“Fashion can be incredibly harmful.” Those were the words said by iconic fashion designer Stella McCartney in her interview with BoF (Business of Fashion Voices) when she discussed the responsibility we have as an industry. In my recent girl’s trip to New York, the first trip I might add, it took me hours if not days to figure out what I was going to pack, and what was I going to wear for each occasion. Yes, I know I was going to work, and most of my time would probably be spent researching and stuck in an office of some sort. I being a fashionista in training, I wanted to look good–after all, New York City is the home to icons such as Tom Ford, Carolina Herrera, Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang, Yemi Osunkoya, and Carlton Jones the two designers I was traveling for my first job assignment after recently graduating College–Clark Atlanta University.
But what does sustainability have to do with a wedding magazine? Well, if you think about it. The wedding is a monumental moment in a couple’s life, where they plan months, and sometimes years for a grand party that will last one day, a couple of hours, and for the bride–wear a dress she will only wear once. So it has everything to do with it. What is our responsibility in the fashion industry, the bridal industry, and who are some of the stewards that are addressing some of the concerns that my generation is very concerned about?
So while on my trip of course you know it was only right for us to explore the fashion scene in the city that is the heart of fashion! From the amusing trends seen in Chinatown, Garment District to the famous Fifth Avenue, our favorite fashion statements came from the locals’ streetwear and eye-catching window displays.
The girls and I observed how the community was able to combine a level of comfort and chic due to their busy on-the-go environment. Trends in the fashion world come and go so quickly it was exciting to spot the difference between up north and down south style which surprisingly does not differ at all. It is clear that fast fashion has oversaturated the market. Don’t get me wrong, as a recent graduate, I can appreciate having access to affordable luxury clothing that will not break my pockets. The rise of resale companies such as The Real Real is now celebrating its 10 year anniversary in business is one of the leading companies in the “luxury sustainability” space in our world of fashion. But, the burning question on all our minds as consumers should be, is “fast fashion” trend taking away from the exclusive feel of wearing an original design? I could easily stop and fall in love with a beautiful display at any flagship store located on Fifth Avenue just to turn around and see a carbon copy being sold on the side of the road.
Between the fast fashion brands duplicating a trend before it can even leave the runway to the eCommerce shops reaching consumers all over the world with just one click. Who’s really running the fashion scene? California has become the hot spot for affordable luxury and major eCommerce platforms. While New York remains the home of most major fashion houses. Both have a plethora of showrooms, manufacturers, and talented industry professionals to choose from. Yet the state of fashion today no longer relies on the designer to tell us what is in, the fashion industry focuses on consumer data analytics to tell the designers what the customer preference is.
It is no secret that fashion is innovative and always looking for the next new trend. Research shows that 88% of consumers prefer that more attention should be paid to reducing pollution according to Mckinley & Company. Sustainable clothing brands are really big on the market right now. Companies such as Zara, Levi, and Aldo have all taken initiative to create eco-friendly products that reduce pollution or help the environment in some type of way.
Doing Good While Being Fashion Forward
The market for pre-owned clothing has increased significantly leaving brands with the responsibility of creating long-lasting garments of quality. In fact, the girls and I took the time to visit this amazing charitable thrift boutique called the Thrifty Hog located on 25th street in New York, New York. The gorgeous window display is what made us stop in our tracks to take a look inside where we were greeted by the friendliest staff. Not only was the store beautiful but the story behind the upscale resale boutique whose proceeds benefit homeless mothers and their children. The store was filled with gently used vintage clothing and accessories for men and women. The atmosphere created by the owner, Debra Koenigsberger, and her fabulous staff was a perfect shopping experience for any group of friends looking to find some new, gently used, and vintage clothing and furniture pieces.
Me with the founder Deborah N. Koenigsberger and fellow contributing editor Sydnee Gordon
All in all, between fast fashion, in-house designers, and the thrifting era the state of the fashion world will always battle with emerging designers and fast fashion manufacturers. California will continue to dominate with affordable luxury designers and fast-fashion brands that appeal to the eco-friendly environment. While New York will remain the heart of high fashion and luxury goods. The question of which is the fashion capital heavily relies on what realm of fashion the consumer desires. It will be interesting to see what the state of the fashion world will be five years from now with the state of the eCommerce and content-driven market. The girls’ trip was a major success just to be able to experience the culture, history, and atmosphere of where it all began.
Therefore, whether you are shopping for yourself as the couple planning your nuptials or attending the wedding as a guest, shop responsibly and make every purchase count for the future of our planet.