Observing National Textiles Day

Seeing the big picture for National Textiles Day

One of the first things we ask ourselves at the start of the day is, “What am I going to wear?” Then, we look through the closet or open our drawers to find just the right outfit. Clothes are personal, like a second skin that warms us, protects us, and defines our sense of style.

It is an inherent comfort that most of us are fortunate enough to take for granted. On the contrary, during National Textiles Day, celebrated on May 3, we can reflect on the significance and rich history of the fabrics of our lives, from the sensory and vibrant diversity of our favorite bedding to the crucial role clothes and other textiles have in cultural and economic sectors worldwide. 

National Textiles Day day serves as a reminder of the artistry, craftsmanship, and innovation woven into the fabric of societies through the ages. It is also a good time to remember the environmental impact of the textile industry and think about ways to make the industry more sustainable.

National Textiles Day

Celebrations of the day vary widely, reflecting the broad spectrum of textiles, themselves, from traditional handwoven crafts to cutting-edge smart fabrics. At Planet Aid, we understand the importance of textiles and the necessity of reusing these materials to the fullest extent.

Our Planet Aid Thrift Store in Rockville, MD, provides affordable options for people of varying income ranges, and our textile collection saves over 70 million pounds of clothing, shoes, and other textiles from landfills yearly. The big picture of textile reuse benefits millions of people by providing opportunities for commerce in the U.S. and other Central American and African countries, which ultimately helps power the circular economy.

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Negative environmental and humanitarian impacts from fast fashion give good reason to pay attention to our consumer behaviors and support the zero-waste textile counterculture. For instance, learning to mend garments is a valuable skill/trade, which also helps keep textiles out of landfills. In 2022, the Maryland organization Community Ecology Institute (CEIwas awarded the Planet Aid Capacity and Environmental Grant to help fund a fiber shed, which now hosts textile repair cafés for the community. Supporting restorative programs like CEI’s Repair Cafe is a demonstrable action far past observing an honorary day.


Educational institutions, museums, and cultural centers celebrate National Textiles Day with special exhibitions, workshops, and lectures exploring the history, production techniques, and significance of textiles. These events provide a platform for learning about the evolution of textile production, from ancient hand-weaving methods to the modern, technologically advanced processes used today. 

Artisans and craftspeople sometimes open their studios to the public, offering demonstrations and workshops in skills such as weaving, knitting, dyeing, and quilting, thus fostering a hands-on understanding and appreciation for the craft.

On a broader scale, National Textiles Day is an opportunity to support and promote sustainable practices within the textile industry. Many organizations and brands take the day to highlight their commitment to ethical sourcing, sustainable materials, and fair labor practices. 

Social media campaigns and community events encourage consumers to think about the impact of their textile choices on the environment and the lives of workers around the globe. An article on Fair Trade International’s website, calls the women who make our clothes, the invisible workforce. The article gives a disturbing glance at what some women garment workers face, stating: “Women workers may face abuse, forced and unpaid overtime, deductions from their wages, and gender-based violence. Despite working 12 hours or more a day, six days a week, they struggle to make ends meet

As people celebrate the beauty and diversity of textiles, there's also a growing movement to recognize and address the challenges facing the textile industry today, making National Textile Day not just a celebration, but a call to action for a more sustainable and equitable future.