CAN FASHION BE USED AS A TOOL FOR SOCIAL CHANGE?
Fashion is an industry with a lot of power and influence over people, being one of the many art forms present in today's cultural scene, allows for it to express and breathe life into an idea or feeling, but is that power being given a good use? Fortunately, there are many who make sure it is.
There are already several brands and designers from around the world who use their power not only to express themselves but to create change. They use their tools to promote and spread their beliefs, encouraging viewers not to lose hope and to make fashion a force for good, you might be asking yourself, how?
Depending on the focus of each company, commitment, and actions towards the global good will focus on one issue or another, from sustainability and respect for the environment, diversity, and inclusivity, to the promotion of beauty regardless of the stereotype imposed.
As many of you know, fashion is one of the industries that currently pollutes the most, mostly due to businesses such as "fast fashion" and their massive overproduction of clothing made with cheap materials. These companies cause great damage to the environment, since by making more garments than are sold and launching new designs in an excessive way, they incentivize the consumer to buy more than they need, thus disposing of a number of garments that they already "don't like" or "don't use."
These clothes are usually thrown away, but what about the process that follows after we throw them away? Well, many of these garments are made of materials that are very difficult to remove, such as polyester that takes approximately 200 years to degrade, incredible right? This is one of many examples of how "cheap" fashion and consumerism affect our planet.
Luckily for us, there is an increasing number of available options one can go for in order to not participate in fast fashion. Apart from raising awareness and buying what we only need, there are many associations that guide and help the buyer to make responsible use.
Fortunately, this issue is being addressed by more and more brands and designers who choose to make sustainable clothing from recycled materials and make fewer pieces to avoid overproduction. Plus, for the most part, the quality of these garments is much better, meaning their lifespan is much longer, thus avoiding the need to constantly buy new items.
One of TNC's favourites when it comes to sustainability lately, is London-based designer Bethany Williams created her brand with a mission to make a difference.
In Williams collections, we can appreciate her art and her objective in all of her designs, which are made with recycled and completely sustainable materials, not only that, inclusivity and diversity are also fundamental pillars in her brand. In her campaigns and parades, we see a great variety of models of different races, physical complexions, and unique beauty.
Another brand that we've been completely enraptured by and who also fights for human and environmental rights is Ande Dem.
Ande Dem is no less than a brand founded by the collective of “manteros” (top manta) from Barcelona, Spain. The term "mantero" refers to people who sell goods on the streets, often on a blanquet (manta in Spanish, hence the term) spread on the floor.
For many years the “manteros” have been part of the beauty of the city, however, they have not been accepted as such and for this reason, the top manta collective was created to fight for their rights and a fair salary.
Ande Dem launched its first sneaker design last June. The design was created from totally sustainable and vegan materials, 400 pairs were made in different sizes and are for sale by order online, the funds raised will be used for the benefit of solidarity causes supported by the collective.
There are definitely people who use their art to make the world a better place, they literally dedicate their lives to fight social injustices and fight for change. So we can officially say that fashion can be a tool for change, and we can all contribute our grain of sand, just making good use of it.
The options are there, it is now a matter of making conscious choices as a consumer, because at the end of the day, the more we go for these types of brands, the more the industry will understand that sustainability, responsible practices, and ethical values are the way to go.
The path is there, the question is, are you going to take it?