Friday, 14 August 2015

Could A White T-Shirt Save Fashion?

This week, to lighten the gloom over the state of the charity sector, I tried to find some more inspiring stories to tell. I came across a doozy. MA student in Fashion Media Production at the London School of Fashion Dino Bonacic has written a passionate piece about his new appreciation for sustainable fashion over on, logically enough, the Sustainable Fashion blog. It's well worth popping over to read the whole piece, but there are a few points Dino makes that I want to tease out in slightly greater detail.
First of all, Dino nails the problems with the fashion industry in a single sentence. He has a very clear idea of the primary concerns that anyone interested in ethical fashion has to face. He says:
I wasn’t feeling happy with everything that had surrounded me in terms of fashion – ridiculous pacing of trends, a blind plague-like exchange of information, and the overcrowded conveyor belt feeling that current fashion gives.
Bingo. If anything, things are getting worse instead of better, as brands like Zara and Primark develop micro-trends, designed to be put on the shelves and sell out in a single run that can be here and gone in a few weeks. Never mind seasons: we're working on a monthly basis now, with no thought given to build quality. Make and sell the product cheaply, with the understandng that the customer will be back for more of something different. That pace is clearly unsustainable.
Fashion students are often accused of working in a bubble, encouraged to pursue a single vision with no thought given to further impact. It's inspiring to see that the MA Dino is studying for insists on collaboration. Working as a team enables a whole new set of skills unavailable to the individual designer, and the end results are all the stronger for it.
Dino's work cleverly focusses on one of the simplest and most iconic of fashion items, one that many of us would not consider to be fashion at all: the white t-shirt. His series of short films Confessions Of A White T-Shirt teases out the processes at work behind an item most of us have in our wardrobe. Dino says:
In this case, the white t-shirt plays a symbol – as a piece that’s extremely cheap for our wallet, we don’t necessarily think about the price for the environment. We consider the t-shirt as simple, blank and interchangeable while it’s everything but that – it’s powerful, meaningful and emotional.

Dino's work is thoughtful, critical without being judgemental, and always ready to explore a different perspective. It's great to see students of his calibre coming out of the great fashion schools. It makes me feel a little bit more hopeful about the future of ethical and sustainable clothing.

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