Maria came from Nashville with a suitcase in her hand
Maria came from Nashville with a suitcase in her hand
To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
And to run where
The brave dare not go
Happy April and happy Earth Month. Let’s talk about Uniqlo … while we have a veritable pig engaging in pissing contests with the wealthiest men all over the world, scheming to build walls in the urinals so he can change the rules of said pissing contest, the new feud between fast fashion earth-destroyer Tadashi Yanai and our own embarrassing guy here raises an important topic. The problem? They’re worried about the wrong things.
If you recall, a couple years ago, I wrote a letter to Obama asking him to even the playing field in the US market by taxing imports from human-rights violating countries which manufacture clothing at a price point below $50. He wrote me back, but did nothing to fix the problem. The current face-off has overseas manufacturers whose violations of human rights have left over ten thousand people dead without consequence at Rana Plaza and bumped textiles to the number two source of pollution worldwide, and Trump wants to stop them. Why? Because they took our jobs. Yes, they did in fact take our jobs, and that is a very important point, but examining the side effects of sociopathic driven brands Uniqlo, Zara, H & M and Urban Outfitters / Anthropologie, you would understand that this issue is just important to liberals as it is for conservatives.
As a response to taxing imports, Uniqlo’s owner was quoted saying “We would not be able to make really good products [in the U.S.] at costs that are beneficial to customers … It would become meaningless to do business in the U.S.” But what he fails to explain is the reasons why he would not be able to manufacture in the US. Could it be that our labor force is unskilled? No, that’s not it. Maybe it’s because we don’t allow CHILD LABOR in our country. Probably. Now let’s get back to the part about “really good products.” What’s a really good product that Uniqlo makes … the cheap cashmere that if you’re lucky lasts 1/10th as long as authentic Italian cashmere? Not good in my book, I’d rather pay full price for quality cashmere that lasts years. Or what about the Heat Tech ™ microfiber, tech means it’s really good, better than anything else, right? Think again: the first time you wash it, those micro fibers dissolve irreversibly into our drinking water and cannot be filtered out. Each subsequent wash releases more and more tiny synthetic particles that glob together in the ocean and destroy marine life. The synthetic-heavy textiles created overseas spew toxic gases into the air and use excessive amounts of water in the process. Wow if you didn’t know already, you may begin to see we don’t need these inferior products and their planet-devastating side effects.
Internationally speaking, I worked a lot with professionals from Japan, and learned about the market from the Japanese consumer’s point of view when I was establishing my business. When Uniqlo first brought their brand to the US, the Japanese people in my industry all agreed it was a desperate attempt for validation. It turns out the mediocre brand was doing “meh” in its home country and sought to take on specifically the New York market to add prestige to its brand. Fast forward to now, their aggressive takeover of the US market has undercut quality goods which have a better cost per wear by bamboozling customers, is well on its way to ruining our water supply just from normal wash and wear, and let’s not forget they left a body count that is comparable if not higher than the number of deaths here on that awful day Sept 11. WE DON’T WANT YOU UNIQLO. Please stop messing with us, your aggressive takeover is over, please pack up and go while we can still clean up the mess and do better without you.
Now the brand name, (ironically a portmanteau for Unique Clothing … there’s nothing unique about their basic garbage) is a lie. So, why are they a fashion brand with no designers? You always know that a brand is shady when no designer will show their face or put their name on something. Designers are in a unique point of view because their eyes can potentially see the suffering and damage caused by the work, which consumers often do not see. Most often when it’s a noname brand (Zara, H&M, UO/Anthro and celebrities who aren’t professional designers,) the silhouettes are stolen from legit designers, a symptom indicative of shady practices from the top all the way down every step of the supply chain. Only sometimes to fool us, they pick up graphic designers to endorse tee shirts simply as a marketing ploy. If we are to begin to establish a sustainable future, and move textiles off the list of the top violators of our one and only planet earth, we need to take down these sociopaths and put designers back in charge.
If you care about the planet and want to help end the suffering, or you just want your job in the fashion industry, join me in using the hashtag – #HELLNOUNIQLO in conjunction with earth month related tweets and social media posts. Stay tuned for next week when we go over the current qualifiers for what makes sustainable fashion brands.
If you know me, you know Earth Day is my favorite holiday. While I may not look it, deep down I am a total hippie! When out shopping I look at something and visualize what it took to make that thing, and how that affected the environment. I can’t help but care about the Earth’s natural resources and naturally make choices to conserve them. This applies to my creative process, which I often keep to myself for proprietary reasons. When dealing with very confused consumers in my store on a daily basis, I decided to open up and share what I’ve learned in the process of being a sustainable High Fashion designer.
In the weeks coming up to Earth Day, I’m giving pointers on how We The Fashionable can be better to our dear Planet Earth. This year, the garment industry went from top three to the Number Two source of pollution worldwide. While to many, it is a mystery how clothing is made, or how to change this, one thing is clear. It is important for people who are in a position to choose, to make an honest assessment of their shopping habits, how to dress more sustainably, and to care for their clothing in a lasting way. But first: let’s look at where we are now, by reflecting on the notions of Innovation and Progress.
What is Innovation? Convenience is King. When we look at the successful advances of technology of today, convenience is the one thing they all have in common. Want any food delivered to your door without saying a word? Want a driver to get you at a moment’s notice? Want to instantly have a 3D shape appear? We are all wizards. I love utilizing the technology we now have & I consider myself lucky to have an iPhone. When it comes to funding, investors and the US Government throw the full weight of their moneybags toward ventures that can be described as innovative. But what is the ultimate cost?
For me, it’s great to save time and reduce stress; however, there are times when a person could easily realize they went too far. A dating app might help you to meet new people, but without discernment you might also be putting yourself in danger. When it comes to our clothing, the past decade’s advancements in manufacturing have accelerated to Ludicrous Speed. In the relentless search for ever cheaper overseas manufacturing, countless lives have been lost and people continue to be ruthless in their competition to flood the unregulated global market with lower-cost clothing. But how low is too low?
What is progress? Being progressive means that the innovations we select to incorporate into our daily lives have a positive impact for future generations. While there are many areas in which humanity continues to make progress, in the coming weeks we can concentrate on making cultural progress while protecting the environment. Technology today is a very changeable work in progress, and here we have the golden opportunity to identify mistakes and learn from them. A discerning integration of current technology with obsolete or archaic techniques is the most progressive course for innovation.
In the weeks leading up to Earth Day, I will shed light on which choices benefit us, including being selective about the materials we wear, learning and sharing daily practices which make up a healthy wardrobing lifestyle and have the biggest impact on the Earth and humanity. If you love fashion, care about equal human rights and want to help protect the environment, then let’s work together. Feel free to share my articles as they come out, and contribute your own positive examples to the discussion in the comments. Together we can make it the best Earth Day and have a lasting influence on future generations.
It’s always stumped me when people ask “what is your target market” and not in a Duh– idonoo kind of way, but more like a “why are they asking me that?”
As a creative I’ve noticed other brands look to me for design ideas. They find my work free whether it’s through the press or trend forecasters present my ideas packaged in a way that is palatable for brands like Bebe. Brands who don’t have a real person’s name.
The truth is sometimes when I’m designing, I might think: this is for someone who (does blank) or this is for a person to wear to a specific themed event such as the Met Museum Costume Institute Gala. But I’m not like up in that persons business like “here’s their income and here’s their age and they currently do this for a living.” Probably that is to my detriment but so what!
Why? I think it’s none of my business where their money comes from. Also it’s something else: people who fit into these boxes are dull to me. If the box exists, somebody already found it and filled it with junk fashion. The formula has already fizzled, if you will. If you ask me, that box is heading straight to a landfill.
None of that has anything to do with the creative process. I’m over here making something beautiful and lasting with integrity, and I believe there are people who want that. They want to feel beautiful. Also they want to live uniquely and discover special things. For them dressing, and the acquisition of art or clothing, is an emotional process and they see how ethics come into play.
An artist may think of who is interested in their work, but once it becomes only about the buyer, the work loses significance, and subsequently value. That’s why the clearly defined “target market” never worked for me. I don’t identify my clients this way. What happens as a result is a collaboration, with trust, empathy and respect to each involved. By wearing the clothing they express a message that is both mine and theirs.
Reminiscing about my trip last summer, here are some of the style heroes of St Tropez. From top, left: Mick and Bianca Jagger’s wedding, Cher, Kim Kardashion. Center row: Karl in action. Bottom row: Brigitte Bardot in a bourse, and in a crochet maxi dress. For dressing, all-white is the way to go, and oddly, everywhere you go, it seems everyone loves to groove to the smooth sounds of Barry White.