The fashion industry is a global giant – a giant with a dark side. It is full of extremes: some make millions while others starve, some open hundreds of new boutiques every year while others lack safe working conditions. Those who are in charge can’t say for sure what is happening further down the supply chain, and those who get hurt in the process often don’t have a voice. What can you or I do in the face of such convoluted problems? How can we have a meaningful impact on an industry that spans across the world, one that is so well established? We ask it to do what it’s always done: change. Continue reading
There are a few items we all have in our closets: a plain white t-shirt or the perfect pair of jeans for example. These items – though simple – are the foundation on which we build our wardrobe. Often times, however, the best basics are the products of meticulous design: in fact, they are really anything but basic.
Out of any clothing we wear, these are the items where details matters most. While you can easily find a white t-shirt at any retailer for any price, so many of these options just won’t make the cut. Finding a shirt (or pair of jeans or tank top) with the perfect fit, the perfect fabric, and the perfect price is truly a challenge – and we tend to hold on tight once we find our ideal combination of all three.
Apparel companies have scoured the globe for suppliers of low cost labor: with wages in China on the rise, the scramble to find an alternative is in full force. This kind of goal makes a country like Ethiopia, whose garment sector has no minimum wage, extremely attractive.
In 2015, Ethiopia was identified as a top sourcing destination. The cheap labor is certainly one reason for this designation (garment workers earned about $21 a month in 2014), but Ethiopia also presents the opportunity to go from fiber to fabric in one place. In addition to local production of cotton, Ethiopia possesses capabilities in spinning, weaving, and processing – in a world where lead times can determine a company’s success, having all of these components in one country is a huge advantage. Furthermore, textile and apparel products enjoy duty-free access to Western markets under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA – which was given a 10-year extension in June 2015) and Everything But Arms (EBA). Continue reading
Clothing made from bamboo: that’s about as close to natural as you can get – right?
Not so fast. While the word ‘bamboo’ may send images of lush green forests (and pandas) through your head, the path from plant to fiber isn’t so pretty. Continue reading
It’s my 6-month anniversary as an employee of the fashion industry: here are some thoughts on my experience thus far.
I didn’t opt to work in fashion because I thought it’d be easy – the only way an industry can appear so glamorous is if there’s some serious hustle happening behind the scenes. Yet my time in school demonstrated that my perspective wasn’t widely held. I distinctly remember my roommate’s face as she gawked while I cut out swatches for my textile class, while she worked on “real” homework. Fashion was seen as more of a cop-out than a major, a way to obtain the college experience without having to work very hard. My explanation of fashion merchandising – the business of fashion – was frequently met with curious stares: is there really such a thing?
Fashion is not what it used to be. Look up synonyms for the word ‘fashion’ and you get the following results: trend, craze, rage, mania, and fad. These translations are disappointing – because they’re accurate.
Once upon a time, fashion could take your breath away. It was exquisite, imaginative, artful, and daring. It demanded your attention: not because of glossy advertisements and 40% off signs, but by its own merit. Pieces developed into icons of a particular era and have been immortalized in museum collections around the world. There was a time when fashion would make your eyes light up, when its mere existence was enough to stop you in your tracks because it was like nothing you’d ever seen before. Continue reading
5 pieces, 30 outfits. Because it’s time we got over this “I have nothing to wear” nonsense.
I am 100% guilty of spending countless mornings looking into my overstuffed closet and complaining that somehow, there still isn’t enough to pull together an outfit. When this happens, I take so long to make a decision that I end up rushing out the door wearing something I threw on at the last minute – usually something that doesn’t communicate my personal style at all. This experience – leaving the apartment late and wearing a bland outfit – is not a good way to start your day. What if getting dressed could be easy? What if you always felt confident in your clothing, even when wearing something you just threw on? Continue reading