Redefining Fashion

By using fashion in society today, it becomes a part of identity. With fashion comes change and growth, followed by disinterest and continues through this cycle constantly and throughout generations. Such fashion practices cause wastefulness through trend and fads being transient and superficial. While fashion is a large component of identity, it has major effects on the environment. Since fashion changes with time, it is very beneficial for economic competitiveness and market simulation but detrimental for resource conservation and environmental stewardship. Although fashion fosters creativity and explores innovation of solutions, it also fosters values of materialism and consumerism. In this case, the long-term damage to the environment and human welfare should outweigh the short-term benefits. These issues rely on the way that fashion is manifested and used, so in order to change the current environmental state, society needs to change its consumption habits.

As a society, we all have become a victim of this idea of consumerism and materialism. I personally have seen an increase of this in my own life since I have been in college. By seeing something in style that I want, my first instinct is to purchase it rather than stopping to think if I actually need it or not. Our default setting is just to buy until we have created such destruction of the environment that it is too late to change our situation. That is why we need to recognize and be mindful and aware of our current state so we can prevent our collapse.

From a design standpoint, fashion is an ally that we can use to our advantage for transformation. With fashion comes increased interest and progress. Fashion has the ability to influence individuals in evolution towards a shift of ecologically and socially responsible means of production. Such sustainable development and change is essential for our society and environment. To begin change we need to design with humility and view products and fashion from a long-term perspective rather short-term. With this mindset comes the idea of creating long lasting products by using a product’s entire useful life. Another way to promote change is to purchase locally, creating a sense of community and environmental unity. This encourages locally sourced products and increases employment opportunities while decreasing pollution of transportation of other goods. Both of these changes in production and consumption demonstrate less usage and using what is available. The future of design needs to support economic viability, social well-being, and environmental gains in order to truly make an impact of change. We as a society are encouraged to be of little burden to the planet in production, use, and disposal and in turn provide healthy and fruitful fashion designs. Fashion will always change with time, but are we as a society willing to change?

Another concept that we went over in class this week was how poverty correlates with the state of the environment since the poor are dependent on natural resources. With this correlation, it should be obvious that if the environment is improved then poverty will be reduced and vice versa. It is not that poverty and population growth directly lead to environmental degradation, but how such factors influence the environment. So, to benefit the current state of the environment, there should be improvements of natural, social, human, physical, and financial capitals of the poor. Since the poor cannot provide for themselves, it is essential that the government and society provide the basic needs of the poor and create flexible livelihood options. With society’s consumerism and materialism, we as individuals are creating poverty. Such degradation of the environment causes health issues with the poor since the environment is their only resource. Our duty as a united society is to partner with the poor to gain a different perspective on innovation in order to successfully improve the environment. There needs to be an emphasis on the equality of rights between societal classes by empowering the poor so they can seek their own solutions and incentives. Through this, poor people will be partners, creating unity rather than segregation. The benefits of societal change must outweigh the costs in order to promote sustainability.

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