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Fashion Revolution: focus on fundamentals

Posted on April 18 2021

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Fashion Revolution 2021

This week is Fashion Revolution Week. From Fashion Revolution's website:

"Fashion Revolution Week happens every year in the week surrounding the 24th of April. This date is the anniversary of the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse.

Rana Plaza, a building in Bangladesh, housed a number of garment factories, employing around 5,000 people. The people in this building were manufacturing clothing for many of the biggest global fashion brands. More than 1,100 people died in the collapse and another 2,500 were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history. The victims were mostly young women."

If you focus on only one thing...

In a blog post earlier this week I explained that making the apparel industry cleaner, greener, and kinder is complicated and doesn't lend itself easily to hashtag, boycott, or broad stroke solutions. And that we need a mix of carrots (rewarding positive behavior) and sticks (confronting bad behavior). But today I am here to tell you that if you are looking for one way to make the biggest impact, it's this: QUALITY.

It may sound simplistic, old fashioned, not as sexy as installing the latest ethical shopping app or brand scorecard. But the main reason things got so bad in garment factories is because of Fast Fashion. Cheaper, faster, next. Cheaper, faster, next.

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The allure of Fast Fashion

Fast Fashion brands hook us in two ways. First they convince us we can have more and more clothing for no additional cost. We can. That's why Americans buy five times as much clothing as in 1980. But we aren't the ones bearing the additional cost; the garment workers and the planet are.

Second, they convince us we need to follow the latest fashion trends and if we don't we're missing out. That last year's must-have color, Living Coral, is out; now you must own Classic Saffron. And you can for only $15!

As the axiom goes, there is no free lunch. If there is going to be one pain point (for some), it will be separating ourselves from decades-long habits of changing our clothes more frequently for less money.

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Check two boxes

✓ Will I want to wear this for more than a couple of years?

✓ Will the quality of it ensure that I can?

If you answer yes to both in most of your clothing buys, you are making a difference in your own carbon & human footprint. And if millions of us evolve in this direction, we'll change the world - absolutely no question!

But I love fashion!

I get it. A lot of people love it and use it to express their identity and individualism. While I'm fully bought into a comfortable, timeless wardrobe, if you're not there yet, I suggest satisfying some of your fashion instincts with thrift shops. You can't get more individual or funky than a one-of-a-kind piece that just about no one else will be wearing. Or take a timeless capsule piece and give it some life with more trendy accessories. Whatever you can do to shift at least some of your consumption away from 'Cheaper Faster Next' to 'Timeless Quality Forever' is a step that takes us on the right path to lasting change.

Robert Behnke

 

Robert Behnke
Co-Founder & President

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