As you very well know by now, the mission behind our brand is to keep production to a minimum, which is why we only produce our products once you have placed your order.
Sure, the process is slightly slower than it would be if you ordered your product from a fast-fashion brand, but the environmental perks hiding behind a little bit of patience are priceless.
But why did we decide to tackle this issue in particular?
Overconsumption & overproduction are amongst the biggest issues in fashion today and whilst the answers are fundamentally simple (brands producing less and consumers buying less), the actual implementation is really challenging!
This week, we’ve decided to talk about the factors to consider in order to tackle what is really driving overconsumption and overproduction.
#1 Investors’ Demand
It’s not just consumer demand, but shareholders’' demand too.
Most companies face pressure to grow their revenue and profits every single year from their investors and shareholders. In order to do this, fashion brands need to be selling more.
Around 30% of clothing produced worldwide isn’t ever even sold, which means that reduction in consumer demand won’t necessarily solve this 30% being an issue. What happens to it? Does it go straight to the landfill? Or is it sent to Africa ruining their own textile market? Or Asia and burned?
We need to consider the role played by brands as well as consumers.
#3 New Drops and Collections
The fast fashion brands today don’t just release new collections for every new season, but every week and in some instances, every day such as fast-fashion giant Shein, who has been subject to quite a few scandals in the past year and yet manages to upkeep its global success.
This encourages people to shop more often, just out of the FOMO and not because they actually need the products. By working with influencers, their audience automatically doesn’t want to miss out on any latest ‘trend’.
#4 Overconsumption Culture
We all play a role in the overconsumption culture, but influencers, creators and celebrities certainly play a bigger role.
The truth is, that if everyone watched their favourite actress or influencer shop second-hand or wearing the same outfit more than once, it would normalise doing the same. Instead, shopping hauls are normalised. In the past year, we’ve already seen the tv show Love Island partnering with eBay in order to promote second-hand fashion on the
show, but we’d need more collaborations like that in order to normalise it. While we may have all caused this culture, we can also help shift it!
Also shopping is addictive, and releases chemicals into the brain similar to a drug high. University of Michigan Ross School of Business assistant marketing professor Scott Rick and his team found evidence of pleasure and activation in regions that are targeted by dopamine in the shoppers’ brains, and the similar brain region that underlies the craving for drugs.
#5 The Trends Cycles
The rate at which we’re seeing trends cycle through is speeding up exponentially. This makes the consumer feel pressured to buy more and faster in order to keep up with the zeitgeist. This especially impacts young people, who’s only interest is to fit in with their peers. Many high end companies have now slowed down the amount of collections they produce back to the four collections per year (one for every season). However, fast fashion has increased its production and style offer, also because of the increase in brand influencers promoting ‘shopping hauls’ and trend dressing.
#6 Lower Quality
The quality of material and trims used in the manufacture of cheap clothing has been declining over the years due to greedy corporations wanting to make even more profits, plus labour costs have been reduced so much that only a handful of companies offer and can prove paying living wages to their garment workers. The decline of making standards also contributes to the problem. Which in effect means that they need to be replaced more often, some fast fashion companies clothing only lasts for a couple of washes, it's not even of a quality that can be then resold as second hand due to the inferior standards.
So not only this overproduction and overconsumption’s aspect needs to be addressed, but we should also make our part in normalising mending and altering culture.
#7 Consumers Lifestyles
It’s not just the brands’ fault, but consumers play an important role in overconsumption too.
The socially and environmentally exploitative brands couldn’t survive if no one was buying from them, so the goal here is to be aware of the importance of conscious consumer behaviour and adopt it, as well as preach it.
The number of clothes the average consumer purchases has increased 60% between 2000 and 2014 and the clothes are kept about only half as long. The rapid growth of the fashion industry can be traced to the advent of cheap clothing made from inexpensive synthetic materials derived from fossil fuels. Excessive production, poor quality textiles, low rates of use, reuse, and repair as well as limited recycling mechanisms have turned the fashion industry into an environmentally and socially problematic industry.
Help us tackle the issue by staying informed and embracing a conscious consumer behaviour as even if iIt is more expensive, these garments are investment pieces (and we really don’t need that many pieces to build a capsule wardrobe).
Cherchez La Femme team X
[Featured Image by Hong Nguyen on Unsplash
Image 1: by Karina Tess on Unsplash
Image 2: by Heidi Fin on Unsplash
Information sourced on fashionrevolution.org and consciouslifeandstyle.com]