THE WORLD IS BURNING
I recently came across a podcast on Business of Fashion, from the former style editor at Highsnobiety, Alec Leach. He articulated all the things I have been thinking about for awhile now. Also literal words I used at a showroom in Paris. I asked how things were looking for the industry and if stores and buyers were still feeling confident. They said Yes! I said but the world is burning and how can we continue to put in such large orders? I then proceeded to put in an order. Not large but still I planned for the future selling season. I am also part of the problem. If you have been reading our Sunday Edits, you know this is not a new topic for us, but it has changed for us in the way we see this problem. It’s not the consumerism as much as the desire to accumulate more than needed because we are told we need to do so.
While he is enough of a realist to know companies will not stop creating, he does think that if we as consumers change our buying habits then they will be forced to produce less. Kering, LVMH, and other super corporations will keep producing because they are marketing geniuses that push our desires to have the latest bag, shoe, or dress. They are thrilled that we all want
to be fashion victims, as per Oscar De La Renta. Influencers such as athletes, actors, and self anointed tik tok stars want us to keep buying the latest because they are funded by these mega corporations. It’s the desire to have the latest it bag in all the colors, instead of purchasing one special bag that you cherish and use over and over again. Imaging if we did that? Then LV, Gucci, and such would reconsider how much to have made. They might scale back, make less, pay more, make pieces that are destined to by handed down not end up on the Real Real over and over again.
I remember as a kid every fall my parents took us to the mall to buy a back to school wardrobe. A few pieces that would last the whole school year. A coat, a dress, a couple pair of pants, a few shirts, and two pair of shoes. One for everyday and one pair of sneakers. That’s it. It had to last all school year. Maybe we would get a new item for Easter. This was how America shopped. There was no marketing machine telling me or my siblings that we needed to ask for more or try to wear what ever the latest tv star owned. The following year if it still fit we would continue wearing it and refresh the pieces we outgrew.
This is a mindful and intentional approach to fashion. If we just bought a little less and with thought, the brands would take note and create smaller beautiful collections. With more meaning and consideration for our planet.
I probably just shot myself in the foot and bank account, but it means a lot to me. Going forward you will start to see a shift in how Habits curates the shop. Smaller buys, thoughtfully put together, a fun pop every now and then. Because we can’t wear black, grey and navy all the time. Slowly introduce new brands that meet this criteria and slowly remove brands that don’t and are over saturating the market.
Fashion isn’t going away, but if we make it special again it can also be a plus for our environment. Because slow fashion and thoughtful consumerism is Habits Style.
A lot of clothing ends up in the dump. The equivalent of one garbage truck full of clothes is burned or dumped in a landfill every second.
WAKE UP CALL
Have we been looking at the “Sustainable Fashion” movement entirely wrong? We are putting blame on companies and corporations for not making ethical and sustainable changes when we are the generation of never-ending consumption. It is time for a wake up call.
For the last several years, consumers have been “Green-Washed” by the Fashion Industry, making consumers feel like they are contributing to the reverse of Global Warming. The Industry, however, is not changing. Sustainable-like terms have been tossed around, small recycling movements have been made, and a tiny fraction of ethical decisions have changed within clothing companies, but are these really making a difference?
Disappointingly, no. The world is burning, and we are still buying shoes!
Something needs to switch to understand what is happening here. Can we point fingers at companies who are continuing to produce unsustainably? Yes, however, as a consumer, it is time to take some of the blame as well. Similar to most things, there are two sides to this story.
We have asked companies, corporations, and the Fashion Industry in general to change but have we looked into the mirror as consumers and asked ourselves what we can do to change?
We are the drive to the problem here. The need to mass consume and fill our life with stuff, things, and junk to “sustain” our “happiness” and make us “interesting” has become dangerous for the planet. When will we stop buying more? Is it in 11 years when Global Warming is irreversible? Perhaps it’s when the next few generations no longer have access to fresh water or clean air? What will it take?
It will take a change of mindset and life outlook from the consumer perspective. It’s time for all of us to stop caring about trends and “what’s hype” right now, and begin to consume for the future. Stop supporting the brands that aren’t supporting the planet. If they won’t change, we need to. It is time to be a smart consumer.
Fashion will never die, but fast fashion needs to. It is now our responsibility as consumers to take the power back and kill fast fashion by not consuming it. If you have the privilege to purchase higher quality pieces, that are ethically and sustainably produced, it is your responsibility to do so.
Small decisions such as purchasing a Sunray Tee shirt that will last you the rest of your life versus three T-Shirts from Zara will made the world a better place. Think and shop intentionally, be a smart consumer.
ITS TIME FOR CHANGE
In my 20’s I have been privileged enough to make changes in the way I shop and Habits has been a rather large component in that change. In college, it was all about stuff. I loved thrifting, the hunt of finding something unique and special but it never ended. Enough was never enough for me. I continued to scroll through Urban Outfitters sale and buy clothing and thrift. Of course, I never cleaned out either and as a result I had a surplus of things shoved into my closet. In college, I studied Design, Textiles, and Merchandising with two minors, one in Apparel Design and the other in Fashion Design. There was a heavy focus on learning about Global Textiles and sustainability in the Design Industry. When I learned but fast fashion and the global impacts that the industry has on the environment and people, I was sick to my stomach with guilt. We can be so naive as consumers, and this portion of education changed my view forever.
After I graduated and got my first “big girl” job, I was able to simplify and clean out. I started buying much more intentionally and for my job. Old, low-quality clothing slowly left my closet and I began to collect more long-lived clothing. Replacing my thrifting obsession with slowly buying vintage pieces that are beautiful and one of kind. My basics have been replaced with Habits staples such as Sunray Tees and Chimala denim with a mix of interesting dresses, shoes, and jewelry that I genuinely know I will have for the rest of my life.
My closet, although still busting at the seams, as become much more intentional and thoughtful. It is full of pieces that have a long lifespan in a stylish sense and sustainable sense. This is far more sustainable for my life and also the environment. I would much rather purchase one $90 t-shirt made from organic Japanese cotton with the softest hand that I will love and wear for the next 20 years versus a pack of 4 tee shirts for $50 from Zara that will fall apart in a year. My consumer sense has changed from being driven to shop to understanding my impact with slowing down and intentionally buying pieces of high quality and a long life of use.
A lot of this change starts with finding your personal style and trying to care less about trends. When you know what you like and buy to fit your style and work with your existing wardrobe, you tend to buy less. Consumption will never end but the way that we look at fast fashion and mass consumption will truly change the view we have on our own closet and how we buy new clothes.
At Habits, we carry brands that align with our beliefs. The pieces from Habits shown in this edit reflect some of our most eco-conscious designers. This includes, Sunray Sportswear, Maria McManus, and Bode. Sunray is an incredible brand that produces t-shirts on vintage looms in Japan. They use only natural vegetable dyes, compostable packaging, and are truly slow fashion as it takes about two hours to make one shirt. Maria McManus has sustainability sewn into the roots of her company. For example, the buttons on the blazer above is made out of potato starch. Bode utilizes vintage, and previously used fabric to give it another life. Vintage and up-cycling has been an impactful way to help shift society into environmentally conscious shopping. No one is perfect, but we can make small decisions in our daily lives to create a better future. Voting with your dollar, and choosing who you support is a great way of making in impact in your local community.