Many are those who today speak of the necessity of a ‘fashion revolution.’ Certainly there are some fundamental issues in the way fashion currently functions; the pressure on brands (high and low) to distribute garment collections at a faster pace, the question mark over the role of fashion weeks in the current climate (and the fashion show as the optimal model for displaying clothes), and the flux that the role of the ‘creative director’ of high fashion brands is currently undergoing – not to mention the ethical concerns that have dogged the industry for decades. In T Magazine’s ‘These Two Guys Are Changing How We Think About Fashion,’ Alexander Fury talks obliquely about rules that need to be broken, and implicates ‘the editors, the designers, the corporations’ as the manufacturers of these rules. But if the fashion system at large is at fault, what role does Fury and T Magazine (the editors) alongside Michele and Gvasalia (the designers) of Gucci and Balenciaga (the corporations) play?
In order to transcend shame and to take action in the realm of sustainability, we need support and a collective vision. We know from other domains of shame, for example that of the recovering alcoholic, that the sharing of experiences of shame plays an important part in moving on. Yet shame is often lonely in fashion, as the industry is constituted of strong individuals instead of a cohesive collective. The culture of fashion is not always one that promotes an easy sharing of doubt, fear or inadequacy. Without easily negotiable paths to address them, environmental degradation, child labour and over-consumption risk remaining uncomfortable areas to venture into.
Fashion wares for sale in a street market are widely considered to be the final stage in a product-cycle bracket. A closed system based on a hierarchy; from inception at a high design level, to obliteration, the ‘trickle-down’ effect has a beginning, middle and end.