Fashion Ethics Posted on 26 Jun 23:45 , 0 comments
The digital age had succeeded in both opening our eyes and making the world seem like a much smaller place in many industries. Just as quick as I can hop in the car and head down to L.A.'s garment district for supplies, I can just as easily go to a few of my most trusted websites, click a few buttons and wait for the same or similar items to arrive at the post office up the street. Fashion, either cheap or luxury, manufactured or handmade is at our fingertips like never before and it is both exciting and filled with complexity.
It can be hard to swallow or even acknowledge that in order for us to benefit fashion-wise, another person might have suffered. Liana Satenstein spoke with fashion model Amber Valletta about this issue in Vogue and she gives us a lot to think about - “We are the second-dirtiest industry in the world, next to oil.” and concludes with "...There is nothing wrong with fashion—it should be a beautiful expression of who we are.” She is referring to textiles and rubber in particular, but it leads me to want to be more introspective in my choices.
I use quite a bit of wire in my jewelry designs, for instance. The great majority of it is made and manufactured in America. Everything in my store is handmade by me, myself and I. Beads, chains, yarn and any other materials I use may be manufactured elsewhere under unknown circumstances, but the final product is assembled with my own hands. I definitely want my customers to know that and I do my best to choose materials which are healthy for the environment and my customers, both ethically and physically.
There's definitely a downside to that, if you will, depending on your perspective. I won't be quick to market with many items that I design. The time it takes to knit one scarf - your large local retailer can purchase from a large manufacturer and ship thousands of them in minutes. I value the art of handmade and I work hard to share that love with my customers.
I agree with Valletta that "fashion—it should be a beautiful expression of who we are". Thankfully, with the wealth of information at our fingertips, we can all begin to be more mindful of the cost of that expression.
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