Technology has reshaped not only the way we shop fashion, but the way we produce it too. The rise of fast fashion comes as no surprise. Trendy and always new pieces are now produced in minutes, all at the price of your morning coffee, and have gained popularity amongst today’s consumers.
The luxury fashion segment of the industry, embedded in handcraft, exclusivity, and unique pieces, thrives on high margins, extracting profits from fashion enthusiasts. Mass-produced luxury appeals to the higher income consumers and fills the gap of high-end trendy and always new fashion.
But this desire for the latest fashion has led us to a rather predictable situation, one which is extremely harmful to people and our planet. Once an industry immersed in beauty, is now defined by overproduction, excess consumption, pollution, and pitiful wages paid to workers. It seems as if a day doesn’t go by without seeing such problems in the media. More recently, however, big fast, and luxury, companies seem to have taken some notice and made attempts to address them. But their solutions are often nothing more than green washing, always lacking transparency, all whilst they continue to produce even more collections.
Technology shortened the production cycle of clothes and seemingly increased the output, but it came at a cost. So, the question remains: What is the future of fashion, and is there a solution to this global problem?
The once small and undiscovered brand Patagonia is a prominent example of what the future of fashion should look like. Their vests have become a signature for people who stand behind sustainability, and have not arisen at the expense of others, or the planet. Their billion-dollar company is testament to their commitment to sustainability, showing that sustainability, as a business model, is not a myth, but rather can be a reality.
Independent fashion brands such as Patagonia are precisely what the whole fashion industry should aspire to be. Profitable, yet operating with care for people and the planet. Independent fashion is what a conscious business looks like. It is synonymous with authenticity and uniqueness. We buy independent fashion to support our favorite creators and their mission. Their story is what moves us. Independent fashion helps us see fashion beyond a transaction, but as an experience.
So, the question becomes, can we promote other independent brands to the level of Patagonia, at scale? Platforms like Fashion Musa are redefining the space by creating a collective community of independent brands and boutiques to inspire consumers to support small and local. The way they do this is by creating the most life-like and authentic local shopping experience for their customers. With discovery at heart, on Musa you can explore indie fashion talent on the map, browse their products and physical stores virtually, read their stories and even connect with the people behind the business directly, at real-time.
Because independent fashion is more than just a transaction. It is showing support for local and small. And research backs us up on this one.
Did you know that for every 1 GBP spent, 0.63 GBP goes back to the local economy? This further creates jobs and other businesses across the supply chain. Local indies can produce real economic benefits. In example, when you support your local boutique, you cut on carbon emissions. Yes! International shipping of even a T-shirt has negative impacts on our environment.
Studies have shown that small businesses employ more people per sales units and keep more people employed during recessions. On the contrary, big companies decrease the number of jobs in a region and are first to decrease number of employees when they need to cut costs. And also, let´s face it. It is small businesses that bring the true innovation our world needs.
But most importantly, when you support independent fashion, you know that you do not compromise individuality and ethical practices for the price. And isn´t that a good reason enough to start incorporating independent fashion in your purchasing decisions?