Buy Less, Choose Well, Make it Last
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Considering the past 20 years, you'd be hard pushed to find anyone who hasn't been seduced by the fast-fashion lines churned out of the high street. Big brands such as H&M and Primark have repeatedly slashed prices whilst simultaneously providing pseudo-stylish garments to the ever hungry consumer. On the surface at least, it seems like a win/win situation for anyone who wants to look good on a budget. However, as recently highlighted in a Guardian interview with British designer Vivienne Westwood, this practice is proving increasingly unsustainable and ever more destructive. The activist/fashion guru stated in no uncertain terms that late model capitalism is in fact "the enemy” and that "clothes should cost and awful lot more than they do” - suggesting that cheaper products actually offer less value for money. Incendiary stuff it seems, particularly for someone who has made millions from her own creations. However, it's difficult to deny the impact such unbridled consumerism is having, not just in our landfills as poor quality clothes are discarded, but around the world.
The Student DilemmaRecently, a spate of fashion industry related scandals; that include the Rana factory collapse and the Primark labelgate incident have made the news; and cheap, often exploitative labour is one such way that manufacturing costs are kept down. For the activists amongst you, this might be enough to boycott the identikit fashions of the major players, however, another question weighs heavy on the average student's shoulders. And that question, as ever, is to do with cost. The larger initial outlay associated with clothes manufactured in places like Europe is something of an issue for those on a budget. Garments like those found at Peter Hahn may seem prohibitively expensive at first glance, however, in-line with Westwood's mantra you will find that in most cases, the extra cost is outweighed by the increased longevity – not to mention a more refined and sartorial look. Put simply, it seems that an change of attitude is in order - "Buy Less, choose well, make it last”. This philosophy has the capacity to change much of our world for the better – reducing waste and worker exploitation whilst also keeping you in fantastic looking threads, not just for the year but for many years to come. A TRUE win/win situation.
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