As a purpose driven-business, our focus is on the people and impact. We advocate and push the conversation of #ChangeBeyondTextiles because we believe in the value of processes: from making rural artisanship sustainable to inspiring customers to value provenance. We don’t call ourselves a fashion company (because of our seasonless approach), but we recognize that we are, unequivocally so, a part of the industry.
Imposing change is the very fabric of politics, and it is undeniably what fashion represents. Fashion’s place in politics is not dictated by what politicians wear, but rather in the choice of clothes one dresses themselves every day. Politics thrives on the norms set by society. So why shouldn’t fashion, the faction shaping and challenging these norms, be political?
Being a company founded by women, with a predominantly female team and working with various women artisans – equality and fair treatment are some of the changes we fight for.
The very nature of fashion is political, as it constantly evolves with changes in human need, technology, and demands of the economy. However, some things refuse to change, such as the basic principle of equality. Feminist protests and advocates have been discussing heavy-heartedly about the unequal wage gap ever since women entered the workforce, but only after the collapse of the Rana Plaza in 2013 has the question of ‘who made my clothes’ entered the minds of consumers. Looking at these unfair conditions, and the numerous instances of forced and child labor, it reiterates the question of ‘is fashion political?’.
Yes. Of course fashion is political. With these practices coming into the light, it has become a topic worthy of discussing and rioting over. In short, fashion focuses on the people, and people facilitate politics.
The truth is fashion is a medium of communication, for gender, class, race, sexuality, culture, religion, and everything else political. There is neither a novelty in fashion’s involvement in political movements – intentional or not (Time’s Up movement at the Golden Globes), nor in fashion’s choice to address political issues directly (Katharine Hamnett meeting Margaret Thatcher in a bold statement t-shirt). Using fashion as a universal language, consumers are not only making a fashion statement but a political statement every time they dress. The brands they wear, the fast fashion companies they choose to support, are reflections of their opinions on these matters. Every fast fashion purchase fuels the industry’s unethical and environmentally dangerous practices. They say politics is a dirty business, but fashion is dirtier because these problems aren’t broadcasted enough. This affects how fashion is perceived, as not enough people know of the impact of these dangerous practices, and also the difference their own individual decisions can make.
The decision to stop fast fashion in its tracks, and to support slow fashion, brands locally made and owned by people of color as well as of the LGBTQ community, is proof of fashion as a vehicle for social justice.
An interest in fashion doesn’t remove you from the reality of social injustices, a misconception to some. The more we talk about our fashion choices for what they are meant for – symbols of status, proof of freedom, an armour of justice, the less fashion will seem like a topic floating on the surface. It is pertinent, in today’s day and age, to voice one’s reasons for their choices – not as a justification, but rather an assurance for those whose voices cannot be heard. In the end, fashion is political whether or not you subscribe to its assertions. The very nature of fashion as a medium to communicate one’s opinions sanctions its status, not as a political statement, but as a form of politics in itself.
We’d love to hear your thoughts, use the hashtag #ChangeBeyondTextiles to keep the conversation going.