Ethics and Glamour - Can Fashion Change the World?

I admit it, I fell in love at a very young age.  Deeply in love.   It was the day of my third birthday party.  I'll never forget that hot summer day as I sat there on the floor opening presents.  I looked up and saw this beautiful, ethereal image.  This beautiful woman walked out of the bedroom, this woman whom I called mom, was wearing this amazing burgundy silk dress.  Timeless in it's simplicity, long and narrow with very fragile spaghetti straps that wrapped themselves over her fair skinned shoulders.  Her boyish short haircut added to the allure.  As she walked passed me, so innocent to the fact that she had just changed my life for ever, I couldn't help but stare at how the dress accentuated even the length of her neck.  The sound of children my age running around giggling, music playing, parents talking nonsense....all....faded..... and stopped the very moment I saw her.  It was love, true love, at first sight.   That was the moment that I decided the whole outcome of my life.  I decided at the ripe age of three years old that someday I would be involved in Fashion.  Oh dear.....

As an adult, I have encountered many challenges as many of us chasing after a dream do.  The thought of giving up, although it has crossed my mind, was never really an option.   Even in the midst of the deepest of all adversity.  The one thing that has been eating at me since I was a teenager, the one and biggest of all doubts that dwell inside me, that question that has almost stopped me from doing what I love, the one question asked by my conscience and the true rebel in me:  Can fashion be humanitarian?  


This question has been playing in my mind like a broken record for decades.  Can fashion go hand in hand with ethics?  For years when asked out loud the the response was a chuckle, a blank stare, or a very simple silence.  The struggle within me remained. Always carrying that doubt, "Am I part of  the problem?", these are hard questions to ask one self when putting your whole heart and soul into a passion.  Through the years I have celebrated the fact that I have not only survived in this great city doing what I do, but also thrived, yet at the same time I have recented myself for loving something that I know is killing the one thing that gives us life.  Our home, Earth.


Today, times are different.  Yes, I am a fashion stylist working with all kinds of companies that are not all eco minded, yet.  But I know something different now. I know that times have changed.  There are many designers whom are moving towards a more ethical route.  The evolution of man whether physical or spiritual is not at a standstill.  There are ethical options available, growing and brewing.  From dreamers to start ups to big time designers and fashion industry leaders.  The platform of ethical minded fashionistas is solidifying, and this my dear readers, is extremely exciting.  


Fashion encompasses so many levels of resources, from agriculture to communication.  In the U.S. alone in 2013 the value of sales was $361 billion at retail value.  With that much money at stake, how will the fashion industry's most profit minded individuals handle the change required to make production ethical?  The answer is:  Not how but that they must, at any and all stakes.  The numbers that show where we stand today in fashion production are staggering.  To give you a better idea: 1.5 million tons of unwanted textile are thrown away each year due to dying the wrong color.  A single mill in China can use 200 tons of water for every ton of fabric it dyes.  By the time this water runs out into the rivers it is contaminated with the seasons colors, hence contaminating soil and wild life.  When producing 80,000,000,000 (thats 80 billion!) of garments a year, the level of contamination and misery are rampant, and I will leave it up to you to just imagine the loss of humanity caused by our very own actions and desires.  


Activists such as Livia Firth, Vivienne Westwood, Eileen Fisher to name a few, are in on the movement.  Vivienne Westwood is not only a part of the ethical movement for fashion but also for the world.  Her webpage, as well as,  does not only speak of the human condition found on so many parts of the world, but it also emphasizes on the heroic efforts of whistleblowers across all borders, many of which have given up their rights, their comforts, their lives in order to warn us, help us, teach us of the things that are being done against humanity in hopes that we listen and take action.  Vivienne put it so wisely when she spoke on the subject by stating that "the financial system is designed to create poverty".  I couldn't agree more.  So here it is, what do we do.  Do we shop local for not only fruits and vegetables but also for fashion?  Do we scale back on our purchases?  Do we research and make more conscience decisions as to where our product comes from every single time we are to make a purchase?  This will prove to be inconvenient for many, but if done, it will be a a social movement, a timeless fashion statement.  It will prove that we have the power as consumers to demand what we want.  It will show the 1% that we will not take it anymore, we will not allow them to force on us what isn't right, and like Vivienne Westwood put it, it would be a "Glamour Revolution".  We have the power to be ethical, to love one another, to help each other, all the while helping maintain our environment, and still look beautiful if not more so.  Can ethics and glamour go hand in hand?  Yes, it can, fashion is power, and the movement has begun.



"If only people bought beautiful things, that's not consumption, it'd be a glamour revolution, the world would be completely different if people didn't buy rubbish and eat rubbish" - Vivienne Westwood