I have just read a commentary by Dhana Inc. founder Shamini Dhana featured on Triple Pundit entitled ‘Wear What You Stand For: Uniting Humanity Through Fashion’.
The Fableists believe that Dhana is absolutely right to be promoting a more conscious approach to fashion. It’s time we all listen and take notice of what the sustainable fashion movement has been banging on about for decades. But how can we get people to change? Appealing to hearts and minds is winning over consumers by the thousands but it’s not enough. We need millions to pay attention in order to see change in the way that clothes are made, bought, consumed and disposed of.
Dhana’s line, “an unconscious judgment call is made, a perception created at some level, within the first 40 seconds of physically meeting someone new” really strikes to the heart of the matter. We need to start to appeal to the vanity of the masses.
I’m not entirely sure what I want my clothes to say about me, but I am pretty clear on some of the superficial things I don’t want my clothes to say about me: cheap, fake, and common are just a few that spring to mind. Those are things that I would not want said about me on a deeper level either, by the way. Yet, the vast majority of clothes that are bought on this planet say these three very things about the buyer.
Cheap: The companies that produce most clothes make them as cheaply as they possibly can. This means cutting corners at every turn; quality, employment practices, safety standards, ecological considerations, waste disposal and contents are just a few examples of ways that companies can cut costs.
Fake: Often, designer items are copied and sold for a fraction of the price. While many can argue that so-called ‘designer’ items are overpriced, that is often because they pay the craftspeople they employ fairly, with benefits and living wages. They also produce limited edition quantities of items, making them more valuable. Producers of ‘knock off’ items are exploiting our desire for name-branded, designer items and using sweatshop labour in order to produce imitation items that are low quality. Is the badge really that important?
Common: In order to keep prices low, fashion companies produce endless quantities of the same item and sell them all over the world. On any given day, you can be certain that somewhere, several thousand people are wearing the exact same top as you are. No two people are the same. We are like 7 million unique and magnificent snowflakes. Why do we all strive to be the same?
I don’tknow why anyone would want their clothes to give the impression they they are cheap, fake or common. We need to go out of our way to choose quality, authenticity and originality. Wouldn’t you rather leave that impression on everyone you meet? You only have 40 seconds.