Hold on tight, fast fashion is set to get faster with a new trend called “see now, buy now”. The fashion calendar currently kicks off with designer brands showing their collections for the season ahead in New York, London, Milan and Paris. Buyers make their selections and place orders. Then the garments are produced, known as cut-make-trim …. so the fabric is cut then the garments are manufactured and finished ready for sale. Show to store takes about 4 months. However, some designer brands are shifting the cycle so that garments will be available as soon as they hit the catwalk. There are all sorts of implications for professionals within the industry but I’m not going to comment on those. I just want everyone to STOP and think what this actually means … this massive global industry is going to throw even more at us! And we’re going to be tempted to buy even more! The high streets are going to race faster and harder to copy the catwalks, the media is going to tell us about even faster changing trends, our wardrobes are going to burst at the seams whilst our bank accounts will get redder and redder … and we’ll still say we have nothing to wear! STOP!
The Japanese art of Wabi-Sabi .. find beauty in all things and value authenticity above all, everything today’s sleek mass-produced, tech-saturated culture isn’t. There was an article in the Guardian at the weekend about Lidl’s £5.99 jeans (I’ve shared it on Facebook and Twitter). Are we really saying that it makes sense that a pair of jeans we might wear dozens of times can be made for the price of two cups of coffee! Again STOP! This just doesn’t make any sense … #if it seems to good to be true, that’s because it is!
BUT, I love fashion and clothes, I read magazines and I pick up trends to update my wardrobe and my mood! £5.99 for a pair of jeans screams WRONG to me but it’s not always that obvious. Brands will say they are led by their customers but how many of us feel like leaders? When I’m in a store, confronted with bargain after bargain, rail after rail and that compulsion to buy … I feel more like a sheep! I make random, impulsive decisions and take home clothes I didn’t need and discover I don’t want! I guess the brands are right though, they’re in it for the profit and if we are buying then they will respond to that, regardless of how empowered we feel in making the decision to buy. We need to care more and take a step back, think about why that new outfit is a bargain and do we really need another little black dress?! A girl can never have too many little black dresses? Actually, she can, there are only so many days in the year, parties to go to or occasions to scrub up for. STOP! THINK!
So, this is my solution, my ethical guide to help me navigate this fashion industry that I love and hate at the same time!
- Plan a capsule wardrobe for the season ahead.
- Buy quality staples; jeans, leggings, shoes … think price per wear.
- For trends shop second hand and upcycle.
- Use brands I trust for new items.
- Plan before hitting the shops, write a list and try to stick to it.