And Then There Was Light
From the time we are born, to the time we die, we are part of cultures and societies, which all have one undisputed thing in common... they and we reside on the same planet. Regardless of weather you as an individual choose to embrace or challenge the culture you were born into, no one person, can claim not to have been in some way affected or influenced by their birth culture and other cultures they may have come in contact with through their life.
As humans, our most developed sense is sight. Every culture is most vividly identified and defined by its costume, architecture, cuisine, language, and religion. Throughout history, it was most easy to identify where an individual was from by looking at their costume. Within a culture, costume identified where an individual fit into society.
For centuries, costume within a culture was separated into two subdivisions, utilitarian and fashion. Utilitarian comprised of clothing that mostly served a specific function, in addition to protecting from the elements. A monk needed something minimal and basic, a soldier needed armor and protection, a peasant needed clothing that was durable and unrestrictive so they could perform manual labor. Fashion, thought it too served the purpose of protecting against the elements, was mostly about social status and standing. It was reserved for the ruling classes, the aristocracy, the religious elite and the merchant class.
This remained unchanged for centuries until the Industrial Revolution and advances in science and technology that led to man made fibers during the 20th century. Historically, and to some extent even today, fashion is not taken seriously. Yet it is one of the biggest global industries, as it affects every person on the planet. With modern-day knowledge, research and growing awareness, fashion is finally starting to get the attention it deserves, though rarely positive these days. The textile and apparel industry is the worlds second largest polluter. A close second to the oil industry. In light of this information, the word and concept of sustainability has become a fixture in the world of fashion.
From my wide eyed, nature and animal loving, nine year old self, my college days at FIT, my early twenties in the industry pre 2008, to present day, my perspective of fashion and the industry has been reshaped countless times. With every new purchase I need, I strive and struggle to invest in clothing that is ethical, eco-friendly and sustainable. The more I looked and researched, the more questions I had. Sustainable, for some companies and brands, has become a mission, while for others a simple marketing ploy.
So began my odyssey to sustainable fashion. In the posts to follow, I've committed my OCD self to objectively, and with brutal honesty, chronicle my findings on the topic of sustainable and ethical fashion.