JFK stood before the global media, telling them that the U.S. was about to change the world, he was sending men to the moon. This month the U.S. once again took steps for a moon landing, but the challenge before us to change the world isn’t breaking the Karman line, the challenge is to not waste this window we find ourselves in.
Covid-19 shut down the planet, it created a breathing space to reflect on many things including the next steps in the battle against fast fashion, against the culture of consumerism in many places that was wreaking havoc on others through the factory system and environmental disaster. A debate had sprung forth, cities were being brought to a halt by protest, voices for change were not just being heard in the corridors of power, they were being invited there to speak.
Then that day came when the real test of our reflection, and time in exile from in person consumerism arrived and passed, this week the queues were long, the bags were full and the sales were ripe for the picking, the message had been lost in the manifest disaster that has consumed our world recently.
But that’s fashion isn’t it, for example nearly a decade ago now I was writing about the absolute lack of inclusion and diversity in the industry, how magazines and runways don’t reflect the make up of the world around us, and yet here we are debating issues that still need resolution despite being blindly bloody obvious. I do have plenty of thoughts about that still, but the world doesn’t need more opinions of a white (nearly) middle aged man, we’ve had quite enough of those already. That said, go and read, learn and engage about BLM, and from a fashion perspective teach yourself about the inherent racism and sexism of the global fashion system. It’s your responsibility to educate yourself, social media slogans are NOT enough, change MUST come from within.
Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.Rumi
Anyway, back to this weeks letter to you all.
We have a choice, we can’t say companies are bad while not changing our own actions, we can’t talk about the destruction of the planet, the workers living in poverty, the children with no future if we ourselves carry on fuelling the system we claim to want ended.
That is a harsh reality, petitions, demonstrations etc are all well and good but commerce is commerce and as long as there is a demand, there will be a supply. The anoraks among us who read the business press will have seen many companies talking of record profits while they have had closed stores, how they are selling more than ever, and that is a choice. The models of buy now pay later (We’ll come back to those another day, I have a LOT to say about them) could only exist in a system of huge turnover.
How many items have you bought you didn’t need, how many of you have thought of hitting the High Street as “something to do” after the period of isolation and ennui? Those brightly lit shop fronts, the best of the collections luring us in like a string of sausages in a butchers window gets the attention of our canine chums, the system is designed to part us from our cash for a bit of a rush, billionaires have built their garment empires on knowing it’s 3 card monte in threads, a quick rush of excitement then realising you wish you hadn’t spent the cash.
Even I, the bombastic moralising (but very flawed and often a hypocrite to my own words) writer of all the above gets lured towards it, only last night I was looking at a pair of pyjamas that looked like an Apollo Space Suit, and now we’ve come full circle to space travel again I’ll make my own promise, I’ll try not to land at a checkout with a bag full of the unneeded.