Welcome to my blog! I'll be sharing my research and thoughts on the global impacts of fashion; the move towards a circular economy and our changing relationship with clothing. Expect talk on equality, race and intersectional environmentalism. Resources and recommendations.
Climate Justice | Sustainable Fashion | Consumerism | Tech & Digital Marketing | Ethics | Wales | Colonialism
Are you the consumer or the product?
In 1998, a trailer for a new psychological drama premiered, posing the question: ‘what if you were watched every moment of your life?’ At the time, a film which surveyed the mundane lives of others was noteworthy, and therefore the plot for the (then) dystopian The Truman Show was born.
Does ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ encourage over-consumption?
Borrowing money can carry serious consequences for missed or late payments, however, BNPL can seem like a quick and easy way to buy without credit checks and real-life implications.
How the Welsh woollen industry clothed enslaved people
...From as early as the seventeenth century, British traders exported Welsh woollen fabric known as ‘Welsh Plains’ or ‘webs’ with the intended purpose of clothing enslaved people in the West Indian and American colonies.
Slaveowners found that enslaved people were more productive if they were clothed and protected from the natural environment. Thomas Pennant, a commentator at the time, declared the purpose of Welsh Plains were “covering the poor negroes in the West Indies”. As well as clothing, textiles also served as a currency for the trading of slaves, different types of cloth could even be used to identify who "owned" the wearer.
The Paradox of Choice:
More Is Less
Having an unlimited number of options when buying clothing can seem like a good thing – we’ve all sifted through endless store pages, waiting for the perfect item to appear. Choice has saved many of those ‘I have nothing to wear’ dilemmas.
We associate choice with freedom, rooted in our human instinct which tell us that choice provides control and a means for survival. In modern life, we are overloaded with choice; the fashion industry alone produces 100 billion garments per year – fuelling over-consumption and a detachment of material goods. As we find ourselves in an abundance of choice, our certainty for those choices become less confident and more confused. You might start by looking for a new dress, you are now lost in mini dresses, blazer dresses, prom dresses, midi dresses, shirt dresses, maxi dresses and corset dresses (these are just some of PLT’s dress options, however the website proudly announces a total of 27,296 items for sale).
The ‘paradox of choice’ is a theory popularised by American psychologist Barry Schwartz. It suggests that whilst we believe being presented with multiple options make it easier to choose one that we are happy with – having an abundance of options ultimately require more effort to make a decision, leading us to feel overwhelmed and dissatisfied with the choice we eventually make. When applied to fashion, having more choice might be a reason why so many of our clothes are abandon in our wardrobes. We have so many options but still ‘nothing to wear’.
The Diderot Effect – Spiralling Consumption
Until 1765, French philosopher Denis Diderot lived his life in poverty (despite his name being well-known because he was the co-found and writer of the Encyclopaedia). When his daughter was engaged to be married, Diderot’s lack of wealth made it impossible for him to provide a dowry. News of Diderot’s misfortune soon reached Catherine The Great, who offered to buy his library for £1000 (around £40,000 today). In Diderot’s sudden change of luck, he was now able to afford his daughters dowry and began to make expensive purchases.
Diderot bought a new robe and that’s when things went wrong… Diderot’s new robe was so beautiful that it felt out of place amongst his other belongings. In his words, there was “no more coordination, no more unity, no more beauty”. He felt an urge to buy new things to match his robe, spiralling into a consumption of unnecessary things.
Are Luxury Brands More Sustainable?
Unfortunately, the designer price tag doesn’t mean its exploitation-free. In the sustainable fashion conversation, is it easy to place blame solely on fast fashion brands and their over-production of cheap, low quality clothes and regular new stocks.
Clothing or Content
Traditionally, we only saw new fashion cycles twice a year at spring/summer and autumn/winter collections. Here, trending items would generally circulate in five stages; the introduction (brought by fashion innovators, designers and celebrities) the increase (rinse in popularity) the peak (item has been fully embraced by the mainstream) the decline (item looses its popularity) and finally its obsolescence (the trend dies).