(Almost) All Needs Must Come to an End

Transforming Fashion Systems has a chapter that focuses primarily on human needs and how we satisfy them. Not only am I studying Apparel Merchandising, which requires me to keep up with trends, but also I have always had an interest in fashion. This is a high maintenance and needy hobby to have, because I constantly want to make new purchases to keep up with the need for identity that is satisfied through having, according to Max Neef’s taxonomy. Wendell Berry said ,“You never know what is enough, unless you know what is more than enough.” This is very applicable to my ever-growing wardrobe, because many of these needs are temporary and as soon as I satisfy them, I find something else I “need” and forget about the purchases I have made to satisfy my past needs. I end up with more than enough clothes in my wardrobe. When Spring-cleaning rolls around, I always come to realize there are many pieces that I haven’t worn for a long time and dispose of them.

My epiphany is that we should consider how much time our clothing spends in our closets, instead of on our bodies, when making purchases. If we keep other needs in mind, such as subsistence and affection, then we may satisfy more eternal needs, rather than temporary needs. Additionally, as I grow older and approach graduation, I realize that many of my past purchases are not going to satisfy my wardrobe needs in the working environment. I need to make more functional and timeless purchases.

Why are there not more designers focusing on making functional items? I believe that these items could be used to satisfy the need for identity – as every consumer could use these items differently, while still using them for multiple occasions. This is the kind of clothing I would design, if I were designing my own line. Imagine a wardrobe full of reversibles and colors and patterns that are easy to mix and match and adjustable hemlines. This is where design needs to turn their focus.

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