I am a fashionista. I enjoy well made, beautiful, carefully designed garments.
I especially delight in creating these items, although, I only manage a few per year.
I consider all of my clothing to be part of a fluid, ongoing art project. I treat my cosmetics in the same manner. The point of these items is to help me express myself, to tell the story of who I am and how I am invited to be in the world.
Having studied fashion and the industry, I understand why and how couture garments and high end fashion pieces cost so much—they are made of fine materials and much of the stitching and embellishment is done by hand.Time, energy, resources and creativity are needed to design something of beauty, which is why truly well made and beautiful garments cost big bucks.
At least, that is how it was before the onset of fast fashion.
What is fast fashion? According to Investopedia.com:
“DEFINITION of ‘Fast Fashion’
The term “fast fashion” refers to a phenomenon in the fashion industry whereby production processes are expedited in order to get new trends to the market as quickly and cheaply as possible. As a result of this trend, the tradition of introducing new fashion lines on a seasonal basis is being challenged. Today, it is not uncommon for fast-fashion retailers to introduce new products multiple times in a single week.
BREAKING DOWN ‘Fast Fashion’
Fast fashion is made possible by innovations in supply chain management among fashion retailers. From the perspective of retailers, fast fashion is advantageous because the constant introduction of new products encourages customers to make frequent visits to stores. Yet despite its advantages for customers, fast fashion has also been criticized on the grounds that it encourages a “throw-away” attitude among consumers. The trend has also been criticized on intellectual property grounds, with some designers alleging that their designs have been illegally mass produced by retailers.”
The result of all of this hastening of trends is two-fold—the normal Suzie-q. public gets to dress fashionably in extremely affordable levels of retail; and, a good portion of the world is underemployed and is compromising the environment so that we can buy clothing for a song.
Did I say underemployed? I meant to say, enslaved, because folks, that is how so much of our clothing is produced—via slave labor.
There are companies stepping up to the challenge of designing and producing eco friendly, Fairtrade, organic, sustainable fashion. Check out this website for some great insights: http://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/fair-trade-clothing
Why this sudden urge on the peacock’s part to look into the seedy side of fashion?
True confession time:
I have too much. Of everything. Really.
I enjoy creating a wardrobe, a look, and having variety. It is great fun!
But I’m thinking that I need to pull back. For the past couple of years, I’ve been trying to buy or make items that can multi task, go the distance between seasons. Now, I do live in a place with four very distinct seasons that demand four different wardrobes! But the idea of a multi-tasking garment holds great appeal to me. I am also a classist at heart. A trend in a print, color, cut is fun, but I am not one to create a wardrobe around a trend. Seems disingenuous somehow.
So I am challenging myself to go on a NO BUY run. That is, nothing new–garment or accessory wise–unless I make it with materials I already own. I might repurpose, or simply set a few things aside for another year, when they would be fresh again.
Realistically, I can anticipate my next purchase to be a replacement of a coat that is too big and wearing thin, and possibly a new pair of everyday hard working black work trousers. That will take place in September.
Can I do this? Can I hang on until September???
I need to slow it down. I need to think and buy fair trade as often as possible when I do need to make a purchase. I also need to dig into the business practices of companies whose products I enjoy and advocate for safe, fair, and humane working conditions and environmental practices.
Can I do this? I must.
Can we do this?