In the article we read for class last Wednesday, regional clothing designed was mentioned as a new idea some large brands like Levi’s are beginning to implement. In class, we also discussed the difficulties and opportunities surrounding regional design–for example, how feasible is it to grow enough textile fibers in every part of the world which needs clothing? Could there be enough small local producers to supply factories with buttons and trims, or would these still need to be shipped globally?
I was very inspired by the example of Levi’s clothing that was designed for women in the Philippines, which even included special water-resistant hemlines since it is so rainy in that country. However, I think there are many challenges to go before this type of regional design could be implemented on a larger scale. First, manufacturing needs to break back down from huge firms located in China, to smaller factories spread throughout the globe. The same goes for fiber production–regional design will be much more feasible when more countries focus on producing the fibers specific to their climate.
More important than switching up production, though, it changing customer’s viewpoint on clothing. On the internet, consumers can see clothing from around the world, the day it hits stores. I expect that an issue with regional production would be that it conflicts with people’s desire for the new, exotic, and innovative. It would be hard to see the clothes Levi’s is producing for Asian countries–which is beautiful–and not be tempted to order a top or dress.
When I visited Portland over Spring Break, I observed that the city was extremely locally-oriented. Portlanders were proud to be from the Northwest, and it showed, in everything from their clothes to the local restaurants they supported. If this can happen in one city in the US, it can happen in more. By changing the culture of local pride, it will be easier to change consumer’s viewpoint on purchasing regional products, and this will, in turn, help change production patterns.