I can honestly say that I am not a fashion victim, but I do am fashion sensitive. As a young girl I wanted enchanted and sparkly dresses that could endlessly twirl. Glitter was my middle name. When it came to shoes I knew exactly what I wanted, I dragged my parents to every shop in town till we finally found what I was looking for. The fun shopping sprees became hours and hours of struggle and suffering. However long and hard the road may was: if I found what I was looking for it felt like true victory. Shopping with me, the horror. I owe my parents an apology. What can I say, the interest in fashion was there early on.
The bad and ugly: the epidemic called fast fashion
Nowadays fashion has a major downside, it even has its own term: fast fashion. It is batshit crazy fast, turbo, like a Shinkansen. It is pushing companies to find the most inexpencive way to produce clothing at the expense of man and nature. Take for instance the collapsing factories that led to enormous bloodbaths in Bangladesh. Beforetimes fashion came with the seasons, four times a year. Today, every few weeks a new trend pops up ans only a few taste the benefit of this quick market. But unfortunate thing is that fast fashion industry is covered in grime and slime.
I think internet has been one of the biggest feeders of the consumerism. But the upside of the internet is the beauty of the open source that it is. It helped to unveil the mask of the big players in this business and giving more transparency to the customers. The megacorps are not happy with nosy journalist who share the real behind the scenes information. And not happy is an understatement. The devastating impact of the fashion industry on the environment has exploded, I can not tell you the exact numbers but it is on of the most polluting industries out there. Apart from being very polluting it is also catastrophic for modern society. People are being treated like slaves and have no choice or rights whatsoever.
The tricks of the megacorps
Now that I think of it, the big names play it smart. Take H&M. A while ago I saw this recycling advert in their shops, if you donate an old item, you get 10% off your next purchase. A dodgy way to keep you fiscally attracting and buying something in their store. Even though you were already planning on throwing it out anyway. Maybe even without replacing it with something new.
Fortunately you can find heaps of information on the internet, in articles, books and documentaries. I recently watched a few eye-opening documentaries about fast fashion and its impact i.a. The true cost (in the Netherlands on Netflix) and De slag om de klerewereld (VPRO)/The battle of the clothesworld (Dutch pun: Kleren = clothing, klere = f*cking).
The epic path towards the good
It gives my heartache that fashion has become a sad and disposable culture. However, clothing and style are an import way to present yourself to the world and what you stand for. If you like it or not. That, and what you wear can be uplifting for your mood and give you self confidence. I do not know what the solution is to this epidemic problem. But I do know that I have to start with ‘rethinking’ my needs. Do I need 7 pairs of trousers, 10 t-shirts and 25 panties? Nope. Basically most of them are cheap and of a low quality. What I do want, is wearing fair, good quality clothes chosen with care and attention. It is idealistic. I know. But I need something to hang on, right? How am I going to achieve this optimistic goal? Well among other things by:
- shopping less. Not so difficult, all your $$$ are invested in the nappies with a small kiddy.
- and if shopping: paying more attention to what I buy.
- Last but not least (for now): make stuff myself. Yes, a true pain in the arse.
Achieving the goals
I started off with the last one. Back in the days my mother made our clothes, not all of them. A fair share of what we were wearing was made by her hands. She tried to learn me the skill of sewing. It is in my nature to be a little, with the emphasis on little, stubborn. I wanted to do everything myself and therefore, this sewing course was unsuccessful. Again, an apology towards my mother must be made.
Now, a few years later, I had the guts to try sewing again. I think it worked out not too bad! I bought La Maison Victor May/June edition, got me some fabric and made this culotte jumpsuit (called the Iris Jumpsuit). The carefree denim one was a success, so I decided to make a more chic version in black. Covered the day and night time look with these two! Not to say, jumpsuits are COMFY AF, best summer attire ever (except when you go to the toilet, right ladies?).
I hope I inspired you a bit and that my share can help to make the world a better place. Even thoug it is by a tiny 0,00001%.
How about you? How do you feel about this crazy industry?
(BTW the title has truly nothing to do with the pictures, at least, it was not my intention)
Photography by Wouter van Leeuwen-Helm
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