This is year old news, but I just ran into it the other day. It seems that a fasion design teacher in Philadelphia decided to organize the making of a "hundred mile suit" -- a suit made entirely within and using materials made within a hundred mile radius of where she lived. This was intended to create a dialog about local solutions and globalizations. Twenty artisans put a total of 500 man hours into making the suit, which doesn't look very good. (At anything like a living wage, that would put the suit at a value of $10,000+.)
While I'm tempted simply to get a good laugh out of the ad absurdum application of the "buy local" ideal, several people have pointed out this is more an example of utter incompetance at both artisanry and local sourcing. Surely there are much higher quality and low time investment sources of spinning and weaving within one hundred miles of Philly than the products shown here would suggest. And one blogger shows a picture of a hand spun, wand woven skirt she got from Ecuador which looks just great.
So what we're seeing here is as much an example of the bad taste of some "buy local" advocates as the true quality of locally produced goods.
I personally enjoy producing some of my own goods (garden, furniture making, etc.) despite knowing it's not necessarily the most economical way of acquiring the good in question. However, I generally do this both for the pleasure of the process and because I can use time that wouldn't otherwise be productive to produce something of higher quality than I'd be able to justify buying. Why one would put all sorts of time into producing a clearly inferior product, I'm not clear.
Fortnightly Book, May 1
2 hours ago