An optimistic reflection on the fashion industry

While I have a knack for the sartorial splendor, I believe that it shouldn’t come with a price. The pace at which fashion is moving has become overwhelmingly absurd, spiralling unimaginably beyond the limits of natural production. New items, designs and colours of the same recurring  types of garments arrive everyday to the shores of major fast lane retailers like Zara, H&M, and Forever 21 just to name a few. The high demands for everything ‘new, new, new’ have resulted in unrealistic deadlines for the garment industry, and especially those in the third world. Factory workers succumb to poor treatment and become victims, over and over, of the cruelties of capitalism. It comes at no surprise that resolving these social consequences are in fact deliberately not at the top of government agendas. It seems then that garments are not the only thing fashion is creating.

Hannah Arendt once said, “What is most difficult is love the world as it is, as it is plagued by evil and suffering” But as Arendt astutely acknowledges, “it is this same love that shapes our human togetherness.” So fashion as a social phenomenon is the cause of both the good and the bad–a contradiction that runs true for almost everything else on Earth. The perpetual social consequences of ‘fast fashion’ is perhaps one of the biggest plights of the modern world. But one of the reasons why it is so difficult to resolve is the fact that this habitual wayward of fashion is evidenced in the way it brings people together (also ironic since we are constantly encouraged to form unique ‘selves’ through our choices of outfits, but that’s arguably a whole different story). Interestingly, according to Otto Von Busch, fashion has the inherent capability to powerfully construct new perspectives, challenges existing concepts, and generates new ways of seeing/understanding the varieties within itself. I propose we use this as a channel to find new ways of understanding and using fashion in a way that mitigates the current social consequences.

At the pinnacle of a digital age, I believe that the next generation is equipped with more ways than ever before to share and create. If change is in the choices that we make everyday, then new economics is literally within reach. Social platforms are a great way to shift the dialogue to new heights where commonality amongst all people exist. By informing and inspiring social responsibility, we can begin to restore the pace of fashion. That said, I’m quite optimistic about the future. I have full faith in us and our fight for a more sustainable future. Aesthetics and sustainability definitely do not have to be mutually exclusive.

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