We live in a super sized world, and now more than ever we need to be paying attention to what we are really spending our money on. Designer Carrie Parry wrote on The Guardian:
Today, garments generally stay on the racks fewer than 12 weeks before going on sale. Kai D, owner of the Kai D boutique, doesn’t understand why retailers bring in spring products in January, stocking shorts in February while it’s freezing outside. He believes that the result is products being marked down, because they look “old” by the time the weather changes.
Customers have become so accustomed to these markdowns that it’s creating a vicious cycle of overconsumption, paired with lower margins for both brands and retailers as they find themselves saddled with overstock and forced to discount slow-selling merchandise, often compromising the sales of the current season’s inventory too.
We have to accept that, not only is the fashion industry being affected by climate change, it is also a contributor to a multitude of sustainability issues. The seasonal calendar promotes a relentless drive for speed, waste and overconsumption, which now characterises the entire industry. We don’t need to look further than the suggestion by Wrap that an estimated £140m worth (around 350,000 tonnes) of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year, to realise that our production and overconsumption habits are in need of an overhaul.
By ditching the traditional seasonal calendar, brands can manage inventory more effectively to prevent waste, and better adapt to unpredictable weather and changes in consumer behaviour.
Of course we try to purchase our threads from sustainable companies, like Carrie Parry's—the author above—self-titled sustainable line, and other brands we have grown to love. But its going to take more than buying organic clothing when you can afford it. Parry says:
Ultimately, to make real, long-term, sustainable progress and design great clothes that people want, we need to slow down the pace of fashion. We no longer have to subscribe to an outdated calendar. We no longer need to produce the unwanted and we certainly no longer need to consume at our current rate. If designers and retailers take the lead to improve production habits, consumers will hopefully follow suit. Let’s not abandon the fashion calendar; let’s recreate it, together.
What are some of your favorite sustainable clothing companies? How do you feel about the trail of waste and overconsumption the traditional fashion industry can leave in it's wake.