The dark side of modern society

Scanning the dark side of fashion, we came across a document released by ASPI – Australian Strategic Policy Institute – “Uyghurs for sale”.
Uyghur is an Islamic minority from the far west region of Xinjiang. The Chinese government has facilitated Uyghur and other ethnic minority citizens’ mass transfers from Xinjiang to factories that operate in the supply chains of about 83 well-known brands.
In China, 80,000 human beings live in segregated dormitories subject to constant surveillance. Put through ideological training outside working hours.

Fast-fashion brands are made in China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam. Therefore, we naively thought it was mainly a fashion-related issue. Learning about that horrific condition, we had to change our mind, as often happens.
Going through the pages, ASPI named various global brands, not only from the fashion field but technology and automobile too, and, of course, we know them all pretty well.
The dark side of fashion, that was supposed to be the point. At least we initially believed it was a matter that identified one industry only. But, in the end, we acknowledged that there is a common thread that links all manufacturing, the whole economic system.

Although we believe it is crucial to uncover fashion issues to move towards a better society, it is clear that exploitation, environmental impact, disposable goods, and lack of inclusivity, are issues that regard our modern society in full.
Perhaps, it is not about fashion but human behaviour, the greed that characterizes and dominates our economic systems.

The truth is that society needs new slaves to flourish.
This must stop.

Sharing ideas

Ideas are powerful. Sharing our thoughts makes the energy greater.
Sharing is at the heart of our community. Believing in the possibility of inspiring each other, cross-pollinating, is the real precious benefit of our interactions. It is about being open to a growth process that enriches us, broadening our visions.
Hearing our interconnection elevates the sense of community. A group of like-minded people, focusing on specific values: inclusion, diversity, ethical work, kindness, respect.
Fashion is the door that lets us in, connects us, knowing that we don’t stop at a superficial level. We enter from that door to find a common ground, but then we dig deeper into our culture and lifestyle.
Together, we facilitate an ecosystem where we develop beauty, empathy, value. We connect, we come together to make things better.
Join our community by sharing your thoughts with us!

Social media & value

In our modern and hyper-connected society, life revolves around social media. While it is nice to be in touch with your audience, it is impossible not to notice the vain by-product of this virtual life: images artificially created and obsessively shared. Yes, too much even for those of us that work in fashion!

Perhaps, you might think, social media worked well to boost self-confidence, instilling the idea that everyone can be super beautiful. We all have an amazing life. People need approval.
But if we dig deeper, we see the void generated, all the meaning has been swiped away. You mainly find empty boxes. Nice, but empty. And a certain horror rises in knowing that the percentage of suicides among teenagers has gone up due to social media.

Whatever they say, all this exaggerated overexposure didn’t bring anything positive. Not even in fashion. The expectation of fake models looking like plastic dolls together with poor language created a devastating environment.
The strategy to run a successful account consists of buying followers to attract the attention of a large audience and letting the algorithm fly. In other words, you end up talking to yourself in the mirror.
That is the game you have to play if you want to be successful unless — you need something more than a facade.
For people like us, who believe that buying books is way better than buying followers, the discomfort gets real. You don’t really want to interact with fake accounts, do you?
People who have no idea what they’re talking about, who are not able to distinguish a fast fashion brand from a high quality one, are not our point of reference. We do not consider such a person a leader, no matter how many followers they have.

It is possible to be on social media having a different approach, setting up a healthier environment based on quality and real connections, and being clear in your mind that you are playing a different game.
If you are looking for meaning, for something that matters, this is the challenge. Bring back valuable content. Bring back value. Share ideas, not plastic faces.

Fashion is culture

With the word fashion, we mean the appearance and behaviour of a social community according to a particular taste of the moment. It refers to all the style and life elements that identify a society during a specific era. Fashion is just another way to scan our society and culture. Another lens through which we can investigate human behaviour.

We can use clothes to hide aspects of our personality or, instead, to show and express our identity. As an overall concept, we can use clothes to analyze different cultures.

Fashion is the result of a creative process that talks about our culture. The reason it became mistreated and demeaned as a vain or silly field, lies in the system itself and some external factors.
Since finance took over the industry, during the 80s and 90s, the creative process has been forcibly accelerated, pushed to an extremely fast-paced model. Very little space was left for creativity.
Later on, when the internet and social media entered the scene, the creative side of fashion became completely distorted.
Fashion has undergone such strong pressure that valuable designers, like Martin Margiela, one of the greatest innovators and game-changers, decided to leave. Too much pressure, a continuous request for something new, too many products to put out in a short time. And then also, an obsessive hunger for information, in the form of silly poses and clownesque outfits.
Rather than a place for creativity, fashion became all about budgets, money and clowns. Pure business without a soul. Tangible examples are the rise of fast fashion and fashion bloggers.

But all that fast-paced overproduction, overconsumption, massive show-off was just a bubble, a system that couldn’t sustain itself in the long run. In fact, during the pandemic, it exploded.

Now that the world is re-awakening, we need to bring a new level of consciousness that puts creativity and ethical work at the heart. Slow fashion and smaller-scale production are the basis on which we can build sustainable models.

Researching the new

Researching new concepts in fashion has always been our passion, a kind of innate attitude or a real fixation.
In terms of fashion design, what is considered new by a niche audience is not what is new for the masses.
New means something original, singular. Something unusual. Probably or at least possibly, never seen before.
For a niche audience, new refers to what designers, or at least the really creative ones, pioneered first, expressing their vision and sense of style in a way no one has done before.
For the masses, new means what brands have taken from the few creatives, repurposing it under their name. We can’t count the times some agents proposed to us collections we already had the season before in our boutique, just with a different label.
If you are part of that niche, that re-proposed soup is not for you. You respect the original ideas, you need creativity.
Unless they are filtering the concept in a new, creative way – but that doesn’t happen frequently. Copy & paste is the easy way out.

The concept of new in the fashion industry doesn’t exist anymore. It was pretty clear before the pandemic, it’s both frustrating and discouraging now that we are in the middle of it.

Some brands that were modern 30 years ago are still the ones we would wear now. Perhaps they already did anything and everything. So many others seem just part of an old era, outdated, they lost meaning.

While we see collections without identity, lacking idiosyncrasy, still copying & pasting from others. Grasping the occasion to reset and restart with new ideas would be a smart move.

Women & society standards

“I make clothes for a woman who is not swayed by what her husband thinks” – Rei Kawakubo.

This powerful Rei Kawakubo quote, a thought we completely embrace and promote, opens up a window on society standards, personal growth, self-awareness, and perhaps new feminism.
The clothes we wear are the expression of our personality, this is undeniable.
If we analyze the type of clothes that easily reach a large audience, we could portray a clear image of a woman stuck in the Fifties.
A woman who must have a hold on men, and most of all, who must make it crystal clear, totally visible. This statement translates into second-skin dresses, wide neckline, and super short hemlines.

This is what society expects from women, what women are educated to by centuries of patriarchal brainwashing. And, eventually, it seems this is what women want, well adapted to a man-shaped society.
Just replace grace with rudeness, and we jump into our modern times.

There’s always the same submissiveness, asking for permission to buy something or buying an item only upon the husband’s approval.
Centuries of evolution from Virginia Woolf, passing through feminism and all a woman can aspire is being an accessory of a man.

We embrace a new sensibility away from the dominant models. Femininity free from conventions and stereotypes. Assertive, not aggressive.
Self-aware, or at least opening the eyes, and beginning the process of personal growth.

Her style would be different.
We are different.
Ready to express a new vision of who we are.

Redefine the lexicon

How can fashion evolve if the lexicon is always the same?
Pre-collections. Still? For real? Selling campaigns, seasons, gender categories, budgets, and, above all, discounts and sales. Real or fake, who cares.
The only intention is to push people to buy whatever product, keeping the business exactly as it was before the pandemic.

Can’t you see how all that is disconnected from the new reality?
All those words lost their meaning because we are in a different place now, an unknown territory, where those concepts do not apply anymore.

We expected something more. We envisioned brave designers or brands coming up with new ideas, guiding us to innovate an outdated system. But other than a lot of greenwashing, nothing has happened. Or worse, everyone’s hoping to go back to normal. Completely forgetting that normal was the problem.

So we take an active posture. We decide what is good and what is not for us and our audience. We don’t believe in a supermarket model. Preserving the value of creativity, we want to decide the quantities and quality we need to buy, based on the real needs of our community, not only to grow large companies’ pockets.
We must understand that good design and quality do not have an expiry date. We do not believe anymore in discounts as a drive to boost sales.
Sales are just another element of the status quo, a short term illusion of joy.

We believe in conscious buying, so we are educating ourselves and our community to buy less but better.

Redefining the lexicon is the first step and expression of a change in the fashion system.

Sustainability or greenwashing?

Sustainability as we know it today, is a bubble, an old-school marketing operation better defined by the name greenwashing.
The same marketers made us believe in the existence of 100% organic food products. The world is an open-air landfill, but we believe it is unspoiled. Or at least we can isolate lands, preventing any contamination. Trust in it!

It’s as though we suddenly all woke up in a sustainable world, with green labels flourishing everywhere. But some questions are jumping into our heads.
Is the use of a few eco-friendly materials enough to define a brand sustainable?
Can fast-fashion brands call themselves sustainable?
And all the luxury brands that continue to produce enormous quantities of products?
Can they be sustainable? Really?

Contradictions are strong.
We need a radical change, not fake messages.

The real value

Sustainability must pass through the re-education to the real value of products, materials, quality, skills of those who carry out the work. Understanding and respecting the craftsmanship, the workers.

These values are the opposite of a fashion system that has taken fast food as a productive and consuming model.

If, since the explosion of fast fashion people have been pushed to buy disposable clothes, how can they understand garments that have a completely different value?
Higher value, in terms of quality, therefore a higher price.

Self-education can make a difference.

Knowledge vs an obsolete system

Knowledge is power. Being informed – educating ourselves – is fundamental in order to make conscious choices.
We love fashion, but we know there are many things to fix in the field. Since we have been part of the industry for so long, we are fed up with representing patterns that are no longer viable, representing an obsolete system.
When you are fed up with what you see, you have two options: you can sit and look at the show, or you take action. Decide to make a change.
We’ve opted for the latter. Change for the better is what we aim for.
Connecting with people who share the same vision is part of the journey.
Change for the better. We do it together.