Poverty and Fashion, Say What?

This week we did two types of meditation. The first was an item meditation where we focused on one piece of nature.  The other type of meditation was a walking meditation outside.  If I had to choose between the two, I would say the item meditation was better.  My favorite meditation of all was when we kept our eyes shut and there were waves playing in the background.  This meditation is when I felt at most peace and could remain at a constant present focus.  Meditating in class is always a positive moment in my day and helps me sit back and take a breather.


In week three we talked about fashion and how it relates to sustainability.  The whole discussion honestly dumb founded me and left me feeling kind of selfish.  I never have really sat and thought about the connection between poverty and fashion and how it comes full circle.  I felt selfish because we discussed how fashion is all about change and what is new and popular.  We also discussed how the fashion industry is always changing and evolving and how that is one of the main reasons why people are in this industry.  As for myself, I love a new outfit and getting the season’s new “hot” item.  Then we started bringing in the topic of sustainability and how it correlates to fashion.  Everything everybody said made sense.  I see the correlation and the benefits of making more ecofriendly and long-lasting products, but selfishly I do not want to lose that feeling of having what is new, fresh, and popular.  Everybody always says change is good.  I think this saying applies to the fashion industry very well, but can see its flaws.  The fast paced lifestyle that fashion lives in is effecting the environment.  Every designer can produce whatever item out of any fabric or fiber they choose.  Instead, they should focus on using fabrics that are long lasting, eco friendly, and do not create so much waste and/or pollution.  A large portion of waste produced in the U.S. if often pushed off onto developing countries.  It is almost like taking the approach out of sight out of mind.  But how is the waste effecting other people’s livelihood?  People in poverty are already trying to overcome their own problems and now they have our waste to deal with as well.  I think we need to take responsibility for the effects we have on the environment.  We should not only put effort into figuring out a better plan for where waste should go, but should lend a hand to the people living in poverty.  In class discussion it came up again this week regarding who should take on this responsibility; the government maybe?  Personally, I think everybody is waiting on the government or the president to figure out our sustainability crisis and we should not wait on them any longer.  Everyone should be actively seeking out answers and resolutions.  Part of that is slowly changing what everyone perceives as the fresh and fashionable item.  If sustainability is promoted and people make sustainability fashionable, others will follow suit.


I felt a sense of unknown when challenged with these questions in class: what really causes environmental degradation, and what really causes poverty?  While poverty does play a part in environmental degradation as they have the inability to obtain their necessities so they rely on farming, agriculture, fishing, and etc., I do not see it as the only reason.  Environmental degradation is due to a plethora of actions from all over the world. To pinpoint poverty as the main reason would be childish.  Honestly, going back to all the pollution the U.S. dumps wherever they please, that to me is a huge issue. Water and air pollution are extremely problematic for this environment, and we all need to put pen to paper and figure out how to minimize it.  Making products that have better longevity would be a huge help in fixing this problem in my opinion.  People are so quick to throw anything and everything away.  We as a nation need to be aware of where our waste is going. I think a lot of people are oblivious to where their trash goes once it leaves their house.  As far as poverty goes, there are many factors that contribute to poverty such as lack of education, the economy, and diseases to name a few.  Without a college degree or graduating from a trade school, the majority of people can not acquire a well paying job to support their family.  The economy is always going up and down and can severely effect people’s livelihoods.  Lastly, diseases can not only effect people physically and emotionally, but also financially.  Paying for medical care can wipe out a person’s savings (if they even have any to start with).  All three of these reasons contribute to poverty and there are many more.  Poverty is a multifactorial problem and will require a multifactorial approach to solve it.


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One Response to Poverty and Fashion, Say What?

  1. Dr. Joyner Armstrong says:

    This is an exceptional blog! You clearly are exploring all the complexity that these issues have to offer. You bring up many good insights about the concept of fashion, and this is something for you to continue to marinate about in your career… what is a healthy use of fashion? Can’t we enjoy a sense of newness and change without the environmental burden? Good work!

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