i buy new and at retail. i try to do so sparingly, instead mostly favoring secondhand finds at local thrift stores. a major reason for this: i am haunted by the ethical implications of the things we buy, fashion or otherwise. i feel guilty about these purchases afterwards, inevitably pondering of the individuals that made those items...and wondering what kind of life they might be forced to lead. i am filled with lots of questions, and the answers definitely aren't easy.
fast fashion has of course been a huge trend for years, spearheaded by big, popular retailers like h&m, topshop, and others of a similar ilk. goods go from the design desk to stores in as little as two weeks, according to a recent article in ny magazine. TWO WEEKS. a trend could be spotted on the runways or on the streets, be picked up by these retailers, and then be on the backs of shoppers in a fortnight. and the shoppers love it: trends can be test-driven for a song, and when one tires of those threads (which often fall apart quickly), they can be disposed of in one's chosen manner with little guilt. fashionistas across the 'net and beyond are big fans of these clothing meccas, from what i've been able to garner from viewing many an RSS feed. cheap is chic. cheap is what people claim they can afford, which of course is understandable. it's clear that many prefer quantity over quality.
but honestly, frankly, who REALLY pays for this breakneck speed, this lightening fast fashion? it's something we, as a culture (meaning western, consumerist) need to look at, question, and perhaps, confront. myself included.
danielle of final fashion recently posted a link to an article from the independent that relates to that question...and may be part of what could be a growing backlash against trends at the speed of sound.
Jane Shepherdson, who resigned as Topshop's brand director just days after the news broke that Kate Moss was to design a range for the chain, said it was "getting a bit boring" for people to find their wardrobes full of "cheap rubbish".
She said: "We should always question if something is very, very cheap and think that if you, the consumer, aren't paying for it, then someone, somewhere down the line, is paying."
want to see the faces of those who are really paying for that cheap chic clothing?
check out china blue, a recently aired PBS independent lens documentary that was clandestinely shot in a blue jeans factory in china. the film follows a 17 year old girl named jasmine who, like many others in her workplace, earns the equivalent of about 6 US cents an hour.
the film aired on my local affiliate a couple months back...but i can't stop thinking about it, even today.
what say you on the subject? pipe in, and discuss!