Has fast fashion become a past fashion?

Trends change. So what do you do with the €200 Gucci shirt you bought just 6 months ago which is now no longer cool? Nothing. Why? Because you never owned it in the first place. You bought the Zara duplicate that is very similar yet lacks the Gucci tags and cost a fraction of the price. All good right? Nope. Your pocket isn’t hurting but something else is.

Globalisation implies the opening of local and nationalistic perspectives to a broader outlook of an interconnected and interdependent world with free transfer of capital, goods, and services across national frontiers. Together, globalisation and the movement of clothing production from home nations to cheaper, less economically developed countries have had a detrimental effect on the fashion industry and more importantly the world.

jp-bangladesh1-jumbo

The 2013 Rana Plaza Collapse, Bangladesh which killed 1129 and injured over 2000. The building was known to produce clothing for brands in the fast fashion industry such as Primark.

Around 260 million children are in employment around the world and the International Labour Organisation estimates that 170 million are engaged in child labour with many making textiles and garments to satisfy the demands of consumers in Europe, the US and beyond. Furthermore, these children are being forced to work in dangerous, unsafe factories posing huge risks to their personal health and safety.

Unsurprisingly, consumers aren’t happy about where their clothing is coming from and in September of 2016, Primark announced their first EVER fall in sales leading to a huge fall in their share prices. Again, unsurprisingly, this is scaring brands who use similar sources for their production and is sparking changes in their supply chains with worldwide giant H&M releasing their “conscious collection” in 2016, priding itself on “sustainable style”. It’s a step in the right direction but for some brands, this is a change that was never needed.

Patagonia is an American company based in California who’s mission statement is to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis”. The company states that they are responsible for all the workers who make their goods and for all that goes into a piece of

patagonia_dont_image

One of Patagonia’s most recent adverts from their common threads initiative.

clothing that bears a Patagonia label and furthermore sends a team member to inspect any new factories to ensure their production is safe and sustainable.Guess what? People think this is cool! Despite efforts to encourage customers to not buy their clothing, yes, you read that correctly, Patagonia’s sales continue to grow. The brand produces clothing purely for its function, however, it has now become a stylish and trendy brand with many of its consumers purchasing its items not just for its ethics, but for its aesthetics too, proving it might actually pay to give a shit about the planet! Read more about their common threads initiative here.

Do you think about where your clothing comes from when you buy it? and furthermore, would you ever buy an item of clothing because of the ethos of a brand?


Sources:

http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/globalization

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/world/asia/bangladesh-building-collapse

labs.theguardian.com/unicef-child-labour/

 

 

 

 

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7 Responses to Has fast fashion become a past fashion?

  1. zzorko15 says:

    I think it is really great to see that more and more brands are going for more ethical approach, however my opinion is that as long as there will be cheaper options (and on the other hand high-end fashion brands) that don´t have those values, there won´t be such a change in a consumption. I think the only way to enforce safe and sustainable production all around the world is by law. But then again, the change in people´s thinking and behavior brings those laws.

    • I agree Zana, there are too many people who aren’t bothered by these things and are just happy to ignore them as long as they get their latest trend which is a real shame in my opinion!

  2. flemingcraigcanada14 says:

    Wow! Very professional Mr. Wheeler! Yes, I couldn’t agree more. I love the candid approach towards the material. It seems the growing trend to be socially conscious plays a major factor in the decision making matrix, including the price increase. Personally, I would pay a premium to have a clear mind.

  3. Why thank you Craig! I totally agree. When you look at the bigger picture, it’s a small price to pay to have such a positive impact.

  4. claudiaggs says:

    Hi Matt Wheeler,
    I liked a lot your post because i think the same way. The average consumer of clothing of global brands doesn´t know where their clothes come from. It is more than appearance of what we should bother of. We should take into account where it comes from, what has it taken to make it, and the most important, who is involved in the process.
    Thank you so much for the advices and for your point of view of how the world goes round.

  5. seunghh says:

    Hey Matt Wheeler!

    I do agree with you mostly, people should think a lot more where their goods come from. I try to buy from certified stores and brands here in Finland and Korea to minimize the damage I would do to environment and possible workers in more unfortunate countries. Unfortunately most people do not care about there issues that were mentioned above, thus most of the goods that are produced against human rights & business ethics are still very popular. People should have more empathy and thoughts to those at the end of the supply chain. A bit idealistic but a nice thought.

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