Hi, everyone. Since I started my fashion label, I have noticed that people have a distorted perception about fashion, about how to build up a wardrobe, about how long a new trend stays new and about the price a piece of clothing should cost and that’s all the result of the influence of fast fashion brands. So, today’s fashion talk is going to be about fast fashion. So, we are going to discuss what it means, how to define the word fast fashion, what’s behind it. We’re gonna look at the business model that’s involved. We’re gonna check what you as an individual consumer at your end of the globe can do to leave that vicious circle. You’re going to see soon enough that I am not neutral in that matter And at the end I’d like to give you more information and talk to you about projects that you can follow if you wanna know more on that topic. The goal of this is to start a discussion at the end of this post in the comment section. When you think about fast fashion you think of brands like H&M, first one, then you think of Primark, Forever21, Topshop, Zara, etc. That’s just a short list but there are way more than this. What do they have in common?
THE FAST FASHION TRAP HOW TO ESCAPE WHO MADE BEST CLOTHES Photo Gallery
They are manufacturers, but they’re also retailers, and they control the whole process from the design to you, to the end consumer. That allows for extremely short cycles, rotation- cycles, from the start of the process, which is the design idea, until you see the clothes on the racks in stores. The cycle is two to four weeks. That’s 12 to 24 collections per year. To reach such a speed, they optimize optimize all the steps: the design, the sewing, the quality, the fabrics you’re seeing, everything must be sourced and done at minimum costs humanly possible, and when we’re talking about humans, labor is also a parameter that gets optimized. How much more can you stretch the people who make your clothes? And is that wage law and rule really a must or can we go around it? Then the price tag in shops can be usually really, really cheap. You get a tank top from H&M for less than five bucks -five euros- but not always. Um, Zara is, for example, fast retailer that’s smarter than the other ones. You can get out of Zara’s shop with a shirt or a piece of clothing that actually cost you $100. It’s not made in better quality, but the margin out of it is just insanely high. And then, fashion retailers make trendy clothes, and that’s actually the most important point in the whole list of what fast fashion means. They make clothes every two weeks, right? That are meant to come out of fashion within two weeks. Because when you get into the store, you see the clothes, you have to buy them right now because in two weeks they’re not gonna be there anymore, so it creates this urgency. But in two weeks time what you bought two weeks ago is out of fashion already, so fast fashion actually means how fast what you’re buying today is gonna get out of fashion. Now let’s come to the business model. To achieve the base of 12 to 24 collections per year, they have to cut everywhere they can, right? So fast fashion brands cut the design. They don’t have a real design department They just copy what ready-to-wear designers do.
Design takes a lot of time to emerge and and become concrete, right? It’s a process. Copying goes much faster. So let’s just copy at the border of intellectual property. Then they produce very high quantities of clothes to bring down the unit cost they pre-produce everything in super-high quantities more than what they forecast because the cycle of two weeks, or four weeks is so fast that if an item sells well they don’t have time to reproduce it to refill the shops. So they just preproduce everything en masse and if it’s too much then the rest is waste. Then, they produce in countries where labour is cheaper and where the safety laws and ethical human right laws are less well enforced and here I don’t mean to offend anyone really if I do let me know and.um.I apologize I’m gonna quote some countries so for example, China, Vietnam, Cambodia India for knitted fabrics very often chosen as a producing country or Bangladesh If it has to be really, really cheap, and you’ve probably heard of the Rana Plaza building that collapsed three years ago. It was producing fashion for fast fashion retailers. So for the European market those are very renowned countries for production. For the U.S. market, for instance, they wouldn’t necessarily ship it over from Asia, They would go with producers in Bolivia for instance polo shirts, shirting or Mexico. In fact, when you see Made in Country (x y) on a label on a garment It’s only the country where the garment was manipulated, transformed last. It doesn’t mean that the history of the process of this garment started in that country everything that happens before The last country is totally intransparent and doesn’t have to be labeled. For instance if you take the fabric in some country, the thread in another one, then you buy the label somewhere else, you assemble and sew the garment all together in the fourth country and then you may package it for retail or shipping in a fifth country. Like that’s how optimized the process can be. So you as a consumer end up buying a piece of clothing that is worth less than what you’re paying for it because everything is so cheaply made and sourced. And even though the price tag is so small. It’s not worth what you’re paying for it, and you have literally no idea where it’s actually coming from. An interesting side effect of fast fashion is that you buy clothing like you go grocery shopping.
Once a week maybe more and the kick that you get from buying a piece of clothing like a five-year-old tank top in a color that you already have three times is about as big as the kick that you get when you go buy milk. It’s not that high, is it? At this stage of the post I can hear questions and objections in the audience already so let’s tackle those before we move on to tips on how you can change your behaviour as an individual to help the situation Objections: Do I buy fast fashion myself? I have done it when I was a student. I wore about 20% of my closet really regularly. I even owned items that still had the price tags on them. See, that’s how disposable that whole thing is. I don’t do it anymore, and in fact my closet is getting smaller and smaller. On top of that, as a fashion designer myself, I have a slightly different perspective on the matter now. It would break my heart to see my clothes getting sold for 5 euros. So I don’t wanna act like that as a consumer myself. Is my own label more ethical and better than fast fashion? Yes, I definitely think it is and I pay a lot of attention to that in the process. I source my fabrics all of them- exclusively in Europe and the entire production process happens in Europe. In fact, the entire sewing for my first collection was made here in Berlin next door and I know who sewed that. So yes, it makes the situation better and I know that here in Europe there are laws that are actually being enforced and controlled all the time to make sure that people who work on my clothes get a proper wage that’s fair and legal. Now we’re coming to the pragmatic part. You as one individual living somewhere on this planet can do something to participate and help shift that mindset and move that industry. The first thing you can do is stop looking for for trendy things that you know are going to be out of trends next month like typically what you find at fast fashion stores. And instead of that, look for stylish things, for basics, for classics -those words are always indicators of something that you still want to wear in ten years from now. And if it’s a particular style but it’s yours, and you know it fits to your personality not just today but also ten years ago and and in ten years, then that’s right for you and you should get it. A second smart thing to do is to consider thrift shops, secondhand stores, online shops that trade clothing between people.
You’ll get a very, very good dress worn by somebody already before you but the quality is much higher and the price tag is smaller than a brand new item from a fast fashion store. So that’s, that’s an idea to consider. Next point: when you go shopping for clothes, look for the label that you usually get out as soon as you bought the item. That white label full of text, look for the production country. Don’t buy from a country where you know the conditions are not good and sometimes even children are being exploited. Drop those countries, there are enough other countries to buy it from and they’ll give you a better feeling. Do research this topic further to understand what’s going on: How the whole supply chain and the whole industry work so you get smarter about it and you can make informed decisions on how you shop for yourself and how you build up and manage your wardrobe. I’m going to give you right away right now some things that you can research very easily and further readings in the description below this post. To know more, you can first look at project 3-33, it’s about downsizing your closet to 33 items only for one season. So, for instance, 33 for the summer season or 33 for winter, cause depending on the season and where in the world you live, seasons look really different temperature-wise right? But for one season only 33. This will force you to choose only clothes that are combinable with everything else you have, that are super high quality cause you’re going to wash and wear each piece a lot more often than you’re used to right now. And you’ll be forced to find only things that really match your style and that you know you’ll be wanting to wear six months-long, non-stop.
So it helps you find your style as well.The result is called the capsule wardrobe, so if you research project 3-33. or capsule wardrobe on My blog, you’re gonna find testimonials of My blogrs who’ve tried the experiments, and I’ve posted in the description one post that I like a lot from a girl whose My blog is called ‘My Green Closet’. And the other thing I wanted to mention is ‘ #who made my clothes?’ It’s a movement fostering more transparency in the fashion supply chain, so if you look for that hashtag #who made my clothes on Instagram, you’ll find a feed of people asking who made their clothes and then you’ll find other people holding signs saying I made your clothes. Isn’t it nice to know who sewed it? And once a year in April, there is a so-called Fashion Revolution. It’s a special week in April where people demand more transparency in the fashion industry. And why does that happen in April? April is the anniversary of a very sad day when the Rana Plaza building collapsed close to the capital city of Bangladesh. It killed officially 1,127 people, I think, and it injured two thousand plus other people. Most of them were textile workers working for fast fashion brands. It is a very important topic because fashion touches everyone, literally. So if this post made you think, just for one second, about how the industry works and about your own behaviour when it comes to buying clothes, then give this post a thumbs-up. Also, feel free to share your opinion and your thoughts in the comments. I gladly read all of them. I’m super happy to start a discussion on that topic and I know there are people reading my My blog from so many different countries, so, I’m sure the sensibilities and opinions are going to vary greatly on that matter and I’m really curious to know what you guys think. If you want more posts from me, I writing a new post every Sunday at least but every Sunday for sure at noon, Berlin time. Then comment to my My blog or you can watch another post from me right away if you still feel like reading more. Here is last week’s post about recognizing shoe types. We go through a ton of different shoe types, heels, what they’re called, so it’s a little bit of a lexicon so you get unbeatable in all things shoes.
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