Friday, 25 July 2014

The Fall Of Fast Fashion?

The Wall Street Journal's 125th Anniversary Edition, which came out earlier this month, brought together a lot of interesting thinkers and figures with one brief: to talk about the future of their fields of expertise. It's an insightful and fascinating read in its own right, but for the purposes of this blog, the op-ed by fashion giant Michael Kors spoke volumes.
He said:
‘I love fashion because it's plugged into the zeitgeist, so it's always changing. Thirty years ago, I could never have predicted I'd be where I am today, so I know I don't know what's going to happen in the next five years or the next 20 years.
‘I have my predictions - I'm sure technology will continue to have an impact on fashion, particularly the way people shop. I think quality will be increasingly important - we're moving away from a time of fast fashion.'
None of this is particularly prescient, but it shows that Kors is aware, and more importantly paying attention to the trends of the industry as a whole. The impact of the internet can't be emphasised strongly enough. All of a sudden, smaller producers have the same access to the armchair shopper as the big brand names. This, tied to new production techniques and the power of social media is, I believe, the prime mover behind the powerful upsurge in interest in ethical fashion.
But it's the last part of his quote that has caused the most attention. He's not the first name to sound the death knell for the fast fashion revolution, but he has the nous of a businessman, and he sees the ugly truth. Consumers are becoming more aware of the suffering that goes into cheap clothing, and they're voting for more ethical alternatives with the most potent weapon at their disposal: their wallets. Pointing this out in a paper with a smart, money-minded readership gives the notion a lot of clout.
Of course, there's the argument that high fashion brands are as guilty of eithical abuse and maltreatment of workers as the usual high street suspects. So it's worth keeping an eye on future developments, and seeing whether Kor's call for higher quality is matched by better conditions for the workers who are expected to produce them.

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