There was a time when consumers, especially women, knew the value of a well-made garment. They would spend months saving for a staple piece that would last them season to season. This notion is pretty unheard of these days, with a new generation so used to disposable or “Fast Fashion”.
Clothing today has never been more accessible and in previously un-heard of quantities.
But what we get in quantity, we lack in quality. What other outcome could there possibly be when you take an under privileged nation complete with cheap labour and poor work conditions. Fires, collapsing factories, and impoverished workers have plagued giants like H&M, Wal-Mart, Joe Fresh and so many more with PR nightmares for years now.
Brilliant ad placed by Zady in the Wall Street Journal.
The cheap retail price of these garments entices us shoppers to keep buying every season. In an industry that is so competitive and where styles change at lightening speed it is no wonder we find ourselves in this predicament. Clothes that fall apart in 3 months (only making you buy more… how convenient); a generation that doesn’t know how to develop their own sense of style because giant stores are overloaded with the same trendy stuff; these issues don’t really even compare the much larger ones most of us remain blissfully unaware of.
Climate Change: We all know it’s happening, how can what we wear change that?
British fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood has been an amazing advocate for sustainability, climate change awareness, and bringing improvements to the way large fashion chains are dealing with waste and production methods. With the amount of clothing the world produces each year, you can only imagine that the amount of fabric waste and chemical run-off is astronomical.
“The most important thing is for people to inform themselves, because when you inform yourself your behaviour changes. All we’ve got is public opinion to help to do something about this.”
– Vivienne Westwood
While changing the methods and restrictions on a factory level may be out of reach for most of us, but there are some things we can do:
- Every time you buy something new, donate something else. Don’t throw away unless it is completely unusable.
- Save your pennies for something amazing, trust me you will be amazed how good it feels to wear something high quality. Don’t believe me?… go try something on!
- Don’t wash your garments after every use. They’ll last you longer, especially with jeans. Also use cold-water — for everything!
- Buy Vintage or Thrift Store. So many clothes are looking for new homes to avoid our landfills which are bursting at the seams. Plus, the older the item, the more likely it what made better than anything in your closet today.
- Have your garments altered. If something is falling apart then opt to have it fixed or repaired rather than buying something brand new.
I do my part by offering these services along with new gown designs. When I finish something handmade there’s emotion and a feeling of pride and joy. I think this passes onto the wearer, and that is why we need more garments made this way. Take a chance, spend a little more and keep it local, I know you’ll be happier for it.
Label found inside UK retailer Primark clothing
These solutions may sound small but it’s a big change in the way we think and behave when it comes to how we buy clothes. I am no stranger to the mass clothing giants out there, I like getting three tanks for $20 like the next person, but there needs to be a consciousness there. That $20 tank cost a lot more than what’s on a price tag. Do this and your closet and the earth will thank you.