What is fast fashion? Zara, H&M, Forever 21, to name but a few since almost every brand went down the fast fashion slide in the hope of fueling a never ending thirst for more sales feeding the frenzy and addiction of everyone wanting more clothes for little cost.
But buying cheaply comes at a high cost.
I thought everyone knew.
My generation always desired new clothes. We have memories of wanting a new pair of pants,
(something very novel to us) an expensive dress, a new t-shirt and Levis jeans, but we either couldn’t afford new clothes all the time or couldn’t buy any Off the Rack like you can today. There were not always clothes in my size, not like today where everyone is accommodated from the very small to the very large.
In my case, being so skinny and small, the only clothes remotely in my size were in the kids section size 14, super ugly big kids clothes for pre-teens, or they were too big for the pre-teen girl wanting more grown-up clothes, that I was.
Definitely just before the days of what we who worked in the industry called junior slut wear. It wasn’t that bad, but it did have sexier details such as sweetheart necklines and the like.
There were only boutiques I would read about in Seventeen magazine.
geared towards the tiny preteen for my sister and I.
One store, in our area, was called Jabberwocky. Our mother brought us all the way there, two cities away, and it did not disappoint.
All the clothes were so fashionable, just what we were looking for and they had small sizes. But they were expensive. I was allowed to buy one pair of pants that I wore practically my whole high school years. A pair of kelly green high waisted pants out of a brushed twill that never seemed to wear out. I only grew out of them eventually.
Friends I had who spent a fortune on clothes had mothers who took their daughters on clothes shopping sprees once or twice a month. They showed up at school with beautiful clean bright new outfits to go with their perfect hair, face, and smile.
The rest of us wore our outfits once or twice a week. That is how we dressed when clothes were expensive and we didn’t shop all the time.
The Gap only had sweatpants for exorcising and sweatshirts or hoodies. Soon they started having a button-down shirt. The Banana Republic had army navy surplus clothes intermingled with other basics that cost more but had a few military-style pieces you could get for a reasonable price.
As time went on, there were more options. We all noticed and started shopping more.
There were strip mall stores opening up with long racks and racks of just tops or sweaters and always one or two we could afford and purchased.
Boutiques in the malls opened up with names like The Limited (except it was anything but) and others all of a sudden, with young trendy cute clothes that were not going to break the bank.
We all shopped more, and it felt like it, we only wanted to go shopping. We went to the mall frequently to buy clothes.
It was an outing different than before when we went to the department stores.
I thought at the time it was having our first real jobs with a need to look better or professional that we shopped. Sure that was part of it but there were so many more options and fashion seemed to embrace all the DIY details we had already made once by hand, but could now buy. Machine embroidered items, already frayed edges at the store, jeans with faded washes.
Nordstroms became the expensive store while for a while they all were before the many boutiques popped up. Nordstrom has survived because in the maelstrom of fast fashion Nordstrom promoted service to the average shopper like no other department store.
When did the Gap become a fashion maven? When did Penny’s become only a place to buy underwear, then after a revamp a place to buy inexpensive suits and dresses. At least they didn’t go by way of a Woolworth’s which touted inexpensive clothes but by no means could compete with trendy chain boutiques.
All of a sudden you could find cute t-shirts at Forever 21 that were extra long and cheap, three for ten dollars. Before that I was sewing any extra fabric I could find to the bottom of my t-shirts to make them longer since low cut pants were in style. We really could not believe it. We couldn’t get enough. We wanted to go back for more. The fast-fashion addiction was beginning.
How could we resist? We found cargo pants, the ones with tons of cute pockets a third of the price of real Gerards. We couldn’t help ourselves. Sweaters were affordable when we were making five to ten dollars an hour.
I know we are still making ten an hour but it was a time of inflation, there was less income inequality. We felt a real option of moving up the pay scale and growth in our careers.
Somewhere along the line, the fashion industry started making more than four or five seasons to feed the demand. There was Spring One and Resort, Fall 1and 2.
We started manufacturing in China.
Unending cheap labor made it possible to design anything we wanted without it costing a lot. It was designed by fax and spec at first. At some point, we started to send the actual clothing to copy.
At first, we designed and made patterns, and traced them, and physically sent them over.
In return we would get these squished clothes that had been sitting in ship containers for weeks, often smelling of chemicals.
Sometimes the USA factories in Flint Mi, Pennsylvania, and the Carolinas would still make knits and mostly sweatshirts. There was money for artists to actually draw bunnies and sheep for sweatshirt designs. The competition for making a shirt ten cents cheaper would go to the lowest bidder for a store like Kmart.
People were getting used to their clothes being made somewhere else besides Italy. When more and more madras plaids were pouring in from India and everyone had one because they were a cheap nice-looking plaid shirt made out of cotton gauze.
Levi’s started being made in China too.
For the large majority of their jeans, Levi’s are not made in the USA. More than 99% of their jeans are made in countries like China, Japan, Italy, and others. Levi’s does have a single collection of “Made in the USA” 501 jeans, sourced from a small denim mill called White Oak in Greensboro, NC. Dec 23, 2019
All of a sudden we were emailing China daily, hourly, to get our goods, making only up to two corrections max in an afternoon. The turnaround time was getting shorter and shorter. When we used to plan a year in advance and finish the line to show three months in advance everything was moving faster now.
People were buying whatever we put out there. The competition was fierce to keep making more to feed the fast fashion addiction.
The Target, the H& M’s, The Forever 21’s were the competition with Gap and every big label jumping on board to produce the cheapest and the most sold in more and more stores across the states.
Department stores started hurting not being able to sell designer clothing and quality pieces for twice as much. Plus their turnover was not as great.
If you wanted something trendy in fashion the department stores lagged behind the cheap franchise stores. Manufacturers found the wait time for payment from traditional department stores unacceptable and had a hard time stocking some brands that did better in a boutique setting who paid when they made the order not six weeks later like the department stores.
The competition for making something a dime cheaper for mass production to go into every store around the country and the world was formidable. The markup went from 50% in the old days to 30% and 20% to keep quantity and price down.
H&M started hiring high fashion designers, then Target did the same and big designers started having a line of off-the-rack clothing for the masses.. It was hard to tell if the RL brand was the expensive one or the one made for cheap. So why bother buying the expensive one?
The better-made clothiers were becoming more exclusive. All adding to the income inequality aspect of brands being for the very wealthy. At the same time, most brands were buying more, making six to ten seasons a year. Leaving the design in the dust and relying on surface treatments which are very labor-intensive but easy for China who had unlimited cheap labor.
But now the fashion industry as a whole is having a reboot, some are closing down or slowing down with the help of the pandemic but the pandemic added a magnifying glass to the dilemma to stop the 2.5 trillion industry from destroying our planet. Embracing Intersectional Connection to change the profit motive and discover what sustainable fashion is really all about.
Is climate change causing the coldest winter on record in Texas since the 1890s? Dr. Shahir Masri a Master in Environmental Sciences elucidates misconceptions about greenhouse gas emissions and offers insight into his research in his new book Beyond Debate.
One degree or so seems like no big deal. Some areas are getting cooler and some warmer. Variability is enormous.
Across the polar caps it is about 10 degrees different.
At the peaks and troughs. How are they changing over time? Average is a scientific metric, not very useful to the average person.
Nevertheless, to give this experiment we are conducting with our planet Earth, not doing enough for a fighting chance of survival is an experiment.
The planet might make it but as a species humans and the animal populations are dying because of climate change now.
We are in the sixth mass extinction. Eighty percent of our animals are being lost right now. A real siege we need to address.
Shahir belongs to the same Climate Reality group in Orange County, California that I do. He says joining a climate action group is the single most important thing anyone can do.
We can read about what is going on or listen to a podcast, as in this case, Tristan Miller interviews Dr. Shahir Masri on the One Earth Podcast where environmental pioneers who are the beacons of tomorrow share what we all need to do collectively.
What can we do? Solutions involve the three pillars of climate action as Shahir likes to address it.
One is civic duty-changing a few policies- make a phone call to the representatives who are supporting climate change initiatives. Of course voting is at the top, number one thing to do. Canvas for an elected official.
Two involve outreach and education. It is important to talk about these concerns. Share the ways you are taking action to care for your life and the livelihood of the planet.
Are you composting? Are you planting trees?
Have you worked towards having a more sustainable lifestyle and sustainable fashion?
Well if you are doing any of the things that are moving the planet forward to offset the damage of Co2 then share it with your friends and neighbors.
Be proud of it, whatever you might be doing. It is ok to care about certain topics, write articles and share existing articles.
Tell the average person about the science of accelerating the climate crisis. We have had the twenty hottest years of all time.
Read Bill Gates new book.
Three is considering our carbon footprint. Something we have been doing for a long time. Try to turn the a/c off in the summer, buy an electric car, and more by reducing fossil fuel energy on an individual basis.
More of what we can do is to buy from small farmers and local farmers’ markets. Use refill stations for shampoo etc. There are farm fresh market boxes that can be delivered to your door like one called imperfect foods. You can get 10. Off your first box here. We are not trying to be perfect but trying to do a little more imperfectly.
One way to put it. We have not had carbon dioxide Co2 emissions this high since 3-6 million years ago, the time before that was 65 million years ago.
Potentially it has never happened before. We are living a global experiment.
Careers are dedicated to this experiment and the answers do not look good.
Fossil fuels liberate greenhouse gases releasing bad pollutants. It is a public health hazard on a global level. Air pollution impacts cognitive abilities, and impacts cardiovascular disease.
Couple hundred thousand people are dying a year, 3.5 million are dying prematurely.
Scientists are studying Air pollution not only as a human carcinogen but also possibly a cause of autism. A known fact is it affects developing brains.
There are major correlations to disease by virtue of your surroundings.
Improved sustainable energy is imperative.
Ultra fine and fine particles coming out of the air can be reduced and is a huge public health gain.
There are major correlations to disease by virtue of your surroundings.
We have to drive a halt to this experiment. Drive ourselves back to lower greenhouse gasses.
Invoked as the planet but it is human civilization that stands to lose.
Earth has been around 4.5 billion years.
6.5 million years ago we had a snowball planet. That has happened twice in Earth’s history.
Fluctuations have been extremely dramatic. Have not stood the test of time. The last ten thousand years have been a pretty stable climate.
If earth becomes unstable, nothing precludes the planet from disrupting or change, bringing life to a halt.
On a positive note.
This book Beyond Debate is about trying to get the word out to everyday people around the country. It is less an academic approach but more a grassroots call to action to bridge the gap between science and the public. It is about climate outreach. How is it affecting people at a local level? Surveys were done and compiled for a paper shared on ontheroadforclimateAction.com website. A peer-review study.
Agriculture could be more of a community. We should support local permaculture.
Grow gardens which are good for our psychology as well.
Consuming less. Heavy marketing on buying things perpetuates a culture of waste.
Pay for more services that benefit our lives.
Have experiences rather than things.
Diet is another main example of that.
Small farming. We have to shift to green infrastructure. It is incredibly important. More subsidies for green energy.
Subsidies for Oil and gas have to dwindle.
Switching to electric vehicles for clean air burning car emissions.
More conservationists like the imperfect food companies to curb the ridiculous 40% of food that is wasted.
Look for ways to get more trees planted.
City officials want to hear from you. Consult a constituent that cares. Ask a climate expert to talk to your group.
Get Your Dressing On! What does it make you think of?
Salad Bowl Dress yourself with sustainable fashion. Grow your own food. Buy imperfect food. Make imperfect clothing. Add pockets for gardening. Working at life experiences. Not by buying something new.
Painting is Peasant Wearing Madras – by Realist Realism painter Gustave Courbet (1870’s)
We are writing new blogs weekly to share information about SaladBowlDress.com and its role in the changing fashion landscape.
Sustainable fashion is at the forefront of enlisting customers towards a more ethical shopping style. shopping in their closet or finding brands with a commitment to do better in saving the planet.
What should you be looking for in a sustainable wardrobe going forward?
Brands that are transparent in how they do business.
We would like to guide you in some of your choices as we become aware of companies that are doing the right thing, for all of us, going forward.
There is a myriad of issues to address. Consumption in our industry is the biggest cause of global warming.
There are many different approaches to enlisting good trade practices. Some of the simpler questions are these:
- Is the labor being paid a living wage?
- Working in safe conditions?
- Where and how are their fabrics sourced?
- Are the garments made with healthy fabrics such as ironically including deadstock or stock that is leftover from a larger brand’s needs, rather than being thrown away!
Fabric will go the way of “out of many” we might end up with one, E Pluribus Unum a concept conceived by our founding fathers to unite the thirteen colonies thus initiating the melting pot concept.
But these days we want unique cultures to stay intact and carry on with the foods, traditions, languages, and clothing that may define the culture while still assimilating into the varied conglomerate community.
Salad Bowl Dress’s name is about retaining one’s individuality in your unique self and style. Derived from the term-A salad bowl or tossed salad is a metaphor for the way a multicultural society can integrate different cultures while maintaining their separate identities, contrasting with a melting pot, which emphasizes the combination of the parts into a single whole. … New York City can be considered as being a “salad bowl“.-Wikipedia
Or this explanation from Blog.Baruch.cuny -The salad bowl theory is when newly arrived immigrants do not lose the unique aspects of their cultures like in the melting pot model, instead they retain them. … This idea proposes a society of many individuals, “pure” cultures in addition to the mixed culture that is modern American culture.
Since so many traditional fabrics are not sustainable on our depleted planet. Our future in textiles is going to be different with fewer choices for fabrication or fibers than today. But more ethically sourced and ingeniously woven or knitted.
Especially the way fabrics have been made with petroleum products and with leather from cows being herded in the rain forests using tanneries so full of deadly chemicals the average lifespan of workers is only fifty years. I digress.
There is hope, so many innovative fabrics have been developed from mushrooms, bamboo, hemp, and synthetics that are not relying wholly on petroleum for manufacturing. There are lists of companies at The Good Trade. I have been purchasing from PACT for my undergarment needs, and they are a perfect example of a company that only uses organic cotton, innovative blends, and has transparent manufacturing listed on their website.
The least good alternative for scaling up into the billions, 2.5 billion is recycling presently, but for individuals, it is a very low cost and efficient use of resources to head towards zero waste in our households and communities.
The second hand or upcycling alternative is very creative and custom in its nature. SaladBowlDress has a very utilitarian component, as well as a casual shirt or dress, all with pockets for a person on the go.
The quality is better simply by being made one at a time, therefore easily customizable. The design is contemporary, classic, and using clothing deconstructed into new fashionable pieces.
It is our goal to support all sustainable clothing brands in the quest to do something about the number one polluter on Earth, fashion, the major cause of global warming. But it doesn’t mean we can not have fun with fashion while we are doing it.
Get Your Dressing On!