As LFW approaches, I get a call from a great friend of mine and couture designer, Omar Mansoor. He is keen to share with me the process behind the making of a collection, and I, in turn, want to illustrate to you why I am more likely to save up a little in order to buy a dress, even if there are cheap equivalents all over the market.
I enter Fashion Capital, a platform where independent designers can access a fashion studio equipped with pattern cutting, a myriad of fabrics, sewing machines to mock up ideas as well as get support from the true unsung heroes of fashion – seamstresses, as well as second opinions from fellow designers.
It’s convenient to forget about these skilled professionals when celebrity XYZ can simply parade in the finished product. So convenient in fact, that not only glory and acknowledgement have been reduced to nothing but also working conditions and salaries. We hear stories of sweatshop workers working in basements with their passports and dignity taken away – and think of them as just that, stories. Because of labour for nothing (or close to nothing), poorer synthetic fabrics and avoidance or completely minimising fees for hiring a factory (if the labourer simply works from the discomfort of their homes that are falling apart as there is no money for renovation), then of course the dress will sell for dirt cheap is making it an exciting prospect for bargain hunters. I mean it’s only a fiver like, I am totally getting this, but first – lemme take a fitting room selfie. And that is how this circle works.
After the catastrophe in Bangladesh which actually was reported on (many such examples are swept under the carpet), people are generally more aware of how sad and helpless the situation is. But simply knowing is not enough. If you want to know the more about the current state of fast fashion and how money is made, I urge you to read Lucy Siegle‘s book. I said it before, I’ll say it again – the book will open your eyes. And I am not paid for continuos endorsement of this book, it just IS that good.
That being said, no one is paying me to praise the platform that Fashion Capital is providing for independent designers. I feel very privileged and lucky that they kindly opened their doors to me – I could see people enjoying their jobs, progressing in their careers and working in a friendly and a pretty cool environment. But of course, it is hard work. If I am to purchase a dress by the designers who use Fashion Capital, I will know where my money is going. Sadly, having such knowledge is considered a luxury rather than the norm.
Fashion Capital – thank you for having me over, the world needs more places like yours. Another huge thanks to Omar for giving me a little intro into his newest collection – it’s going to be rock’n’roll!