52 Seasons of Fashion – by Gabby Fringette
Did you know that there’s supposedly fifty two seasons of fashion nowadays? You read that right. The fashion industry want us to buy new clothes every week to keep up with these ‘seasons’. It’s pretty freaking stupid. There used to be four seasons of fashion, roughly coinciding with winter, spring, summer, and fall, which makes a lot more sense. Winter, you wanted your fashion to be a little practical, warm sweaters, bright jackets. Spring you could loosen up a little, clothes could be thinner and cover a little less. It’s hot now during summer, the clothes can shrink down and be really light, and during fall you bring light sweaters and earthy tones back in. It made sense. And it was a whole lot less wasteful.
Another change is the durability. Clothes would last a long time if you took care of them. And the fashion didn’t change that much, you could keep the clothes and wear them and still not look out of style. But today, they are actually designed to fall apart after a few wears. This is called planned obsolescence. The cute brand-name blouse you splurged on was designed to fall apart quickly.
Why would they do this? It’s simple, of course. To make you spend more. To make you think you need to buy new clothes every week. I’m talking the big boys here, the major players in the fashion industry. Pretty much, the days of quality assurance when you spent the extra on a big name label are gone. The cheaply made clothes and week long fashion seasons are designed to make you, the consumer, spend more, consume more, give them more money. One consequence of this is horrible waste. Another is the maltreatment of people in the industry.
Let’s start with the designing phase. The people in charge don’t design anymore. In the past, the brand may have been built off of one great designer, sold primarily their designs, but not anymore! They use countless designers, and before they even hire them, most companies will order a massive range of samples in a very small amount of time. This is before they even hire the designer. They may keep the designs and not hire the designer.
Then we get to the assembly line. Some brands still do pridefully make their clothes or shoes in Italy or in the U.S., but most go to China or Taiwan. The factories are dangerous, and mostly employ girls and young women. They work horrible hours for little pay, and though sewing may sound pretty safe, it isn’t. There are actually a lot of chemicals put into the fabric. Some are fire retardants. Others are to make sure the shirt lasts for its whole shelf life. Yes, they have a shelf life.
Then, these chemical soaked, poorly made clothes, are sent to stores, where you, the consumer, will pay a lot of money, and if you think I’m kidding, listen to these prices I pulled directly from Glamour magazine’s August edition. Tory Sport sweater: $228. ATM tank top: $98. You see where I’m going here? You might pay a stupid amount of money to bring home a flimsy, chemical soaked shirt. Then it quickly goes out of fashion, or even falls apart, and it ends up in the garbage.
We know we live in a consumption driven society, it’s just incredibly sad and pathetic to look at the cycle, and the effects. It may seem like you’re throwing away a shirt, but think about all of the carbon, and all of the chemicals it took to make the materials for the shirt, transport them, to make the shirt, to transport it from Asia to wherever you bought it from, and then to transport it to you.