In honour of Fashion Revolution Week, which ended today, we’ve committed to spending a little more time learning about who we’re wearing, what they stand for and how they produce their clothes.
What is Fashion Revolution?
Simply put, it’s a movement around the world that helps people stop and think a little bit more about where their clothes are coming from, and exactly what methods they’ve used in the production of the clothing. Ignorance is bliss, they say, but the idea of Fashion Revolution is to keep learning. So here are some fast facts for you.
“Approximately 75 million people work to make our clothes. 80% of them are women between the ages of 18 and 35.”
“However, the majority of the people who makes clothes for the global market live in poverty, unable to afford life’s basic necessities. Many are subject to exploitation; verbal and physical abuse, working in unsafe and dirty conditions, with very little pay.”
At a time like this, where fast fashion relies on child labour and below-minimum-wage employees, it’s more important than ever to support the retailers who are embracing ethical practices. And not surprisingly, the local industry is it.
Stylist Safia Ali shares her 9 reasons why you should be shopping locally – and trust me, T&T’s got some good ones!
1) SUPPORTS THE LOCAL ECONOMY:
The first and most obvious reason to shop local is to support the local economy. Many of us have resorted to shopping online or while overseas, but when we do this we put money in the pockets of much larger corporations when we should be putting it into the pockets of our talented fellow Trinbagonians.
Most local designers take into consideration the climate and lifestyle of the typical Caribbean individual when designing.
Pieces tend to be made of light, breathable fabrics such as cotton and linen, that allow the wearer to feel comfortable no matter how hot or humid it is.
3) CUSTOM PIECES, CUSTOM FIT:
In my opinion, one of the biggest complaints that we have when shopping overseas or online is the fit of the garments.
But think about it, who understands the shape and body of the Caribbean woman better than a Caribbean designer? No more trying to squeeze into pants that can’t get past your thighs. No more “putting on my pants” dance.
Shop local and embrace the opportunity to go to your designer’s studio in person, and have them measure and fit you to your garment of choice.
4) MAKES SHOPPING EASIER:
Shopping locally can be an extremely personal experience. With many designers’ pieces on show in their own studios, you have the opportunity to meet and form meaningful relationships with the people who are creating your clothes and accessories.
Getting to know your designer makes shopping so much easier. It allows them to recommend pieces to complement your aesthetic, personality, and likes and dislikes.
That way instead of simply being presented with a room full of options, they can help steer you in the right direction.
5) HELPS TO SOLIDIFY A BRAND’S AESTHETIC:
While most designers have an idea of who they would like their ideal customer to be (who they are designing for), it can be very helpful and beneficial for the designer to get to know the customers that are actually buying their pieces.
The more a designer gets to understand their clientele base, the more consistent their designs become over time, as they begin to modify their designs to suit their actual clients. This allows the brand to develop and helps to streamline the designer’s creative vision.
6) HELPS THE ENVIRONMENT:
Did you know that the fast fashion industry is one of the world’s largest polluters?
In order to meet the enormous demand for clothing, large garment factories often cut back on costs meant to regulate their environmental impact. The resulting amounts of waste and pollution produced are astonishing. This is because their goal is to produce large amounts of cheap clothing as quickly as possible.
When you shop local you know who your clothes are being made by, and you know that they are being made with love for you and the environment.
Local designers invest time into their pieces because their priority is quality. They are more likely to take into consideration the materials they use, and they are more likely to adopt waste-minimizing techniques.
7) IT INSPIRES CREATIVITY:
Nothing is more flattering and motivating to a designer than seeing a client thoroughly enjoying one of their pieces. It is this confidence that inspires designers to continue to create pieces that their customers will love.
8) STRENGTHENS BRAND AWARENESS:
Building a presence on social media has now become an integral ingredient in the formula of successful fashion brands all over the world.
Through purchasing local pieces and posting tagged photos on various social media accounts, you are essentially broadening the reach of local brands.
You increase their audience every time you tag them in a post, and help the talented local fashion designer to establish their brand in the local, regional and international fashionspheres.
There is something so special about wearing a piece that is authentically ours. Nothing can compare to the feeling of wearing something that says “Made in Trinidad and Tobago” on the label.
Once you experience that level of pride, you will always go back for more.
A former medical student-turned-fashion stylist, Safia Ali believes in pursuing one’s passion. With work published both locally and internationally in a very short space of time, Safia has proven that her knowledge and understanding of fashion is invaluable. She specializes in layering and print mixing, and her current obsession is street style. You can find Safia on social media @safia.elena.