Fashion: My Revolving Door of Love and Hate

To my dearest readers,

I thought an editorial might be appropriate. I apologize for leaving you all in the lurch last week. Sometimes I like to see life a series of buses. You can’t stay on one for the rest of your life, you often have to change and re-route to get where you would like to be and sometimes, you just miss the bus all together. At this point you have to decide, ” Was it meant to be that I missed my connection? Will there be another bus? Or am I going to have to eat the cost of this ticket and find another bus worth catching?”

I love clothing, I’ve earned two degrees studying fashion, fashion construction, business, textiles and anthropology. I don’t think I was starry eyed for more than 5 minutes about the reality of the industry. However, as I’ve worked in the field of fashion for several years and then taught it for several more. I’ve become jaded about the actual use of fashion.

In my history courses we look at the fundamental needs for clothing:

  1. physical protection
  2. psychological protection
  3. adornment
  4. group affiliation/ social acceptance
  5. religious affiliation
  6. modesty
  7. immodesty
  8. personal expression

There are many reasons why clothing is important. However, what we do with clothing is absolutely appalling. We’ve created an entire industry that is driven by people’s irresponsible consumption of goods. We are literally killing the environment and sometimes even people in order to drive an industry that overall body shames and judges, so you will buy their latest and greatest product. I really do believe that we should be focusing on making our lives better, but in the end I don’t think a $10,000 Donney and Bourke bag is ever going to solve that problem.

On the artistry side of this, it is a magical place where you get to use your hands to make stunning garments that fit bodies well. It becomes artistic expression in the types of clothes we wear, or the way a designer/ seamstress takes diligent strides to create a gorgeous and original piece of clothing. The artistry of fashion is amazing. Sometimes I believe if we moved away from the revolving door of fast fashion and moved toward the idea of artisan fashions like we do with our foods and coffees, the world would be happier with the clothing they buy. Clothes would last longer and we wouldn’t have millions of pounds of textiles end up in landfills every year.

The gist of this? I don’t want anyone to have to give up their drinking water for me to wear a pair of jeans. I don’t want to give up the oxygen we all need to breathe so that we can all have the latest polyester tank tops for summer.

I want people to feel good about their bodies, and I would like to continue to help plus size women see themselves as beautiful in a size 8 driven industry. But more importantly I would like for all people to see their own value, and know that it lies outside of the realm of leather and lace. I would like to see us all re-think what fashion is. Judge each other less, love ourselves and the environment more and finally do away with boring and unnecessary wastes of natural resources.

What does this mean for Evelynlouise as a blog/ advice column? I haven’t decided yet. Fashion has been both my life for the last decade, but it’s also been a daily struggle against the current values of the industry. So I will be taking a moment to re-group and hopefully come back to you in the next few weeks with a new outlook on where I would like to see this blog go.

I realized as I have been highlighting some of the atrocities of the industry, that it’s one thing to stand on a podium and rant and rave about the end of the environment, it’s another to actually go out and make a change. Even Al Gore can’t live by his own sustainable suggestions as he spent most of his tour for the “Inconvenient Truth” flying around in a private jet and using more Kilowatt hours in his own home than takes to power an average city block for a week.

We can’t start a movement writing articles about how we should implement the changes either. We have to actually do them. If any of you would like to learn more about pollution or sustainability, or have any other ideas for potential future blogs, please let me know. I’ve just been struggling for a while now with the concept of helping ladies with luscious curvy calves find boots, when those boots are made to fall apart after 3 months of wear. I am open to your suggestions!

Thank you all for your readership, I hope the new direction is a positive one and we all have something to gain from it.

Yours Always,

<3Evelynlouise

 

 

 

 

It’s time to pay attention

My dearest readers,

CHINA-ENVIRONMENT-POLLUTION-RIVER

This is a water supply. I love clothing, I love expressing myself visually, but when I think of the long term implications my consumption has, I know we have to change the way we think about it. Bored Panda released a visual photo essay about the pollution in china and it’s horrifying! Quite frankly this isn’t just about the physical toll our consumption takes on the environment, it’s also about the impact it has on the people who work and live in these conditions.

My good friend send me this article Bloggers sent to work in Cambodian Sweatshops, that links to the videos so you can watch the online reality show that is attached to the break down of this 17 year old blogger. There is a concept that my students and I discuss when we talk about the ethics of outsourcing that I think many of us overlook. The notion that because we are advanced as a culture that we have tied up all the loose ends of the highlighted issues of children in sweatshops, or the deaths of hundreds of women in the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. The reality is these atrocities are happening today, they happen everywhere. Even with the green movement there is not enough  being done to make our clothes more ethical or sustainable. I feel the only way we change this is by knowledge and discussion.

I,  just like you, love new clothing, I love to buy new stuff to put in my closet, I love to look my best and I have an unnatural obsession for looking my best. However, there is no handbag in the world that is worth the loss of human life or the degradation of others or the places they live. I think of it this way. I love clothing and I love new designs and the innovation and creativity that is associated with the fashion industry, but if we don’t make severe cuts and changes in the selections and mass productions associated with this industry we may not get to look forward to many more Mercedes Benz Fashion weeks. Why? Because we are going to eventually run out or ruin farmable land for all of that cotton for all of those t-shirts and jeans we love so much. It already depletes soil nutrients that could be used for growing food. And not to be too dramatic, but when we’re all dying of cancer from the amount of caustic chemicals we have put in to our water supply from pesticide run off for those crops and the chemical dyes we use to give them colors, I wonder if we’ll regret the damage we have done.

I’m not saying that first thing tomorrow you should throw out all of your unethically sourced clothes or that we all have deep pockets that allow us to buy 100% organic 100% sustainable 100% ethically sourced clothing. However, we all can start in acknowledging the problems and start facilitating discussions on how to make a difference. It’s time to start paying attention.

My partner and I have started this journey in baby steps by shopping the majority of our clothing through second hand clothing stores. While these present their own challenges and are dependent on a primary market to create the clothing that supply these stores, they do allow us to keep a large quantity of textiles out of landfills and keep those garments worn until the end of their intended life cycles. I think of it as starting in a place of waste not want not. I am also saying it is time to be more choosy in your wardrobe decisions and start finding your own answers about your consumables. Companies want you to buy their product, they don’t want you to know hundreds of 15 year old girls were killed in a factory fire that made those goods.

I also give this piece of advice, support your local economies, buy local and buy less. For those of you interested I’ve been reading this fantastic book Wear No EvilShe has some pretty hard hitting facts about our clothing and so far some pretty sound advice on how she changed her own consumption.

WearNoEvil-01-thumb-620x438-80519

I don’t think that any one person has all of the answers, or that any one person is 100% unbiased and accurate when it comes to discussing how we use, waste or manufacture. However, it starts with educating yourself and researching the things that important to you. For me, I would like to see us continue to have fashion weeks, and have new an innovative fashion ideas. In order to do this in the long term, we have to change. It’s lovely to look good, it’s awesome to accept yourself for who you are, but it’s amazing to be aware enough to take care of your surroundings.

Some food for thought my lovely fashionistas!

Yours,

❤ Evelynlouise