Wednesday 24 September 2014

Is It Time To Bin The Notion Of The Fashion Season?

As the dust settles on London Fashion Week, it's worth considering a couple of aspects that, while not at the forefront of yer average fashionista's thought processes, did make the whole rigmaorale a little more interesting than usual.
War On Want made the case for the unseen stars of the event: the garment workers that put together the clothes in the first place. With stunts like a huge banner across Waterloo Bridge and a solidly successful social media campaign, the ugly secret behind the glittering world of fashion--that it relies on underpaid and vulnerable employees--was much higher on the agenda than many big names would have preferred. If no-one was talking about the garment workers before London Fashion Week, they certainly were afterwards.
The other discussion centred around an even more uncomfortable truth. Designer Carrie Parry dropped a bomb on the whole structure of the fashion calender in the pages of The Guardian. The seasonal cycle that big fashion events eulogises is a major factor in the industry's lousy record on green and eco-issues. Think about it. With two new collections out every year, the impetus is not on reducing consumption. It's about regarding the clothes you bought in the spring as somehow redundant, no longer worthy of consideration. By the time spring rolls round again, well, those are last year's colours, last year's cut. Time to start again. Even if you choose to donate or recycle the previous season's fashion, the focus is still on conspicuous spending, on filling your wardrobe with goodies. Frankly, it's not good enough.
Whether it'll ever change is another question, bearing in mind that fashion's business model is based around this notion of seasonality. It would take a radical, almost revolutionary tear-down of everything that fashion, especially at the high end, stands for. It's important to think around the box, and consider whether there are other ways to operate. Parry and others like her are questioning the system, refusing to book a place on the Paris, London and New York catwalks and instead using the funds to explore their supply chains. Personally, I'm a great believer in buying, say, a winter coat, and knowing it will last me for years. That, after all, is the thinking behind Pier Crush Vivienne Westwood's ethos of Spend More, Buy Less, Choose Well. I don't, I'm afraid, have an easy answer to this conundrum. But at least people are starting to ask the question.

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