Fashion is not a Dirty Word
“Fashion matters. To the economy, to society and to each of us personally. Faster than anything else, what we wear tells the story of who we are – or who we want to be"
Frances Corner, Why Fashion Matters
In my last year of fashion studies, I spent a lot of time contemplating what to do with myself upon graduation, and the question of ‘where is my place in all of this?’ kept popping up in my head. I knew I wanted to start a creative fashion enterprise, but it was also important for me to create something aligned with my personal values. No easy task, seeing the fashion industry is fraught with environmental and societal problems. From water and soil pollution, to throwaway culture filling up landfills, to garment workers being exploited, both overseas and locally. Ugly stuff! We have been living in an era of excessive consumption, where growth and cost are considered only in monetary terms. But, what about growth of a community? What about the cost to our environment and future generations taking custodianship of this planet? It’s shameful, but it’s true that fashion is operating in a badly designed system. And I knew that I didn’t want to be part of that. Not to mention, the fashion space is absolutely oversaturated. It seems everywhere you turn, every girl and her dog has a fashion label. The last thing the world needs is another fashion brand. Right? So, why in the world would I consider starting one myself? Despite its reputation for being frivolous and superficial, fashion is simply a reflection of society at any given point. In the early 20th century, Grabrielle “Coco” Chanel famously unlaced women from their corsets and dressed them in knit ensembles that allowed them increased freedom in their bodies. Take your mind to the swinging 60’s where Mary Quant reflected the sexual revolution taking over the minds of young women with her iconic mini skirts. What I find most exciting about fashion right now is the way the system is experiencing radical transformation and is being challenged to develop new models of operation that have positive impact on people and planet. As producers and consumers of fashion it is within our power to make good choices and positive changes. For me this means making considered choices in fabrications, designing with longevity in mind and keeping production local so to support and strengthen our manufacturing industry. And so I believe there is a place for me to create. To create something that reflects a growing movement toward conscientious production and consumption. So, I say, lets make fashion! But!, with right intention and with careful consideration. Lets create, dress and express ourselves in a way that reflects the life we want to live, and be the people we want to be.