As you maybe already know from my social media, I am currently in Belgium for a few days. Last Saturday, my mum and I went for a walk in town: a little cardio, a little shopping, and a little exploring. While I was glancing over a gorgeous long-sleeved, sweatshirt dress by Isabel Marant Etoile, I started to think about labels. Not the ones inside a garment, but the ones we allocate in order to categorise people, brands, etc. And not just any labels, but the ones related to the fashion industry. I was thinking about labels ethical and sustainable.
Believe it or not, in many cases, these keywords can actually trigger people to hit the "close" button faster than the blink of an eye. I understand them.
It's important to have your business act together, yes. Fair wages, use better alternatives if they are available, keep the general wellbeing of everyone involved as optimal as possible. And it's nothing less but valuable to make it explicit on your official webpage. But don't make it the first thing people see. "WE ARE A SUSTAINABLE COMPANY". Boom, right in your face!
The first purpose of fashion is to express oneself, without saying a word. It's about design, patterns, the cut, and the seems in all the right places. It's about attitude and personality. Fashion is not about doing good for the planet. Because the best alternative - for the environment - would be to produce exactly nothing. Zero emissions, zero chemicals, zero everything. Just like the good old days, when nudism was the only #OOTD. Give or take a flower crown. No need to sort blacks from whites, and cotton from silk. Halleluja!
Sustainability - as differentiation strategy - can be included in the branding, but should not be the main focus. Design comes first. The collection must be good, the clothes must feel great, and the client must want to wear them just for being them. Ideally, sustainability should actually be the backbone, the heart of the brand: vital, yet not overexposed. Eventually, by focusing too much on the exposure of the word "sustainability", fashion brands will be falsly divided. It's as if there's only Haute Couture kingdom, fast-fashion b***s***, and eco boredom. Thus making sustainability a trend, a label, rather than a core business element.
And so I came to a conclusion that some labels not only identify you, they can isolate you. And that's why I do not want to fit TFI under just one label. TFI is about my perspective on conscious consumerism, consisting of many tags and brands. Think #LocalProduction #LuvAJ #MadeInEurope #VeganSandals #RevolveMe #Timeless #EthicalBrand #30WearsMaterial #DesignerVintage #Tencel #SlowFashion and so many more #'s!