Yesterday, I listened to trend forecaster Li Edelkoort’s talk from December, where she talked about her Anti-Fashion Manifesto at VOICES, Business of Fashion’s annual gathering for big thinkers. The main message is that the fashion system is broken, what makes fashion become old fashioned. However, below I would like to discuss one of the 10 thesis the Manifesto emphasises – the textile industry. She said that knowledge about textile creation such as knitting, spinning, printing and weaving is not any longer integrated part of the education system. This means that European fibre, yarn and textile are threatened with extinction.
I immediately recalled a lecture about silk production in Sweden, which I attended last year in Stockholm at the Royal Armoury. How amazed I was to be able to see and touch incredible samples of Swedish produced silk from the K.A Almgren silk weaving mill.
The mill started in 1867 and today is the only remaining mill north of the alps. Today it is a working museum producing textile in the same was as they did in the old days. The production has successively grown during last ten years, what means that the tradition and knowledge subsist. It gives hope but it is not enough.
Today the word “sustainability” the new fashion but only few of us really contribute to it. We buy cheap clothes daily in order to hit the trends and hunt fashion but prefer to shut our eyes on what is behind that low price tag. Today I called to the customer service of a fashion conglomerate and while waiting I was informed that they update their trends and assortment on a daily basis. How sustainable is that? They sell to the customers who come back the day after for more. However, those garments we acquire will seldom be inherited by next generation but rather thrown out within a short period of time.
Often there also is a huge lack of knowledge behind it when it concerns quality of the material the garment is made of and the production process. Therefore, it is vitally important to learn about textiles and their production process not only for future designers but for us, ordinary customers. We need to be led by fashion houses which can provide garments made of high quality materials to a higher price than we probably used to. Then we consume less and they produce less compensating their production loss buy the higher prices. There are a number of inconvenient decisions to face for both the industry and its consumers.
Vintage, home-made couture and style are the choices I have integrated in my wardrobe but there is a long way to go. How do you contribute to the sustainable world of fashion?