It's difficult to cut through the discordant noise of the fashion industry and to go beyond the obsession with possession and commercial barrage of campaigns, targeted advertising, editorials and hashtag #ads. Beside that cacophonous linear climb toward overconsumption and beyond the status stampede, are the young, emerging designers rooted in a design philosophy that strives towards making a difference - whatever that may look like. It's always baffled me that, especially within the region, these designers' capabilities have too often been minimised. Clients visit the ateliers clutching the screenshot of Balenciaga's latest runway collection requesting it be made in black. With a slightly higher hemline. Cinched at the back. Often young and sometimes struggling; designers oblige. And I can't blame them. In a notoriously competitive industry, somebody has to pay the bills to make the collection that pays the bills.
After years of developing close friendships with these young designers it is my observation that they undoubtedly possess the vision and ability to challenge the status quo. They simply lack the platform to do so to their full potential- even in the Instagram era. They provide enough of a bare slate to bravely contest the system - the way only the youth can - with enough fervour and alacrity to actually implement change. What does this mean for us? A chance to deviate from the stagnant paradigms of what it means to love and enjoy fashion. Even a chance escape the homogeneity and ubiquity of the monolithic corporate fast fashion offerings that empty our pockets and load up landfill.
So what are our options? Despite the admirable efforts and initiatives by those advocating sustainable product, it has yet to find a permanent home in our closets or a place at the top of our shopping lists. I'm constantly reading about the topic and still there's so much I have to learn. I still have those moments during conversations with my better informed friends where I'm left feeling completely out of the loop.
Sustainability is more of a thoroughfare than a set destination. Can we ever achieve 100% sustainability within fashion? It's not impracticable but we have a long way to go. Is it ever going to be possible to turn the likes of Inditex 'ethical'? Or can we only expect an asymptote where we work towards but never quite reach ethical fashion?