[fullwidth_text title=”The State of Fashion” alt_background=”none” width=”1/1″ el_position=”first last”]
The fashion industry today is fueled by constant change and dominated by huge conglomerates who dwarf the importance of independent designers and alternative fashion platforms like Fair Trade, thrifting and handmade apparel and accessories.
A neat blog called The Note Passer had a post recently on the state of fashion today and interviewed the author of a book called Stitched-Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion. In the interview, Tansy E. Hoskins talks about how she wanted to educate herself about the issues in the fashion industry, “from workers’ rights and the environment to racism and cultural appropriation. From the eating disorders I have watched friends fight to the desire within people to consume clothes that is like a black hole that can never be filled.”
This video sums up the need for a book like Stitched-Up:
Fashion definitely has a lot of influence in our society and Hoskins aims to continue the conversation started by tragedies like the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, suggesting that the problems in the fashion industry are systemic of our culture run by consumerism. Her parallels of the fashion industry to society in general may be a bit lofty. She says there is no One solution to society’s problems, just as there is no One brand that offers a solution to all of fashion’s problems, but this doesn’t really offer a possible next step. “I think that clothing not controlled by corporations would be amazing,” Hoskins says – but what does this look like? It surely won’t happen over night, so why not explore the options currently available, like Fair Trade, and try to expand its reach.
Fair Trade fashion perhaps comes the closest to solving the fashion industry’s problems, or has the potential at least. Fair Trade pays and treats workers fairly, respects the environment, is often handmade and made from recycled materials using traditional techniques. Fair Trade runs on the idea that consumerism doesn’t have to be bad, that you can feel good about what your purchase means and most importantly that you CAN actually know what your purchase means to the individual who made it. It means they don’t have to work 14 hours a day to make it, they don’t have to sacrifice being with their families to work in a crummy, unsafe factory, and they don’t have to work for a huge company that doesn’t care about them.
This transparency is what is truly lacking in the fashion industry today, with it’s exclusive fashion weeks, exclusive designer lines made by the have-nots for the have, have, haves and brazen disregard for the humanity of their products. The fashion industry will continue to succeed as long as people continue to “unconsciously” consume, so we’ve got to wake up and keep asking questions.