Fashion needs a radical change. Our reliance on fast fashion is crazy and unnecessary. Some companies are making efforts in one or two directions, but it’s hard to find businesses that are investing in a whole, alternate system for fashion.
Here are three ways fashion can be a force for good in the world:
1. Treat its customers with respect.
We can’t expect all companies to actually celebrate their customers like we do, but we can expect (and should demand!) a level of respect from the people who sell us our clothes. Too many companies rely on a system of marketing that is all about making us unhappy. Most of the people involved in making these ads probably aren’t even fully aware of it, or don’t think about it very much. It’s just the system that’s there, that they inherited, the system they were taught to work with.
But that’s a cop-out. It’s possible for any company to change things a little bit. Did you know that 20 years ago, the average model weighed 8 percent less than the average woman and today’s models weigh 23 percent less? Did you know that there are girls as young as six who wish they were thinner? That’s horrific, isn’t it? The sheer sound and fury of negative advertising is having a real and terrible effect on people.
So let’s change it. Let’s bring diversity into fashion. Lets have some variety in our fashion marketing. Lets have models who aren’t exclusively white, young and skinny.
But, more than that. Let’s bring real diversity into fashion by using role models as models. Lets treat the people who are modelling like people, not clothes horses. So then, when a young girl catches sight of a fashion ad she can say “I want to be a doctor”, and not “I want to be thinner”!
2. Treat its workers with respect.
Often we have a disconnect with fashion. If we’re asked to think of who works for a fashion house, we tend to think of the designer, the people in the boutiques, etc, but we don’t often think of the people who actually make the clothes. Weird, right?
That’s because the fashion industry has done an incredible job of seeming to exist separately to the thousands and thousands of people who form the backbone of the industry: the garment manufacturers.
Now, not all companies employ people to work for poverty wages in terrible conditions, but you’d be amazed how many do. That needs to change. We can’t let fashion go on with all this blood on its hands. Companies need to take responsibility for the conditions of their employees. We’re a brand new company and we set up our own production unit so we can guarantee fair treatment everywhere. If we can do it, why can’t the companies who rake in billions? Because they don’t want to, that’s why.
But if we shout about it they will respond. Find out which of your favourite fashion companies rely on cheap labour and send them a quick email saying that you won’t be buying from them anymore. Or, better, find companies that do make sure everybody is well treated and only buy from them (and there are a lot more than us!)
3. Treat the planet with respect.
We all know about climate change, but we sometimes feel like the consequences are distant. But there are very real human costs happening right now. For example, California is currently suffering a drought, and Syria suffered such a long and extreme drought that was a major contributing factor to the civil war and the fall out from that.
Isn’t it weird to think that we’re contributing to climate change, that we’re worsening the situation and damaging the planet, so that we can buy cheap, poor quality jeans that we don’t even really want? Are we really messing things up so badly so that we can have £5 t-shirts?
Once again, there are options. A little googling before buying from a brand goes a long way, and we should always do it.
Fashion companies have to take responsibility for these things, but we as customers need to take responsibility too. Refuse to buy from unethical companies and find your favourite company that treats the planet and people with respect.
If we do these things, we can begin to dismantle the foundations of fast fashion.
Imagine a world where instead of girls agonising over their weight and appearance, they believe in their inner beauty and are working towards their dreams. Imagine a world where instead of people working for poverty wages in horrible conditions, we’re ensuring people have good jobs and can raise their families with dignity. Imagine a world where we don’t dump our landfills with cheap polyesters and instead we buy conscientiously so that we have clean rivers and lush forests. And imagine all of our clothes are long lasting, high quality and beautiful.
It might sound like a distant and remote possibility, but if we all make steps in this direction we can bring that world to life.
Join our fashion revolution at dfynorm.com