Is Fashion Too Exclusive?

Fashion got its start in royal courts. It was a source of entertainment and a powerful indicator of status. Society imitated the courts, which ultimately bothered the royals who then altered their tastes in order to remain exclusive. To this day that remains true, though celebrities have largely replaced royals. This is important to note, because it explains where the desire to follow trends came from. Specific desires arise based on perception of what is appropriate, fashionable and trendy. Unfortunately this, in combination with corporate profit seeking, has created an unsustainable fashion cycle. In this cycle, we limit where and with what clothing is made. A new and more diverse outlook on fashion is needed.

Locally produced fashion is a fantastic option. It’s a practice that will hopefully become commonplace for its numerous contributions to sustainability. It is beneficial because it reduces the energy required to transport products, it nurtures creative environments and local artisans, it allows for a greater variety of perspectives and therefore ideas, among other things. Local fashion has become much more attainable, because having fashion capitols is serving less and less of a purpose. Ideas can now be communicated instantaneously. Location no longer dictates whether or not a designer can have access to current trends, nor does it prevent the designer from communicating with sufficient target markets. Furthermore, it seems that younger generations are more concerned with challenging the status quo and exuding self-expression. That might just be the last straw for the fashion monarchy.

To use a greater diversity of textiles is another great way to improve the sustainability of fashion. Just as specific trends are followed, textile variety is limited. Cotton and Polyester alone account for 80% of all textiles used. Neither of these fibers is sustainable if examined with logic. Putting all of one’s eggs in one basket isn’t the brightest of ideas, so why is it still done? Altering a system this large is not easy, and it faces opposition from those who exploit it currently. If the desire for sustainable products becomes stronger, greater textile diversity will be a natural and profitable step to take.

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