Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wednesday Words








“A generation of consumers has grown up wearing what is often referred to as ‘fast fashion’ — trendy, inexpensive versions of runway looks that shoppers wear for one season, or one occasion, and often toss,” Elizabeth Holmes wrote in The Wall Street Journal last year. “Now, many of these shoppers are graduating to a philosophy of quality not quantity.”

22 comments:

  1. My teen-aged daughter has been to a couple of birthday parties where, instead of goodie bags, the girls were given mall gift cards and went shopping. She has come home with clothes I would never buy her.

    Complete FF outfits are cheap enough for party favors. Mind blowing to me.

    My teen can tell the difference. She observed the thinness of FF tops and how quickly they rip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We sewists are fortunate in that we can teach our children, or others, what quality fabric and construction is. Kudos to your daughter.

      Delete
  2. I sure hope this is true. It will be an education, though, to pull off, as a generation has come along that only knows fast fashion. Have you seen evidence of this?

    ReplyDelete
  3. You decide to dispense with disposable fashion. And then what?

    The problem is that better clothes are stratospherically expensive. You can wear fewer things, but you need a certain minimum number of garments else you'll wear everything out in a season or two. As the documentary Schmatta explained, the quality, mid-range manufacturer is gone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is why we sew, Reader. Not because it is cheaper than fast fashion because it isn't, but because we can have access to affordable, unique clothing for a fraction of couture. :)

      Delete
    2. You took the words right out of my mouth, Mrs. C. . I do have to say we could learn a lot from our Canadian neighbors in Quebec province. If you've ever been there you know the population is VERY well dressed and that is not just something the affluent practice. There is a high value put on quality clothing, and less of it. They are very discerning in their purchases, buying less than we do, and yet look ever so stylish. There is a lesson to be learned there. I live close to this environment and the difference in the sophistication as you cross the border is stunning. We need to wean ourselves from the instant gratification of fast fashion and buy less often but better quality. That may require seeking out better retailers but its out there.

      Delete
    3. Just want to underline that we sew and can make this happen. And as the next poster says, we can always thrift. I can't tell you how many Pendleton wools and cashmere coats I've seen at the resale shops. (google wouldn't let me edit my post and add this. )

      Delete
  4. As the mother of a growing teen, I have a few tips on how to dress her minimal reliance on fast fashion.

    First, we go through her wardrobe periodically and assess what she needs and what she wants the cake and frosting.

    I work FT (and in another state, commuting back and forth), so we shop thrift first. If I can buy it and only invest minimal time and money, that is great.

    See my refashioning tips:
    http://badmomgoodmom.blogspot.com/search/label/Wardrobe%20Refashion

    Then, we assess what I can reasonably sew for her given my limited time. We rely on TNT patterns and knits, which she prefers to wear for comfort anyway.

    Things that are too difficult or time consuming, and not available used, we purchase. A coat from one of the remaining mid-price or upscale retailers doesn't break the bank when we look at the overall clothing budget.

    We buy good shoes. We all agree on that.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am appalled at the thinnest of clothing these days. Old Navy, Forever 21, and H&M have horrible clothing---I'm afraid to wash it. But that's what the new generation likes. I find better quality clothing in Walmart sometimes. I have a few twin sets from Walmart that are at least 6 years old and still holding up pretty well for work!

    I; however, won't sew anything but special occasion clothing for my granddaughters. They change there fashion styles too much for me to invest the time to make their everyday clothing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Styles change and some (young and older) go after quantity over quality. My daughter purchased a (China made) winter coat online to which I blurted out 'it looks cheap and won't wear well'. It was horrible. I don't have time to make her a coat but I did offer to take her shopping. We must teach them how to recognize and choose quality.

    ReplyDelete
  7. We can only hope. I keep saying that a big part of the problem is that subjects like home ec have been taken out of the schools. Those of us who learned to sew and took sewing classes learned to appreciate well made clothes at an early age.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Home Ec taught me not only to recognize quality, but to understand why I need to pay for it. That's the Ec part.

      Delete
  8. One of the other problems I have observed is people not knowing how to properly take care of their clothing. I have dresses I have made - and wear at least every two weeks - that have lasted 7 years because they have been washed appropriately, ironed if needed, and hung on good wooden hangers with padding so they don't slip off and fall on the closet floor. I have also made dust covers for winter coats and use them even when it would be more inconvenient to just hang on a hook. If you take care of even cheaper clothing properly, they will last longer. If it needs dry cleaning, either forget the garment or pay for the dry cleaning - it is worth every penny! But I can't blame lack of home ec in schools because I never learned either the sewing or the garment care in home ec, didn't learn cooking there either!! Reading old sewing books, particularly those by Mary Brooks Picken in the 20s, inspired me to not only try to make myself look more pleasant but also my home right down to the closets. So much information and it is all GOLD! I don't care how much women laugh at "put on a clean dress, comb your hair and freshen your lipstick" before you start to sew. How we dress affects our behavior and attitude not only toward ourselves but also toward others. Just imagine being able to make a milk run in nice fitting slacks and blouse/shirt/sweater with pretty shoes and NOT in pajama pants or sweat pants and a grubby shirt with your flip flops or slippers. That's what I usually see and I find it embarrassing. Holes in your pants, pants so low underwear is showing, cleavage that shows everything show a lack of self esteem in my opinion.
    Thank you for allowing that sound off!!
    RSmith

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Any time! Comments kindly said are always welcome.

      Delete
  9. I can't agree more with you about the current trend towards disposable clothing. I'm currently in Europe and am disappointed with the appearance of Zara, H&M and similar shops on the main shopping streets. The shops are HUGE and seem to attract vast numbers of shoppers. I sew virtually everything I wear. It's not cheaper since I love good fabric but the stuff is much better quality and I still wear things 15 or more years old. I also seem to survive on less clothing since each piece is well thought out to coordinate with my existing wardrobe. Thanks for increasing our awareness of the current fast fashion trend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This trend has been in the US for quite some time. I am sad to think of hitting your shores as well. You philosophy is the same as my Canadian neighbors. Buy less but buy quality. It pays in the end. It may interest you to read the blog "Passage des Perles" written by a woman in Montreal who expresses that philosophy beautifully.

      Delete
  10. My teen daughter thrifts and loves the knit dresses and raglan tees I make her. We've talked about the quality aspect of the fast fashion stores and I don't think we have been in a F21 or H&M in years. Even before I learned to sew I made sure she knew the clothes there weren't worth it.

    My son on the other hand...he's a consumer. But he tends to favor Nike and Ralph Lauren. while that does mean fewer items at higher costs, I have been impressed with how well some of his things wear. But he ALWAYS wants new things! :) luckily he has a job now!

    I really love Target. They do rotate rather quickly but I have items from there that I've worn for years!! Old Navy has dropped dramatically in quality. I don't even waste my time anymore. I have a few tees from there that are 7+ years old. They still look good. Newer items (purchased say 2013-2014) have already pilled, gotten random holes in them, or just plain look bad.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I can't shop the FF stores any longer. With H&M, their first maybe 2 years had pretty decent quality clothing that lasted me a while, and then it just went downhill. Same with Old Navy. Always disliked F21. Even Target now is going the cheap way.

    There's also a good documentary on Netflix right now called The True Cost, which is exactly about this FF consumerism and the impact it's having on us, our lives, others, and the environment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for letting us know about the Netflix documentary.

      Delete
  12. It might just be age, but now the sheer volume of merchandise and styles in a typical F21 is overwhelming and makes me uncomfortable. When I see the entire room dedicated to clearance merch, I just want to flee. I wonder if a generation that's grown up with fast fashion will also just naturally age out of it to a large degree.

    One thing that fast fashion does is let younger people experiment with a huge range of styles and fashion personas. I can see semi-disposable clothing being almost a benefit at that age. (Not feeling like a preppy/punk/diva anymore? Good, because all your preppy/punk/diva clothes fell apart anyway!) Once we settle into a style, there's a lot more appeal in quality items.

    Interesting article, and I think the underlying assumption is right that there's a market to be served in quality minimalism with sexier/more modern branding. (Or, you know, just sew all your own stuff and bypass all the issues of questionable labor and profit margins.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, in a way I agree that it lets the younger ones experiment, but at the same time they should learn the value of things, both monetarily and environmentally.

      True, but then you have to think about where your fabric is sourced, do you want organic cotton v. non-organic, do you want to use vintage fabrics (from thrift/refashion/garage sales), or do you want brand new fabric. And so much fabric is wasted daily anyways.

      Delete

Engaging commentary: