This week was definitely a struggle for me. The concepts were difficult to grasp and I definitely had to take a large amount of time to attempt to digest the topics. After reading “Needs” by Fletcher, I was overwhelmed by the abundance of information and I was not sure what it meant or how it related to my field of study. I was overwhelmed because it seemed to be a whole lot of words for a fairly simple point.
After going more in depth in class and breaking it down, I learned that the Max-Neef Matrix is a breakdown of “nine fundamental human needs and myriad ‘satisfiers.” The matrix itself is very confusing, but after A LOT of breaking it down in class, it began to make more sense. One of the most important things I got out of this article was the part about by only fulfilling these fundamental needs; we would reduce self-esteem issues. Fast fashion can create sense of “need” within people to buy, buy, and buy more. People then begin to find a sense of belonging by using fashion and when they cannot fill that void with material items, they become shameful. This is obviously relevant to our industry because it IS our industry! The point of the matrix is if we fill only the needs, we have wealth and will not want for anything. By not wanting for anything, we will then create a sense of confidence in who we are as people and not define ourselves by what we wear.
Although I see the relevance of this article, to only fill needs and begin to define who you are through yourself and not through clothing, I also see that this could severely damage the fashion industry. I feel that this information is useful to know because if it becomes a “trend” per se, it could kill the fashion industry very quickly. Although I find the topics that we read about in class interesting, I also think that sustainability in the way of not purchasing will kill the fashion industry and fashion will cease to exist. It is sad that our culture is so materialistic, but we now have created our careers in this field and if our consumers only fill their needs, we will be without jobs. I feel that this has been my consistent opinion of the articles we have read thus far in this course. Maybe I am wrong for feeling the way I feel about these things, but I truly believe that this type of “need-filling” sustainability defeats the purpose of fashion. We will no longer fill the wants that fashion creates and that’s awesome that people will define themselves through their identity versus fashion, but then we will not have careers, to be blunt, and then why are we here studying these things? I know that these ideas are valuable to be educated on because if they do become fully implemented into society and western culture, it will cause the fashion industry to cease to exist and I will be without a job. (Which could be bad…would be bad!)
I do not believe I had an “epiphany” per se this week, I just continued my belief that although I believe that sustainable practices are important to keep our earth alive, I also think that the impacts on jobs that these “sustainable ideas” would have would be too dramatic. I personally would love to learn some ways to be sustainable without killing or at least drastically hurting the fashion industry. Maybe the L.O.L.A. show can present some new ways of thinking about filling needs that I have not thus far realized.