The following extract comes from the Culture section of our Sixth Print Issue, which will be released on November 15th. More information about this issue can be found HERE.
Imagine, if you will, a workshop. Not a horrid, damp, modern-day labour camp, staffed by children earning pennies per day, nor a great factory of automata working tirelessly without need for rest. This is an English factory, and that means quality, workmanship and skill. Or so it did.
In the 21st century, manufacturing in England is on the decline. Replacing it is the importing of cheap, low-quality goods from abroad, sustained by the pitiful wages of the Third World. Where once a 16-year-old may have left school, learned a trade and worked to improve their skill over many years, culminating in an unrivalled artisanship, now shoddy mockeries are made of this memory by the mass-produced whims and desires of the fast-fashion culture that we live in today. We as a society have forgotten the need to cherish those things we have, to maintain them rather than take them for granted, to repair them and not cast them to the bin as soon as a rip inconveniences us or fashion dictates that we do. When we forget this, we sow the seeds for future troubles in our lives, treating our loved ones and ourselves as we have come to treat our possessions.
Environmentally, too, the harm of fast fashion is greatly felt. In 2018, Burberry caused outrage in burning £30 million of surplus stock, a drop in the ocean compared to the wider fashion industry’s waste. Even today, many manufacturers continue to rely on sweat-shops for their supply lines, sustaining the fashions of the developed world through the low standards of the developing world.
Photo from pixnio.com.