Striving for ‘Out of the Box’ Fashion
Author: Jasmine Waters
We can’t hide from the fact that many retail industries are in dire straits. From inequality issues to unsustainable practices, the pandemic has forced us to confront the urgent need for change across the board. As far as fashion is concerned, select brans have organisations have moved to reframe their priorities for what the market now needs. With many asking what a freshly built fashion industry would look like, how can brands restructure what there already is?
How are opinions of fashions changing?
One of the first changes in thought was the introduction of the Earth Logic Fashion Action Research Plan in 2018, creating a call to action for an ‘earth-first approach’ – with the idea of any activity failing to happen without a healthy planet at its core. The idea is for the industry to shift from focussing on profitability to making decisions based on environmental and sustainable effect. Looking to re-craft the existing industry using tools such as co-creation, diverse ways of knowing and care of world, the Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion argues a plea to transform our relationship with fashion by taking a different way of looking at things. Prioritising aspects such as localisation, governance and language, we now have no choice but to face the biases that have been ignored by the culture that already exists. As both consumers and industry professionals, we’re urged to sit with the trouble, looking to practical advice and broader questions to develop a strategy that centre local advantages at its heart.
Does this go beyond sustainable issues?
Experts agree that brands can no longer stick their head in the sand when it comes to addressing inequality, but this definition extends further than we might think. From finding more value in a purchased product or assessing the mental health of employees all fit within this scope, showcasing wellbeing over productivity. Individuals will also look to brands to be bringing in outside voices and remaining transparent with their values and processes, appreciating extended efforts such as offering mentorship programmes to advise financial and practical support. On a more human level, fashion is considered to be a hub of oppressive systems, but this also makes it the best place for change to be introduced. That same sentiment applies for an individual or the bigger picture, with many asking fashion to come to a conclusion of everything being valued, while nothing is wasted. To loosen its current grip, the industry looks to be monitored by the many, not the few. With a new purpose to focus localised efforts, total utilisation of resources and a natural cycle of evolution, a different pace of every industry aspect could be the thinking that moves fashion forward to the greater good.
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