Starting with the picture of fashion as a glamorous world of colours and cuts, quality, design and creativity - it is nessecary to understand fashion as an highly complex product. Every item of clothing travels along a value chain. The question “Who made my clothes?” can not be answered with: “This person” or “that person”.
Reality is a little bit different. It is quite complicated. The Fair Wear Foundation made a pretty nice video, which explains the complexity of value chains in fashion productioan and the major problems.
Another very big problem is that most of us don't know. The lack of awareness causes a lack of value. When we see clothes, shoes, bags or what ever it might be, we don't see what value chain is behind it.
We see the shoes we buy as ONE single product. As if the shoes grow on a tree like apples. In fact one shoe is equal to a car with the same amount of different details in production. The Change your shoes AT campaign made a very cool video raising awareness
Karl Marx explains in his book “Capital”, that if you buy a product, you always see ONE product. It becomes very hard to sell a product in a way that each step of the value chain is recognized and appreciated. By “appreciated” Marx means the willingness to pay a price that is equal to the value.
Marx lives before mass productions and globalization. Today the market is consumer focused. Why? Because we basically don‘t NEED to buy. Making money today is about convincing the consumer to WANT to buy. Advertising for example changed from telling people how to behave to following peoples’ behavior. Advertising can't tell us anymore "buy that!". It is more orientated on the habits and the lifestyle of potential buyers.
Yet the power of advertising is big. If you look at any advertisement of a fashion brand, then you will see that they all have one thing in common: They all tell you when you buy, you will be happier/relaxed/cool... It is all about your feelings. Advertising connects with the life we live and the wishes and needs we have. Advertising supports the line of thougt that there is no problem that a product cannot solve.
We all know the expression Less Is More, but it seems living in the world of mass consumption it becomes impossible to prove that to ourselves. Advertising tells us constantly that we will be like these super beautiful happy models, having fun with their friends, wearing just the right outfit of that special brand.
But in fact we won‘t become happier by consuming. In fact advertising makes all of us poorer. We buy and buy and keep up this system of dependency: working and consuming. The only way out of this vicious circle is to rethink our values. Isn‘t there something in the world we cannot express in terms of money and a price, but in true value? Think about love, morals, your siprit, a smile, friendship and the feeling you get by helping someone else and the feeling of being thankful… What about these values? How do you measure them and give them a price? I would like to thank and reward the people who made my clothes in these later terms. By love, appreciation and a smile. But I can‘t express anything else than paying the price.
If there is a need, there will be a market. - Another old and easy economy law. So what about we decrease the need and focus on finding true value? The key of changing something in fashion at the moment is valueing the clothes we already have - it’s about how we use the choice we have.