Applying the brakes to fast fashion


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About a week ago, I posted the following comment on one of my Facebook groups, in response to an excellent question posed about this New York Times article: “Now that fashion is a thing… is it possible to make longevity and classic styling fashionable? I keep returning to “cradle to cradle” as the best thinking around on manufacturing…”

I’m posting my response here too because I think there are some ideas in it which might make good projects or businesses …


A multi-pronged approach might help:

  1. Sewing classes - teach people how to make, repair and adjust their own clothes. Potentials here for community-building and a much more attractive and interesting world to look at.

  2. Teach people about personal style (as opposed to fashion) so they’re hunting for what works for them personally rather than blindly accepting the ‘menu’ created by the fashion world.

  3. Build an online store focused on helping people find what works for them personally - creating a profile that filters to what fits them, suits them and is their personal style (rather than fashion) … to reduce wastage of physical materials as well as time and money. (This is a business I once intended to build myself but I have more pressing things to do now … however I still want it to exist so if anyone wants to start this up and pick my brain please contact me!)

  4. Improve curation of 2nd hand clothes on the web, preferably by making them available on the aforementioned online store with relevant dimensions (e.g. actual sizes, colours etc) included. Many people who buy fast fashion simply don’t want to spend the time it takes to browse through current 2nd hand offerings the way they exist today.

  5. Progressively internalising the true/externalised/hidden costs of items into their supply chain (e.g. fees on use of commons such as oil, water etc, to be distributed as dividends to beneficiaries of those commons). (This is what I’m working on now)

  6. Find a way to severely stunt (and preferably kill) the advertising industry … perhaps by forcing advertisers to pay people for their time and attention every time an ad is displayed to them. (This is tied up with ‘ownership’ of personal data so by no means an easy quest, but a world of no ‘push marketing’ is getting pretty close to my personal utopia :sunglasses: )

  7. Individualise clothing purchases with online ‘tailoring’. Choose a style (pattern) and material, have it mathematically adjusted to one’s actual measurements, preferably show a mock-up of what it would look like on self (think 3D modelling on a true-to-life-proportions avatar), and either get it tailored and shipped, or have the pattern and material sent to you to make it up yourself. (Another related business idea I’ve put to the side … this one mostly because I don’t have the requisite level of math skill or the funds to hire others who do.)

Yes I’ve been thinking about all this for a while now. I got myself certified as a colour analyst and image consultant a few years back :wink: