Fast Fashion is becoming an increasingly hotter topic these days. You may ask yourself "What exactly is fast fashion" To sum it up...
"Fast fashion is a contemporary term used by fashion retailers to acknowledge that designs move from catwalk to store in the fastest time to capture current trends in the market.
Fast fashion clothing collections are based on the most recent fashion trends presented at Fashion Weeks in both the spring and the autumn of every year.These trends are designed and manufactured quickly and cheaply to allow the mainstream consumer to take advantage of current clothing styles at a lower price" defined by Wikipedia
The link below is a quick and easy summary of the issue provided by MinuteMBA
As an independent designer who creates every one of my garments by hand (and with love might I add!) I find this type of mass consumption quite horrifying.
I am no fool. I understand the way big business works. Time is money, low costs and high mark ups, more for less. What happens with this vicious cycle is that quality is the first to go and in it's place we're given quantity.
THIS is the issue.
Consumption is a necessary means of survival but irresponsible consumption is a waste and killing our planet.
Just recently I had the opportunity to come across a book by Elizabeth L. Cline called "Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion"
In Overdressed, Cline sets out to uncover the true nature of the cheap fashion juggernaut, tracing the rise of budget clothing chains, the death of middle-market and independent retailers, and the roots of our obsession with deals and steals. She travels to cheap-chic factories in China, follows the fashion industry as it chases even lower costs into Bangladesh, and looks at the impact (both here and abroad) of America’s drastic increase in imports. She even explores how cheap fashion harms the charity thrift shops and textile recyclers where our masses of clothing castoffs end up.
As for the latter part, I for one being a recycler am witnessing this first hand.
I go out almost weekly in search of quality discarded textiles to use towards my handmade creations. It used to be that I was able to find more in terms of usable pieces of yardage and vintage garments but in their place lies thousands of pounds of cheap synthetic fibers and almost every second garment is from H&M.
As a child I remember growing up with my mother doing alterations for friends and family after working all day as a sewer in a factory. She would make most of mine and brothers clothing as kids. Naturally I learned from her how to sew and am ever grateful for having such a useful skill that has since turned into part my career as a designer. It has given me an extreme appreciation for the attention and quality that goes into creating well made garments.
(Ritzgerald Dress Adhesif F/W 2013 Collection)
Attention to detail means everything to me. I strive to create cherished pieces and am always so thrilled when I see clients wearing pieces that were purchased years ago, that still look brand new. I guess this is part of where my obsession for vintage clothing comes from. The quality and craftsmanship from timeless pieces created in the past were made to last much longer than a season.
"Sewing, once a life skill for American women and a pathway from poverty to the middle class for workers, is now a dead-end sweatshop job. The pressures of cheap have forced retailers to drastically reduce detail and craftsmanship, making the clothes we wear more and more uniform, basic, and low quality.
Creative independent designers struggle to produce good and sustainable clothes at affordable prices." -Overdressed; Elizabeth Cline
The solution? Well I could write a whole other blog post on that...
At the very least, if you want to consider anything, consider this...
Next time you want go out and revamp your wardrobe just think to yourself "Am I buying this item because it's almost free or will I actually get use out of it?" If the answer is "yes" than consider this next...for what reason & for how long?
When the time comes to discard the item(s) where will it go?
How can we try in our own way to be more resourceful with our purchases?
Perhaps consider eclectic & versatile pieces that can be transformed into multiple looks season after season? Or check out some of your local independent designers and boutiques. Think about investment pieces rather than throw away items. The benefit of purchasing from a local designer/retailer is not only a more personalshopping experience but often the relationships built, go on to create much morerewarding returns...