“It is up to you, the consumer, to change things. Because all it takes for something to stop being manufactured is for people to stop buying it.”
Editorial by Christophe Loiron, Owner of Mister Freedom
Photograph by Theo Constantinou
‘From the Hips’
I do not comprehend the appeal and point of factory, artificially aged garments.
A quick Google search for ‘denim distressing impact on environment’ gives clues on the effects of that long lasting trend plaguing the Fashion industry. Some 500 million pairs sold in the US alone each year, an estimated 4 billion pairs/year manufactured around the World. Most will get treated, rigid doesn’t sell. Now that’s a lot of chemicals/sand blasting/ water and workers’ silicosis to get that worn-in look, ain’t it? Don’t get all worked up though, those factories are mostly located in China, Turkey, India, Bangladesh, Mexico, etc … Many of those jeans will, however, soon end up in a landfill near you, after falling apart from being worn for just a few months.
That ‘aged’ look was pioneered in the 70’s to cater to a popular demand for softer fabrics, and evolved into the nasty 80’s acid wash jeans. Today, we have the ‘vintage’ worn look (not just on blue jeans.) Early stone wash boosted sales to a point of no return for manufacturers. Methods have evolved, following productivity needs and regulations.
Often a trick to camouflage uninspired designs, artificially distressed jeans are not just visually awful, but a real environmental burden. You’ve seen them. You might even have a pair on as you read this. City streets are filled with them. Granted that some are more tasteful than others, but ALL are unnecessary and an insult to consumers’ intelligence. Would you buy a new car and, after fiercely negotiating its price, tell the salesman you’d pay double to have it driven around, for a few years, without oil? Extra tip for stains, dents and scratches. All this because medias have convinced you that old has more soul than new. And that soul is for sale. These same medias also advised you to purchase Ed Hardy Tshirts and trucker hats, a few years back (if at this reading point you are also sporting one of those… I give up.)
Mentioning that environmental issue in some Industry circles is sure to get you 86′d. I’ve tried. You do get a few hi-fives, however. From the kind of folks who consider you’d have to be a real caveman to refuse recycling your trash, no offense to apes.
Mentioning it in a fashion brand lookbook also lacks the cool factor, next to milking Steve McQueen imagery (fast forward on the wife beating episodes,) tattoos, motorcycles and other clichés … Most sponsored fashion blogs and trend forecasting medias are also not interested in hearing it, since major advertisers would rather keep the lid tightly closed on that can of worms. Lifting cool vintage LIFE® magazine photos is much more appealing to the internet fashion brigades and lifestyle blogs. Green just didn’t make people buy.
I am no vegan/yogist/activist/drum circle occupier… but to me, offering, advocating and promoting artificially distressed garments is plain wrong, both aesthetically and ethically. It is up to you, the consumer, to change things. Because all it takes for something to stop being manufactured is for people to stop buying it. Silly, but simple. Your children might thank you later.
I do thank you now.
Christophe Loiron — July 12, 2012