Having fewer options doesn’t reduce the ability for self-expression, it actually encourages you to be more creative and customise your look by how you wear it.
It’s impossible not to talk about sustainability in this week’s musings. From the UN Report on climate change, which was released this week with its stark warnings, to the BBC1 documentary on Fashions Dirty Secrets.
Me being me, I couldn’t help myself pull together a few observations of my own. Generally, what I find is that the temptation to buy more wins over the reinventing of what we already have. But why? Well, you know I lay blame for that at marketing’s door, but surely the retailers are realising that better quality and less is actually more? It seems not.
To us in the western world, consuming clothing is often a reward, a pleasure, a pastime, rather than necessity. Yet, it was only 77 years ago that clothing was rationed in the UK, a concept impossible for many to even imagine today.
The really tragic part of clothing consumption in the UK and USA is that many items of clothing made for the market, don’t even get worn. Between the garments that are bought and never worn, or the garments which are bought and returned to suppliers which are either incinerated or stuck in a warehouse never to see the light of day. The damage in using up the raw materials or the horrendous polluting processes to produce the garments is already done.
This week I looked at two well-known UK department stores:
Department Store ‘A’ has 699 new clothing items for sale on their website. I counted up how many items it had for sale in ladies fashion excluding lingerie, nightwear and shoes.
14,124 products. When I searched under the word “sustainable” the results returned were:
26 Organic products and 15 Water Edit products.
That’s 0.18% of the products they offer…
I looked at another prominent UK department store. They boast 1132 ‘New In’ items in clothing and accessories. They offer a staggering 16,524 different items for sale in womenswear, not including lingerie, nightwear sportswear or shoes.
I am a customer of both these department stores. I don’t want to look through 700-1000 new items this week for what I want to find, let alone the approximately 15,000 other items listed. Fashion overload right there! I know there are filters to aid my search but it’s starting to feel like a 24 hour all you can eat buffet on steroids. Let’s just keep making things and keep marketing and the consumer will feast whether they are hungry or not because it’s available and it’s cheaper than it’s ever been. Having fewer options doesn’t reduce the ability for self-expression, it actually encourages you to be more creative and customise your look by how you wear it.
I love clothes, I love shopping and if you are reading this then every chance you do too. My role is to ensure your purchases are considered and are what you actually need, rather than bought on a whim, lying unloved and unworn. If we follow this way, we can and will make a positive difference.