Fashion is an art form. It is beautiful, creative, historical, political, and cultural. It is serious and silly all at once. The excitement which surrounds the industry is almost tangible, saturated in the changing of the seasons, the fashion weeks, and the iconic Vogue covers. It is for people who are aspirational and inspired, moving and shaking to get to the very top of their game. However, fashion very much has a dark side; from the hidden elements of the process of making the clothes, to the kind of destructive mind-sets it can encourages within us, LAPP gives you the lowdown on some of the sticky parts of the fashion industry- and how to love it cruelty free, and guilt free.
Fur is huge in the fashion industry, recently, Michael Khors and Gucci were in the spotlight for pictures of giant foxes they breed for their fur. The foxes are 5 times heavier than they naturally grow too, and so overweight that their movements are laboured. Kim Kardashian is famous for her use of fur in her looks, and has had to defend herself in the past, claiming to only use “roadkill.”
Unfortunately for the animals, they are bred in abusive, disgusting fur farms, and either way, they lose their life. The fur industry is absolutely a cruel one. Not long after the criticism Gucci faced for their use of fur, they announced they will be banning it, claiming that real fur is not “modern.”
Even better, faux fur is cheaper, more easily accessible and looks just as good. Fur has been making a comeback for the past couple of winters and 2017 is no different- just make yours cruelty free and buy faux.
‘Fast Fashion’ refers to the entire system of creating pieces on a factory line in masses, advertising, selling out and throwing away, then doing the same the next day. Rich fashion companies, particularly high street brands, outsource to factories in much poorer countries, where they can legally treat their (mostly female) workers horrendously. Women and children are payed next to nothing to work huge shifts, where they can be beaten, intimidated and even refused toilet breaks.
How to support our fellow women? The answer is hard, as most companies are involved in some way in this outsourcing and exploitation; only with highly researched, specialised knowledge can we completely avoid being part of the fast fashion industry. However, we can try. Give sweatshop-free brands a quick google (TSKENYA, Birdsong London and New Balance are a few to get you started), call out huge companies on their ethics, and educate yourself by watching documentaries such as The True Cost on Netflix.
An element of the fast fashion system is the way it encourages us to buy more and more, to buy new, and to throw away the ‘old’, to make room for the new. Even when we recycle old clothes, all too often they are shipped off to poorer countries to be sold in markets, disrupting that local economy. If not, they are thrown out or burned, and the waste we create is horrific for an environment already succumbing to the effects of climate change.
This materialism also effects our mind-sets. What we bought a year ago suddenly isn’t good enough, it opens grounds for us to compare ourselves to others constantly and the hype around new products produces a false ‘need’ in us. In today’s brutal systems, we have to watch our mental health very closely.
In the face of these systems and structures, which often seem external to us. What can we do? It is important to be aware of these issues even if we feel like we cannot make impactful, individual change. But every piece of faux fur you buy is a rejection of the real thing, every time you decide to buy from a sweatshop-free company says something about how you feel about unethical treatment of fellow women. Stay positive, do your research, and love fashion for it’s amazing parts, the creativity, the artwork and the inspiration- not it’s shady side.
Written by Katt Skippon