Yesterday I was taking my daughter to her fencing lesson when we stopped at a red light in NYC’s garment district. At the corner of 39th and 7th avenue is a sculpture of a huge thread and needle to honor the area and the people who have worked in this industry for generations. While the shop keepers may have changed ethnicities over the years — from Jewish to Chinese — the merchandise is pretty much the same. What does this tell me? That while fashions change season to season, and while the centers of production may have shifted around the globe, the industry hasn’t changed a whole lot.
Moreover, the industry still tends to be regarded with admiration and disdain. The issues may have changed a bit but there still remains the dichotomy. We idolize the designers and, at the same time, critique the enormity of the costs of the haute couture. We applaud the “fashion for all” ethos of H&M and Zara but decry the horrible conditions of those who actually bleed at the finger tips to produce it for us at terribly low wages. We love the accessibility of the new, new thing but then protest the environmental hazards all this production creates.
Then I came across this gorgeous video from AEG called the Next New Black thanks to my colleague Aldis. This 45 minute documentary beautifully takes through 5 different chapters of major industry change.
And the changes are dramatic and amazing! Moreover, they turn fashion from this world fraught with apprehension into one that’s full of invention, environmental safety and a better world.
Imagine wearing clothing that’s truly wearable tech — that tracks your activity — or clothing that is literally bio-engineered! Or how about the art of sustainable clothing that only uses dyes which don’t have to be mixed with water or can be recycled into other outfits. The technology, artistry and absolute genius that is being harnessed by these new age designers is astounding. I can’t do justice to the film so I highly recommend you all watch it for yourselves.
And you’ll never see the opportunities with fashion and clothing production the same way again!