From L-R: Moderator Kate Sekules (ReFashioner), Elisa Goodkind (StyleLikeU), Julie Gilhart (Barney’s New York), and Simon Collins (Parsons)
No, but really! Last week a good friend, Kate Sekules, facilitated a panel discussion – “Let’s Kill Fashion!”at Neuehouse in Midtown. Kill fashion? Of course, it wasn’t really about killing fashion. With a panel comprised of Simon Collins (Parsons, Dean of Fashion), Julie Gilhart (Barney’s New York, buyer), and Elisa Goodkind (StyleLikeU), the night was more about how to change fashion consumption.
The main topic: fast fashion. Much like fast food, is an industry that creates a mass product cheaply in ethically compromising conditions. By now, I think that most people realize that their clothes from these mass retailers are made cheaply. However, they continue to buy them because they are, in fact, cheap. As personal stylists, we’ve seen many of our clients buying heaps of these items, only to discard them after a season of wear. How do we end this waste? The overall consensus of the panel was to shop smart!
The Audience at Neuehouse
As a rule of thumb – we tell our clients to buy classic items that will stand the test of time and fleeting trends. Invest in basics that will last season after season. If you’re going to go for a statement piece, purchase one from a label that will be worth reselling. Resale has become a huge part of our business and selling our clients’ clothing creates more money to put back into their closets. Why buy four tank tops for $20 that will fall apart in one season, when you can buy one quality item for the same price that will last you for four seasons? Just saying.
“Simply know where your items are coming from!” Julie Gilhart exclaimed. Living in New York I’ve had the opportunity to meet the designers and business owners that I buy my clothes from. Supporting local dealers is beneficial for the economy and doesn’t it feel good to actually know the person you’re buying from? And if you’re using your shallow wallet as an excuse, we say: Shop second hand.
Michael Calloway designer of VAMPS with Brandon
Vintage stores are everywhere, holding amazing treasures with a story that makes them even more unique. My favorite people in the city are vintage dealers. They always have the best personal style, and every piece in their archive has a story. Kate at reFashioner.com includes the history of every garment that she posts to sell. Elisa at StyleLikeU.com has videos of all of her muses talking about their personal relationships with their clothing. The only story that fast fashion clothing is going to tell will be of the sad sweatshop that it came from.
Unsafe garment factory in Bangladesh that killed 112 workers. photo: AM Ahad/AP
Easier said then done, I know, but just like America’s addiction to fast food, we need to sit back and think about our addiction to fast fashion. Shop responsibly.
I’d love to hear what you think in our comments below.