There are a lot of awful things happening in the world right now. There are immediate threats and potential disasters looming over us. Stress and anxiety seem to be everywhere, for good reason. In the face of all that, deciding on what pocket square goes best with what shirt might seem quite pointless, not to mention indulgent. You may not believe it, but the struggles happening all around us actually weigh on my mind before I post a picture of my shoes on Instagram. I wonder to myself “does this matter?”
But it does, and here’s why.
I didn’t start this blog just to talk about ties and nice hats. I have always been driven by a desire to make the world around me better, to the best of my ability. And I don’t just mean that old chestnut about dressing well to make others feel respected and special. As I’ve dug deeper into the world of clothes I’ve discovered that what we wear has a profound impact not only on ourselves and those around us, but the world.
The garment industry is the second biggest polluter on the planet. In 2010, the clothing industry produced 150 billion garments, enough for everyone on Earth to get 20 new items. Where did most of that clothing end up? Landfills. If people in developed countries could make their clothes last for two years instead of one, for example, they would have a huge impact on climate change.
The ethics behind our clothing is more important than ever. And that’s why we need to start talking about clothes like we talk about food. We’ve been concerned about what we put in our bodies for a few decades: movements like nutrition facts on labels, the 100-Mile Diet and organic farming have all tried to introduce ethics and quality into the food industry. But what about what we put on our bodies?
Clothing isn’t owned, it’s consumed. And that has to change.
I don’t post pictures of my shoes on Instagram to encourage consumption. I do it to encourage people to seek out craftsmanship, quality and longevity. Buy less but buy better. Does conscious consumerism even work in a globalised world dominated by corporations? I don’t know, but I want to at least do something that’s not making things worse. Something that has the potential to make things a bit better.