New Year: A Transparent Wardrobe
How often have you read « New Year, New Me » or something along the lines of refreshing your wardrobe? It’s great to have the motivation to refresh your wardrobe in a way befitting to you. But what’s more important is to invest in personal style with quality pieces that are also gentle to the planet.
Sustainability is not just limited to how our clothes are produced, but also who makes them, where they come from and how ecological their disposal will be.
Though some organisations are attempting to be more transparent on where they source raw materials and how they manufacture their products, many still keep consumers in the dark. Which makes it a little harder to identify who is doing their part for the environment.
Kering group is an advocate for sustainable fashion. Their business ethos is centered around an environmental friendly approach is not only limited to their garments, but also implemented into packaging, retail space and transportations. However, this doesn’t mean that all 14 brands under Kering are on the same path towards sustainability. The two top brands are Stella McCartney and Gucci, who do their part in eliminating the use of fur, exotic leather and get a more ethically sourced raw material. Our advice would be to look more into the Kering Sustainability page where they discuss the collaboration between employees, suppliers and clients.
Of course there are independent and smaller brands taking a similar approach, such as People Tree, M&S and M.i.h Jeans. Certain high street names including but not limited to COS are doing their part by showing a more transparent supply chain.
We are not suggesting that you should limit your purchases to the above names, but to reflect on what impact the pieces you purchase have on the environment. We are recommending to take a more sensible approach in investing in quality pieces that can have a long wardrobe life.
We wonder about the people that make our clothes, we should care for their work environment and well being. We should support fair wages (living wages rather than minimum wage), sensible working hours and a safe work environment. After all, they are human just like us, our rights should be their rights.
For a very long time, the fashion industry (along with many textiles industries) have gone unnoticed (a politer way of saying remained ignorant) in terms of international regulations. Companies have misused not only raw materials and supplies but also human labour. Yes child labour has been abolished recently, but not soon enough, women still work excruciating hours and men are struggling to maintain a parallel of cheap and safe work environment. The unfortunate truth is that these things are not happening on our continent, but in far East Asia (Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, South East, to name a few)
To have a better understanding, we recommend you to watch ‘The True Cost’ on Netflix. A fashion documentary going into the depth of the environmental and labour cost of fashion, mainly low-priced fashion.
We should be asking the brands we purchase from ‘who made our clothes’, we should demand more transparency. Where there is no demand, there is no business. So the power to protect our fellow human citizens is in our hands. Fashion Revolution is an organisation that works towards a fairer human labour, from the people that make it to the people that wear it. We recommend you have a look and widen your understanding of the organization.
Our natural instinct should be to donate, resell or recycle the clothes we no longer need. That requires making sure that it’s not done senselessly. Doing the above things to get rid of clothes shouldn’t be done for the sake of clearing out our wardrobe to once again fill them up with more. It can turn into a vicious endless cycle. We can minimise our wardrobe from quantity to quality. The documentary ‘Minimalism’ shows a beautiful insight of what it means to be a minimalist in our modern age. No there is no one cookie cutter formally, but various wonderful ways to be a minimalist.
We should put more thoughts into the pieces we purchase;
- Do we need it?
- Is it our style?
- Is it sustainable?
- Will it last me?
Simple questions for every time you want to make a purchase, to decrease your influence on unsustainable fashion. Fashion should be both beautiful and kind. Let’s make it so.
Let's do our part
We can’t change the supply chain, nor where and how the raw materials are sourced. We can’t always know who is behind the manufacturing of our clothes but we can make sure to support those brands that are advocates for faire trade, labour and humanity. We can do our part by not consuming compulsively and recklessly. We can donate our clothes to people and non-profit organisations (note that doesn’t mean dumbing your clothes into the grounds of 3rdworld countries) or recycle them to be reused in manufacturing. We should get to know our style to an extend where we have the same wardrobe ideally for a half a decade or more. Though quality pieces come with a price (but fairer trade & ecological), they’re meant to be long lasting staple pieces.
So in the year of 2019 and beyond, we are hoping to be more mindful and conscious about the fashion decisions we make.
Photo Credits: Dior, Chanel, Fashion Dustry Broadcast, Cure Edition, Her Couture Life