Amongst other revelations and revolutions taking place this year, there is one happening quite prevalently in the fashion industry. It roughly began when fast fashion overtook high end brands in production and prêt-à-porter.
It’s time we all think about buying less and buying better, more than ever. Recently the “Buy Less, buy better ” philosophy has been gaining more and more traction, contrary to fast fashion brands pumping millions into ensuring customers follow trends. What is the meaning behind such an underrated expression you ask? Generally speaking it refers to a more conscious way to buy, no matter the sector. Vivienne Westwood’s original quote “buy less, choose well and make it last”, is pretty straightforward
The future of fashion is changing due to the intense pressure applied on fashion designers, and most importantly the impact it has on the environment. Fashion designers figured pragmatic designs is where the real money was made, and began churning clothes out of their factories every season, leaving real creativity out the window. This also resulted to fast fashion brands recreating designs, at a faster rate (by relying on outsourced and often underpaid labor from factory workers overseas) and selling them for cheap. However this has left high end brands high and dry, when their seasonal collections are released untimely and they offer celebrity friends gifted pieces with the only requirement being to advertise… if they like.
Since lockdown brands have been forced to re-stragtegize and re-evalute the traditional fashion system - “that has long governed the industry’s approach to developing, showing, delivering and discounting collections”. Some have have left the fashion calendar (Dries, Gucci, Off-White and Wang), whilst the CFDA and BFC all expressed similar concerns: that it was too much output, too much waste, too much time.” There are many things brands will do to adapt to, when it concerns sustainability in order to do their part. This includes using techniques like upcycling, using environmentally friendly fabrics, as well as practicing ecological methods to create fashion.
As consumers our role it to change our shopping habits, it’s imperative that we take action as none of this would exist without us. We can engage in many money saving tactics such as mending — the idea that we can repair our loved worn out pieces, and reuse them as a blank canvas to explore our creativity.
Being modern or creating contemporary relevance without wasting new and old material is not easy. Brands that look for absolute newness can find it with old collections just as Jean Paul Gaultier was able to do at his Spring/Summer 2020 show. However it’s not something only brands should have as their top creative priority.
Both Tdfashun and Thevenusxxi show the re-appropriation of something that already exists, using a combination of past and present references into hybrid fashion. Made like a collage this pair of jeans is a “pure present” piece, mirroring what is happening in fashion industry with concerns to newness and sustainability - It is the general taste of the time. Using old clothing TheVenusXxi redesigns pieces, with the method of overlock stitching to create an entire new product. As the industry looks to brands for more sustainable ways of creating, techniques like DIY-ing is doable from home by oneself. The patch-work exhibited, makes use of old denim in a way to create a new and unique product.
The ethos of sustainability isn’t just wearing what you already have, it also involves recycling or reselling clothes. It can be spending your money on a pricey product made with integrity. Or finding the patience to shop vintage where you will find many pros, a lot of people are yet to discover the absolute possibility to find a pieces worth their while. You may find garments that are not commonly produced any more, for a fraction of the price of a brand new item. Which can be tailored making them more durable. All in all buying less but choosing well.
Not to drag influencers and their roles in the industry as well paid advertisers, they engage consumers in collecting the next best thing on offer, without giving them a chance to really thinking about the damage they’re causing to the planet and their bank accounts. The sweat shops that are mass producing the clothes we’ll wear for one event is troubling, but no one wants to talk about that. Furthermore when the influencers/ celebrities are done with their influencing, again they are buying good quality, durable pieces from high end brands juxtaposing what they encourage us to do with our own wardrobes.
I appreciate the fact that Kanye “is seemingly rejecting this idea of clothing as a commodity”, we saw this with the simplicty of some raw garments and recycled leather at Yeezy Season 8. In his interview with Charlemagne he mentions that ‘brands are a confidence booster’, the wearing of designer or more generally following trends gives us a sense of security. Shoppers have essentially been conditioned to expect a constant stream of new items. With Yeezy he designs clothes to redefine that luxury. True ‘luxury’ is nature, space, clean water and a clean environment, all the little things that we have come to appreciate this quarantine.
All these methods can impact our shopping habits by forcing us to think about what we already have available to us. Not only will our wardrobes be more durable, the pieces we own will be sustainable. Despite the many trends that come around, we must stand by our personal style. The ability to rewear specific clothing, should be a sign that you truly like what you bought. Like comfortability in your clothing clothes, wear-resistant clothing are favourable to this lifestyle. Us fashion enthusiasts shouldn’t be ashamed of repeating ‘A look’.