Identifying what she sees as the problems with ethical fashion in this week’s Observer Magazine, Polly Vernon says ‘Ethical sourcing and production is a lengthy process. While main fashion rushes on, defining and responding to the will of the catwalk, the street and Agyness Deyn, ethical fashion plods behind it, hoping vaguely that people will want to wear sun dresses in muted shades of sage the year after next.’
Call me naïve, but this strikes me as a problem with fashion rather than ethical sourcing. The length of time it takes to source the materials for and to create an item of clothing should be the thing that defines the changing window displays on the high street, as opposed to the changing whims of the fashion industry defining how quickly we can create clothes. Thinking about it logically, fashion should fit in with our human time scales rather than having us running around in a panic, forcing children in Uzbekistan to be taken out of school to pick cotton and women in Bangladesh to work around the clock without so much as a toilet break (or a living wage). I’m sure if we all clubbed together we can help stop this nonsense. You don’t really need to be buying new outfits each season, or even every year. Those stampedes in Topshop just make us all look a little like idiots. Come on now girls, really.
Stephen Bayley seems to agree, writing in The Times today, ‘Because it depends on the excitation of new desires that will inevitably, as the system demands, be replaced by even newer desires in three months time, fashion is an affront to all notions of sustainability, decorum or good design. If something is responsibly made, efficient and beautiful, you would neither want nor need to throw it away.’
Talking of slow fashion, this week I finally finished the skirt it’s taken me about three years to make out of second-hand ties. There is no reason at all why it should have taken me this long, except for laziness, which I suppose is a good a reason as any.