck myself I can feel both sides of the issue.  My father and grandfather supported themselves with cotton, yet I like to strut around in nothing but hemp.  Good enough.

But as it turns out, cotton makes wonderfully soft and affordable clothing while using relatively high levels of chemicals, resources from the soil and lots of water (during growth and processing).  But, if we know all this about cotton, why do we still wear so much of it, and more importantly, why do we keep so much more of it hanging in our closets and tucked into our dressers?  Most of us keep buying clothes as if we intend to throw away a brand new green suit once it gets its first bit of pheasant blood on it.  Sheesh.

Once again, we can learn something here from our Redneck brothers (I’m not so sure about sisters).  Rednecks are particular about their clothing.  It has to be functional and affordable.  And now, I’m not making light.  These are two very serious considerations in clothing that I am not so sure civil folk understand.  For a redneck shopper these two dueling forces create a dilemma kin with taming the jackalope.

Functional means the garment of clothing should work properly for many, many a donning.  Working properly means a variety of things such as holding dead quail, repelling manure of various forms, and at a picnic being able to transition from cowboy volleyball to goat roping to neckin’ on a blanket (the ideal date, by the way) all the while disguising the discreet bear belly.  Many, many a donning of an article of clothing implies that the owner of said article can’t quite recall its purchase.

And all of this has to come at a redneck value, and rednecks know value.  Jeans that tear the first time you cross a barbed-wire fence ain’t no value.  Fireworks that can’t even blow up a mailbox ain’t no value.  And a beer that can’t make life look better certainly ain’t of no value.  Clothing is to render its promised service, to cloth the naked form and allow said form to function in an hostile environment without suffering undue harm.

A brand name isn’t worth anything more than that very promise of function.  A redneck might pay considerably to attain that function, but too much, and the brand risks looking disingenuous.  Because, after all, Adam and Eve got on just fine in the raw, and if it comes down to it, I reckon I can to.  And that is the bottom line, isn’t it?  Clothes should serve a function, and if style happens to be a derivative of that function, then fine.  But no self-respecting redneck would be caught dead with a closet full of brand names knowing he came into the world, and he would go out, in nothing but his God-given birthday suit.

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