Out walking recently, I came across one of those things I’ve always loved – a large market full of home baked goodies and secondhand and vintage fashion in a pretty, sunny garden.
I handed over my gold coin with eager anticipation as I entered and set about looking at the clothes people had laid out to sell.
Sadly, I have to say I only found 4-5 things even worth considering. The rest of it was junk. Pure junk. The designs were bad, the fabrics had pilled or faded and the seams looked dodgy. Inappropriate fabric choices meant even garments a few years old were already out of shape. In a word: cheap. Cheap, disposable, fast fashion.
Once I realised this, the whole scene looked tragic. There were dozens of women selling clothes they must have known were rubbish. In this market alone the state of our ‘fashion’ industry was revealed. Globally, we now have more clothing available at cheaper prices than ever before in history. Unfortunately though, it’s at the expense of quality. Clothes are now designed NOT to last.
I wrote on the magic of upcycling earlier this year for AICI GLOBAL. The benefits are obvious – it helps the environment as it lessens what we discard, we get to create unique designs not seen elsewhere and we’re able to use quality materials, the like of which are no longer manufactured.
I’m not the only one who’s written on the glut of ‘stuff’. But I was surprised to find the World Economic Forum doing the same.
“Of course, we don’t need all that clothing. It was only through the rise of fast fashion, a business model based on the fabrication of hyper trends and clothing that doesn’t last that consumers were first convinced to accumulate all that stuff” writes Maxine Bédat.
She goes on to say: “While the pleasure of cheap fashion is neurologically very real, consumers are equally experiencing the mental exhaustion from the accumulation of all of this cheap clothing.”
The question is being asked: have we reached peak ‘stuff’? As the quality and longevity of manufactured goods decreases many people seem to be buying ‘experiences’ instead.
Alexander Fury of The Independent, among others, asks if the lag between showing new trends and supplying them is responsible for the decline or flatlining of many fashion companies’ profits or if it’s consumer fatigue – consumers bored with both what’s available and the relentless marketing of this stuff we don’t need.
Whether it’s the sheer glut of product turned out for us with its inherent risks to environment and garment workers’ lives or the inferior quality that turns us off, it results in one thing: more and more people are turning away from fast fashion.*
But clothe ourselves we must, so it’s now more important than ever to consider clothing purchases carefully. Knowing what silhouettes work well for you, learning how to combine colours and being able to judge fabrics and analyse other design elements of clothing means you will be happy with what you select. You’ll keep garments longer as they’ll remain intact for longer and you won’t be contributing to this fast fashion frenzy.
To learn about your silhouette, how to co-ordinate colours that suit you or fabric and design elements that are sustainable contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org / +61 418 101 235.
* 10% of the world’s total carbon footprint comes from the apparel industry (the entire aviation industry is 2%). Apparel is also the second largest polluter of fresh water globally. Children are working in the apparel industry in appalling conditions that amount to what has been called modern day slavery.
– Maxine Bédat, World Economic Forum