Where to next? [fashion, Part Two]

Trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort released an Anti_Fashion Manifesto in 2015.  Edelkoort states “It’s the end of fashion as we know it” and criticises fashion schools and design houses as being stuck in a 20th century model that’s no longer relevant.   Her interest is now in clothes, not fashion, as she believes fashion has set itself outside of society.

According to Edelkoort, clothing is now about “exchange and the new economy and working together in teams and groups.”  Whereas fashion is controlled by marketing and greed, so there is no innovation.  As for textiles, Edelkoort says people don’t know anything anymore about textiles and clothing is made in countries where people get killed.*  She tackles six areas of design, education and production in the manifesto.

The problem with fashion as we know it is the same as any other industry.  A business is expected to grow into a company, list on the stock exchange, to be controlled by Directors who are only interested in delivering profits to shareholders and feathering their own nest.  That’s enough to suck the passion and creativity out of anything.

I started losing interest in fashion a few years ago, when the fashion houses treated designers as disposable, and any designer could head any house.  The fashion house held onto its core “look” and the designer became an interpreter of that look for today, which is a path to nowhere as it depends on copying what others are doing instead of the art of fashion.

The beauty of fashion has always been innovation and invention.  Art has to be at the core of any design industry to move it along to the next era.  The problem with art is that it is experimental, fails a lot, and takes time.  Pushing today’s business models onto art is a recipe for failure.  In fact, I think business models today are a recipe for failure full stop.

I just read a report into ‘productivity’ for a company that is intending to cut jobs in that sector.   How to they propose to do it?  100 pages saying outsource to contractors who don’t have to pay overtime, sick leave, holiday pay, work cover, or any other costs, because that all falls to the sub-contractor who end up on below minimum wage after costs, working punishing hours with no unions.

That, my friend, is the new productivity and how we are running our economy, back to third world wages and working conditions while companies pretend they are making great progress.  And we wonder why fashion has collapsed as we know it.

Famine, the end of the World and an Action Plan

The United Nations said 20,000,000 people from four countries in Africa are at risk of starvation if $4.4 billion of aid effort doesn’t reach them by the end of July.  This is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis since the UN was formed in 1945.

Four Corners on ABC TV last Monday night, examined the effects of climate change on global instability, including the current war in Syria as a result of drought and famine.  Also, the mass migration of people due to rising sea levels and the lack of usable agricultural land.

At risk of sounding alarmist, though I don’t know how we can’t view current news as alarming, the website Arctic News, warns of a mass extinction of species, including our own, within one decade if we don’t act fast.  The warming of the Arctic (and Antarctic) results in a rapidly compounding chain of events that accelerates global warming dramatically.

The editor, Sam Carana, presents a Climate Action Plan that is flexible enough to be adopted by any country around the world.  The plan recommends feebates, rather than a carbon tax;

“i.e. combinations of fees and rebates.  In each case, a local feebate will facilitate the transition from specific polluting products to clean alternatives, by imposing fees on sales of the polluting products as a percentage of the price, while each time using the revenues exclusively to fund rebates on products that are both sold locally and constitute clean alternatives to the polluting products.”

Donate to the African Famine Appeal through Red Cross