The fashion industry is fast becoming public enemy number one when it comes to all things environmental.
If you follow a typical 21st century global supply chain from beginning to end, it makes for very depressing reading. More often than not it starts with the very inorganic production of raw materials that devastate the land, the air and the waterways, before moving into a manufacturing process that is frequently accompanied by sub-standard working conditions and devastating wastage. Next, it acquires some kind of plastic packaging, is transported around the world with a very carbon-heavy footprint and eventually it falls into the arms of a new breed of consumer, an insatiable one. Unfortunately for the planet, it doesn’t stay the object of our affection for too long. According to Upworthy, a fast fashion item only gets five wears before it disappears into the back of the wardrobe or worse still, ends up in a landfill where it can take months, years or 100’s of years to break down if it is made out of a synthetic fabric like polyester or lycra. Not much to love in that picture!
The interesting thing is that it never used to be that way. While the capability to mass-produce clothing arrived last century with the advent of the sewing machine, the fast fashion feeding frenzy has really only exploded in the last few decades as global production capabilities have fuelled consumer demand for I want it now. Back in 1930, the average women had just nine outfits, how many would the average women have today?
If we want our planet to last, we need to buy made to last.
If there is a silver lining in this picture, it’s the fact that despite having created the demand for faster, cheaper fashion, we can also turn off that demand and supply will follow.
We need to address our fast fashion addiction and start choosing clothing on its ability to go the distance. Here's how:
- Support brands that not only care deeply about what they do but more importantly how they do it.
- Look for brands that believe in small and perfectly formed when it comes to their production runs rather than those who mass produce low price, low-quality items.
- Recognise the very real cost to the planet of buying 5 x $20 T-Shirts rather than 1 x $100 Organic Cotton T-Shirt and buy ONE.
- Become more discerning with clothing purchases, rather than treating them as fast-moving consumer goods, good for one season and gone the next.
Enduring Clothing Brands create Enduring Clothing
One of the longest standing brands in the New Zealand Clothing Industry, Annah Stretton, has always been synonymous with quality, femininity and fit over ‘fads’. The style, selection of fabric and manufacturing process not only needs to meet our exacting quality standards but, most important of all, each garment needs to pass our endurance test - will I still love this piece five years from now? That simple test drives the fabrics we chose, the styles we design and the quality of our production process. An obvious example of this ethos is our famous Flipit Wrap dress. It’s been part of our collection for the last 18 years because it fits beautifully, no matter what shape you happen to be, it’s the ultimate multi-purpose garment offering the wearer ten different wrapping options and the fabrics are chosen for their absolute gorgeousness rather than the latest fashion trends. But, that’s just one example, you can discover plenty more in store or online.
Let’s make New Zealand a world leader in the slow fashion movement by shunning the endless demand for fast, disposable fashion and returning to fashion that is loved and lasts!