Critical Analysis of:
‘The Importance of Sustainability in the Fashion Industry’
The following is a critical analysis of the article named, ‘The Importance of Sustainability in the Fashion Industry’, written by Melissa Williams in ‘The Diary of a Jewellery Lover’ (December 2017). The article argument, which I have chosen to analyse, only has two pages of text and so I have therefore decided not to include a page reference. I have chosen this article because of the public’s increasing awareness of how we need to work together in partnership, as consumers and manufacturers, to look after the future of our planet and be responsible in doing so. I admire Melissa Williams, who argues that this partnership will have a profound impact upon the manufacturing of fashion items in the future. Melissa’s views may well have a direct impact on my own design work.
I have chosen this article because Melissa Williams is a well-known American academic, who specialises in democratic theory and comparative political theory. She was the founding director of the University of Toronto’s Centre for Ethics. She is now a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. She gained her degrees from Harvard University. Sustainability is a subject which focuses highly on ethics. Hence this is, in my view, a highly appropriate theorist to research, analyse her views and consider whether they can be applied to my fashion design work.
Melissa argues that there needs to be huge changes in the way that people are so wasteful with fashion, at the moment. She believes that consumers as well as the industry are to blame. Melissa reinforced her views, in this article, by interviewing the C.E.O. of Hawthorn, a clothing manufacturer who is also keen for companies to make sustainability a key priority. I agree with her argument and will now go onto analysing it deeper.
First of all, Melissa Williams argues that the designer Stella McCartney has responded strongly to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which states that half of fashion bought on the high street at the moment is thrown away within a year. Melissa highlights the fact that Stella is absolutely correct by being appalled with this data and indeed some major changes need to happen in the future of fashion to eradicate this. I agree that this is a tragic statistic for our planet and this is something which I would never dream of doing with my own clothes.
Melissa then goes onto argue that if consumers bought the best clothes which they could afford, then they would be more sustainable because they would last longer. A survey, by consultants Kantar Futures, which was reported on the B.B.C., reported that 80% of the people questioned said they would pay more for garments which lasted longer. To me this is a promising sign for the future of the fashion industry.
Melissa also states that once fraying or tears appear on clothes, they could be personally customised with beads, trims etc to give them a new and unique look, instead of just throwing them away. I agree with this philosophy and it is something I have done for many years with my own wardrobe of clothes. It gives me much satisfaction because I am not producing waste, I am reducing my carbon footprint and also I have something which is totally unique and nobody else has it.
Melissa Williams then argues that in recent years it has become trendy for adults to update their sewing skills at evening classes and to watch shows such as ‘The Great British Sewing Bee.’ I totally agree with this, as some of my professional friends have attended sewing holidays and sewing day retreats in groups. They have told me it is very relaxing and now they too look at heir own wardrobe and ponder over how they can modernise something instead of just going out, being wasteful and buying something new.
Melissa also argues that manufacturers must produce clothes in environmentally and socio-economically sustainable ways, which involves making effective use of resources, not producing waste and recycling leftover fabrics. This is something which is very dear to my heart and I insist on using this ethic within my own design work.
Melissa finally reinforces her views by interviewing Tom Lovelace, C.E.O. of Hawthorn (clothing manufacturer in City of London). He helps start up fashion designers create businesses in an ethical way because the company can supply low order quantities of sustainable material. This enables new designers to enter the market who are keen to spread the message about sustainability.
There’s a clear assumption being made by the author that manufacturers and consumers must both play their part in not being wasteful, when it comes to fashion. The author also highlights that fashion designers can spread the message and raise awareness too, of how important sustainability is when showing and advertising their new collections.
The style has been written in a companionable and informal way. In my opinion, this is to draw the reader in and make the text accessible to a wide audience. I believe this has been done purposefully because sustainable fashion is a message which needs to be ideally taken on board by everybody to create a new, improved future for the world and for mankind as a whole.
So, my overall conclusion is that Melissa’s argument which explains why sustainability is so important in the fashion business has really inspired me. I totally agree with everything she has said and it has made me realise that I must contact Tom Lovelace, C.E.O. of Hawthorn (clothing manufacturer based in the City of London), who was mentioned in the article, in the early part of 2020. I intend to interview him, explain my major project proposal, ideals and how he can possibly help me to start creating collections in an ethical and sustainable way, as soon as possible. I will also start to follow Melissa William’s blogs, as I respect her ethical ideas and I am sure they will be crucial to my future work as well. Melissa has certainly made me think deeper about her argument, through finishing her article with a thought provoking statement of, ‘Tell me, have you thought about sustainable fashion? Is the environment important to you?’ (‘The Importance of Sustainability in the Fashion Industry’, ‘The Diary of a Jewellery Lover’, 2017) What a wonderful way to encourage me to explore this concept more!
Williams M. (2017), ‘The Diary of a Jewellery Lover’, ‘The Importance of Sustainability in the Fashion Industry.’