Fashion-tech & Migrating to the Responsible Economy By Julian Holtzman
Clothing is a basic human need that comes in many forms. From high-end couture fashion to everyday streetwear, patterned or plaid, clothes are everywhere! Think about it. If every person in the world had a single pair of socks, that would be over fifteen billion socks. But that’s just socks. What about T shirts? Pants? Dresses?... Unmentionables? Billions perhaps trillions of clothes. All over the world. Anywhere there is a person, there are clothes. Clothes help people express themselves, participate in sports, and go to weddings. Certainly we love the feeling of rocking stylish fresh looks, but we can’t ignore the impacts the fashion industry is having on the planet.
Across many major industries we are seeing a shift toward more responsible, lower impact, healthier products. Tesla is bringing us rechargeable cars, McDonalds and Subway are using chicken without antibiotics, and 5 Hour Energy is turning seawater into clean drinkable water to solve the water issue in California. As more businesses take these steps, no matter how big or small, it is undoubtedly moving us toward a more “responsible economy”. But the world of clothing and fashion has long relied on low quality fabrics, questionable labor practices and petroleum based chemicals to lower production costs and increase output. Only now is sustainable, responsible development making its way into the fashion world, revealing a new sector of technology called “fashion-tech”.
A New Frontier in Fashion
Innovating the fashion industry is an amoebic concept. Meaning that innovation in this industry can take many shapes and manifest in many different forms. Some technological advancements are taking form in the development of smart textiles. Making it easier to produce connected products. Another form is sourcing renewable materials, like castor beans and bamboo for creating biodegradable, flexible, breathable fabrics. Some really innovative companies are taking recycled plastics from the ocean to create lightweight, breathable fabrics.
As the fashion-tech industry migrates towards the responsible economy we inch ever closer to an energy efficient future. Cleaner manufacturing practices lower carbon emissions, reduce waste and chemicals from landfills, and ensure fair labor practices. Making simple changes in the fashion industry has the power to make meaningful impact on the environment once you consider the scale of the impact -- remember the sock example? We already starting to see this phenomenon taking place. Across Europe buying eco-certified goods is no longer a trend, it is requested and demanded by people purchasing new clothes.
As the world continues to shift to the responsible economy you might find yourself wondering what you can do. Here are a few simple things to keep in mind.
Looking to gain style points? Invest in well-made clothes made of smart, low impact, bio-degradable fabrics. They make you look better, keep their shape and color, and give you better value for your money. Accessorize for new and fashionable looks by sporting the latest technologies in fashion. Remember, you can only wear one pair of pants at a time. Get something that is beautiful, fits well, and is responsible for the economy and planet.
Support Local, Ethical, Smart Development
Support your local fabric store, tailors, and designers. Be unique. Be a trend setter. You can get high-quality tailor-made clothes at or near the same cost as top brand clothes. Get exactly what you want. Don’t’ settle for something made in bulk – do you really want to be walking down the street or go to a party and see someone else wearing exactly what you are wearing? Plus, you don’t have to feel guilty, the next time you hear how clothes for a big box, chain stores were made by 11 year old children sitting in poorly lit buildings, working for long hours, earning pennies for each article of clothing they sew. If designers and tailors are few and far between in your area, brands like Patagonia, Rebecca Minkoff and Reformation are at the front of the fight. Taking strides towards the responsible economy for the fashion-tech industry.
Stand out in Style
“Style is not about wearing classy brands, its about being consistent in your look” says French designer Sylvanie Meignie. “Your style should be a representation of you and what you stand for.” Begin with a color. Incorporate accessories and continually update your wardrobe accordingly within the parameters of the style you want. Having style is not difficult nor expensive. It just requires you to focus on what you like, what looks good on you, what makes you feel confident.
Whether protecting yourself from the extreme Wisconsin winter or strutting the runways in Paris, clothing and fashion have many functions that aren’t going to change, anytime soon.
· Look Good – Being stylish doesn’t mean spending tons of money. It means being consistent.
· Feel Good – Embrace the Responsible Economy. Invest in innovative, low impact clothes
· Promote Good – Be the change you want to see by sharing the story behind your new style.
Stay tuned to the Fashion-tech world as it continues transition to the responsible economy through investing in innovation and technology.