November 07, 2016

Is the fashion industry broken?

When you think about the fashion industry, you imagine glamour, beautiful garments and that model lifestyle. Today I want to talk about that same industry and discuss whether it is actually corrupt.

I recently watched the documentary 'The Illusionists', which focuses on the globalisation of beauty ideals. The documentary is an expose on the everyday marketing in the fashion and beauty industry. It comes to the conclusion that the whole industry is constructed on self hatred. We have the skin bleaching in the east, tanning in the west, everything is built targeting our insecurities. But don't worry, there are products for that. Don't get me wrong, I definitely still get consumed by all of this. I started to use pore minimising products recently because Youtubers say that they're vital to a flawless complexion. But what even are pores? Why can they not be visible? Without sounding too harsh, we all get caught up in it, there's no way of avoiding it. You just have to keep in mind that someone has constructed these images and there's always an agenda.

Why do we let all of this influence us then? Well us humans, we're easily persuaded. With magazines giving us perceptions of beauty everyday, you start to compare yourself to them. Why can't I look like that? In some way its kind of aspirational, but is that really what we should be aspiring to? On a positive note, Vogue's November 2016 issue doesn't feature any models. It's filled with inspiring business women and their stories. It doesn't fix everything but there's definitely a trend of self love within the consumers and the media have to join the wagon or they'll be left behind.

With the high demand of products from the consumers, more needs to be made quicker. In the end, we always want something and we want it NOW. This brings me to fast fashion. In the past, we'd get the designers doing their two collections a year and we'd be sorted. Now with the increasing amount of fast product, it seems like there are around 50 collections a year. You can understand this though. Think of your favourite shop, Primark, Topshop, H&M? How often do you visit them? Do you really want to see the same thing every time you go in? No, you want to see these lovely shelves stocked up with brand new goodies. But what does that mean for the industry? It means that factories are forced to produce more, faster. On Netflix, The True Cost, talks about the consequences of fast fashion and how it effects everyone within it. Women working in factories get paid around $2 a day and are subject to abuse on a day to day basis. One of the most recent tragedies related to fast fashion is the Rana Plaza incident in 2013. Due to poor working conditions, the building collapsed with over a thousand people inside. When you think about disasters like this, the general perception is that they just don't occur anymore because we're being more ethical people now. But are we?

So how can we be ethical consumers? In the end, it's all about the price tags and what's the cheapest option. You will get the occasional feeling of guilt, so you might buy something sustainable, but can we commit to a more sustainable life? In my opinion it all comes down to convenience. We like doing our shopping near us because it's easily accessible. Consumers are pretty lazy. We don't want to have to look up which brands are ethical and if we can purchase that bag from themjust in case they don't pay their factory workers enough. Mind you, there's been an increasing trend of consumers being willing to chose more ethical brands. Many people admitted that they would chose more ethical brands if they knew that they were ethical and their products were cheaper. So to round that all up, as consumers we can be more ethical by being more conscious and active in the purchases we make. Do I really need that £2 top? Am I going to wear it at all? If I am, should I buy one that has been made ethically?

Is the industry broken then? Definitely. Do we notice that? No. There are many flaws in this industry from the image that the media constructs of beauty to the increasing trend of fast fashion. But most of the typical consumers avoid
 all that. There is an issue with the industry but there is also an issue with the consumer. We should be more active and conscious in our purchases; o
nly then we will bring attention to the flaws within the industry.


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