by Ella Pili, Hong Kong

The time has come for consumers to share a renewed respect for fashion, dressing and workmanship. We have gone away from understanding the critical steps of work involved in the creation of fashion. Current retail models of fast fashion have redefined our respect for clothing. Where once we wanted clothing to be timeless and last for many seasons, whilst at the same time sustaining local industry, now our appetite for new, cheap and in trend clothing grows often at the detriment of quality and lifespan of clothing with production taken up by the poorest of developing nations. With such fast turnarounds in fashion trends, a greater environmental concern grows.

This modern approach to clothing the world is polluting the world and leading to a truly unsustainable existence. According to the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Solid Waste, in America alone more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year is thrown away, and clothing and other textiles represent about 4% of the municipal solid waste. If we consider the trend for developed nations to follow in the footsteps of America, this is reason for concern.

By learning the all-important techniques of design, pattern development and dress construction, the consumer empowers themselves to become the connoisseur and a new found respect and passion for clothing develops. By looking at the past in the consideration of fine fashion we can move forward into the future embracing technologies that will help with creating a more sustainable fashion model.

The onus is on us as consumers and as artisans to redefine and reeducate ourselves on how to design fashion that respects our bodies on an individual basis and that respects our world by creating high quality fashion that will stand the test of time and not just end up in landfill. Skills in fashion design and construction will allow the seeker to then decide whether fashion is a viable entrepreneurial option and the spirit of successful competition is developed.