Our discussion articles this week were focused on the subject of wants vs. needs. This is a topic which is particularly important to the Apparel Design industry, where fast fashion is so prevalent and wasteful. Humans have a hierarchy of needs, and in developed countries like the US, most of these needs are satisfied on a regular basis. This leads us to focus on their want, and sometimes to be manipulated by advertisers into thinking we need things which we do not.
In the Human Needs article, the concept that creating needs in fashion is a way to drive insecurity and self-doubt really hit home for me. I have seen this to be true in my own life. My closet is crammed with so many clothes–many which I never wear at all–and yet when I bought all of them, I truly did feel that I needed them. Now, I find myself in a position where I’d like to purge my closet and feel some sense of control over all these clothes, but I find many of them hard to part with.
This is because I subconsciously believe I need a huge array of clothes in order to be happy. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. What I need–what all humans need–is a healthy environment to live in, first and foremost. And contributing to the destruction of the environment by over-purchasing? That is not helping any of us achieve this need. I’ve become confused–due in part to marketing, and in part by my own desire for variety–and now I believe I need all of these clothes in order to be happy, attractive, relevant.
I hope that eventually, as a culture, we can overcome this perceived need for more clothing. I’d like to hit a point in my own life where my closet is sparse, yet filled with only pieces that I truly love and which truly suit me. I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it. I’m starting to understand what I actually need.