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.
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
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?