Updated: Jun 21, 2021
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I find myself in a bit of a quandary. I don’t know about you, but I am getting more and more confused and mixed up about sustainability, circular fashion, recycled clothes, ethical procedures, etc.
The more I talk to the designers on my podcast the more I realise that we all have to do our bit, from growers, manufacturers, designers, merchandisers to us, the punters. The trouble is, what is our bit? What do we do and how do we do it?
I thought I was being ethical by using certain brands from the High Street stores, because their statements on their sites tell you about their use of circular products, less water, recyclable packaging, to name a few. But then I read horror stories about their ethical practices, which whether true or not, gave me pause.
We have to know where our products are from. Who is involved in making them. Are they paid a fair price for their work. Is the environment protected during the process. Can the products be recycled. Or, are the products biodegradable. This list goes and and of course all these steps and measures come at a price - to the consumer this time, rather than the environment.
So, do we shop less and shop wisely? Do we look for things that are classical and timeless as well as good quality and well made, so we can wear them a lot and hold on to them forever?
If so, does this then impact negatively on all the people involved in the process of the making of our clothes - i.e. less being made, so fewer people needed in the process?
Do you see my quandary?
My gut tells me that the cheap clothes, with a short shelf life and even shorter fashion kudos are definitely on the way out. But the industry and people dependant upon it need us to keep purchasing, or to be prepared to pay a premium for our purchases, which truly reflects what we are buying.
I agree with Angela Quaintrell from AQ Market, whom I interviewed for my podcast last week, when said she didn’t like the way that brands banded around the term “sustainability” and led people to believe they were sustainable when they aren’t. Can any brand be completely sustainable? I don’t think it is possible, but obviously anyway they can go towards it is going to be in the right direction.
Many of the designers Angela works with at AQ Market are working hard on their sustainability and all can tell the story of where their products come from and how they are made.
It is these smaller designers and brands who, I believe, are going to lead the way in this and I also believe that it is the smaller brands and boutiques that will earn the loyalty and custom from the consumers, for not only this reason, but also for the attention to detail and customer service they give.
I would love to know your thoughts on all this - let’s get a conversation going and do our bit to help the industry we love do the right thing for the planet and for the people who work for it.
My interview with Angela is on my podcast https://richwoman.co/podcasts/your-style-re-imagined/
You will also find it on all podcast platforms under "your style re-imagined" where I interview designers from all over the world!