Fast fashion, it’s a topic that rattles round constantly at the moment, people defending and attacking it with equal gusto. It essentially boils down to informed choices and understanding your needs and the issues at stake. People will tell you what to think, but making demands of people is rarely productive if not part of a discussion that in those now old fashioned Reithian principles of elevating and educating from either side.
Many people like fast fashion, they enjoy a trip to the shops, the way a great new outfit feels and they earned their money so they shouldn’t be made to feel bad about spending it. Our industry has grown so large, with so many outlets that choice is huge and High Streets and Shopping centres are topped up with stores to browse through, and that is without even taking online into account.
But here is the kicker, many of the ways fast fashion has to work lead to wider issues. Stores need to create more and more garments to keep you returning to their store and not look elsewhere through boredom. Many people have budgets so items have to be cheap to attract people through the door to keep buying, and also you have to have supply chains that can deliver huge quantities incredibly quickly.
I think the issues around sweat shops and fast fashion are well documented but actually we can solve many of these issues and still maintain diversity of product. I’m a champion of independent labels and they could play a big role in helping deliver frequent new items but at less cost to the people making clothes. Big chains should take more product from concessions, it’ll keep our industry vibrant.
Instead of damaging supply chains how about placing orders with other suppliers, how about looking around working with small labels to keep up a constant flow. Imagine that instead of producing 100 new items a week in house they actually said lets find 10 companies with a capsule collection we could buy from.
When you look at those big High Street chains they always claim tight margin, yet make colossal profits. We have to do something to save our industry from heading back to the abuse of workers in far off lands. The problem is they will always value profit over people. They are beholden to shareholders and not their fellow people on this planet of ours.
That leaves us in a situation where every consumer faces a choice, continue to enjoy shopping and fashion and come to terms with the human cost of what they buy or buy less, struggle to find what they want and support a fairer industry.
I often give the call to action of being the change you want to see but it isn’t enough, it’s time the giants of fashion understand they can change and still be what they want in the market place, and that garment workers lives aren’t as cheap as the garments they put on racks.
Either that or we all start buying shares and voting down the bosses bonus. Anyone seen my mobile, I need to call a broker about Arcadia stocks.