Made to Order - An Eco-Step, Why?
In fashion when we think how we can take an eco-step, we think fabrics. Buy organic, tencel, bamboo, recycled....
These are all great choices and the more we push to find better and more sustainable raw materials the better. However the big elephant in the room, that is not challenged enough, is how much is being made and wasted, and the devastating truth that the majority ends up in landfill or is incinerated, burnt baby, burnt.
A year ago I was none the wiser, never really thought about it and of course no clothing label on tv was shouting out about how they over-produce, sometimes styles never making it to the shop floor. Left over stock having nowhere else to go other than an industrial bonfire or landfill. Sometimes there may be routes to outlets or non-related discounted shops, after labels removed, however this is still masking the issue. We produce more than we need, way more.
We also have a role to play as consumers, we can learn to buy less, care about our clothes more, by choosing to wash at 30° and only when really needed. These are choices if we decide it's more important to do so. Did you know that since 2000 we buy twice as much and wear it half the time. Clothes have become disposable and we are too far removed from the impact, for now, to seem to know or care.
I was in York last year and visited the Yorvic Centre with my kids. I listened to how they repaired everything, made use of what they had and I couldn't help but admire this and wonder why, just because we could, have we moved so far away from this way of life. Just because we can buy more, shouldn't mean that we do so, so easily. Also items that are infrequently worn, quite often occasion-wear, despite being so beautiful, if we realised the true cost to the earth and often those making such clothes, would we still see them as so beautiful. I have a new understanding of the phrase - looking beautiful, shouldn't cost the earth. If these are made to order, we are limiting that impact.
So we have some great eco-steps being taken with more eco-fabrics gaining in popularity, however in reality these still impact on the environment, the most eco journey of all is to wear what you already have or shop 2nd hand. As I am a realist, a lot of us are not ready for that and may never be, so the closest we can get to limiting production and so the impact we have on our earth, is to only produce based on orders - Made to Order. Why produce for anybody? in the hope of a buyer, or through expensive marketing to convince everyone, it's something they have to have in their wardrobe. We can do this, we can take an epic step towards changing the way the textile industry is putting clothes before kindness, we can produce only what someone wants, what is needed.
As we learn, together we can get closer to designing clothes that are so versatile, that fit into your current wardrobe, with fabrics which are durable and hopefully, one day, always recycled back into clothes. But for now we can say NO to deadstock, to excessive fabric off cut waste, and maybe we'll start only buying what we truly love and want, not what is a bargain or that we feel we can't miss out on. We can also start thinking about how to combat occasion wear being a one hit wonder, by choosing to think before we buy - how a piece can easily be redesigned or accessorised differently for everyday.
Made to Order for me means you get a say in your final look, hopefully that means you love it so much you care for it more, you wear it more, you gain pride in buying made to order and what that signifies and you want to have a wardrobe full of items you want to wear again and again, to get repaired if needed and to maybe consider how they can be redesigned into something different, once you feel you're ready for a change. Your clothes are Made to be Worn - wear them.
If nothing else, this can feel truly liberating, once you choose to buy with a purpose.
So is Made to Order an eco-step? you decide.....