Friday, 24 October 2014

Sustainable fashion

"Efficient mass manufacturing in lower cost countries has brought about low end-prices of garments, cheap product prices lead consumers to impulse purchases and unsustainable consumption behaviour: overconsumption, very short use time of products and premature disposal of the product."     Niinimäki 2011

It is a very simple pattern. And inevitably, one thing leads to another.

Yesterday there was a very good column in the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper. Tavara ei ole liikaa by Roosa Murto. It is in finnish. So happy that someone has written what I have for a very long time been thinking.

The idea in the article is to question our ability to justify consumption by recykling or giving away things. Oh, even I do that. I am happy that I only do that occasionally. For ex. I and L have also decided to challenge ourselves - if we need to buy clothing during the following year, it shall only be second-hand. Except shoes and underwear and socks. But this is also adding to the consuming trend.

In the article Roosa wonders how so many people proudly declare how they dumped ten garbage bags full of clothes to charity. And how getting rid of unnecessary things makes us feel liberated. It does. But why do we need to hoard things and clothes in the first place. Even people who recykle and are against wasting goods, do this. 

I think it is very good to stop and think. Because if the world continues to consume the way we do, we will go under and drown in waste and pollution, even faster than we think.

I get that a lot. Now when I renovate the house. The, why don't you buy it new instead.  Or questions on why I want to use some of the stuff I found on the premises. Yes obviously I could have bought a new sink to my bathroom, but there was a perfectly working sink that I found in the garden. Why not clean and use it. Or the stove. It is not the most modern stove, it works perfectly, it fits my needs. I love to cook. I don't need a contemporary restaurant-like kitchen. It will look great in my kitchen. The persons I bought the house from had found it. It has hardly been used. 
Obviously it is easy to declare opinions like these, from where I stand. I have a chance to choose. And the examples above, where, items that I thought fitted my plans on how I want to renovate my house and what pleases my eye. Had the sink not been white, and the size and model it is, maybe I would have chosen to buy a new one instead. 
And the same goes with the stove. 

Roosa continues by opening up the idea, that we first need to give up on old things, in order to allow us to buy new. The statement is so usual, no one really stops to think, when did it become normal and usual, to have bags filled with unnecessary clothes waiting to be carried to the fleamarket or charity. The easier it is to get rid of unwanted and unnecessary things, the easier it is to get more. As if, by giving away things you've bought, would be the same, as if you would never have bought it in the first place.

The idea is by all means insane. But very common.

Roosa is very clear in asking for an attitude change, to stop hoarding and instead value the things we have.

If you are interested, there is a book that you can download from Aalto university, about sustainable fashion. It can be found here.  



Cheri said...

Oivallinen postaus. Ostan melkein kaiken käytettynä, silti nurkkiin kerääntyy ajan myötä ylimääräistä. Olemme yltäkylläisyyden keskellä kadottaneet suhteellisuudentajun.
Kun olin lapsi oli sohvan elinkaari monta kymmentä vuotta ja ne myös kestivät sen ajan, nykyisin pari vuotta vanha sohva on rojua.

Brigitta Huegel said...

I agree with you heartily. When I was for 10 days in England this year I was surprised that I could live with the (well-planned) content of one boardcase - and felt good!
As to kitchen: ours moved with us many times - in Berlin the moving-men were astonished that I still (!) kept it - they were quite aware that we had the money to spend on a new one - but why? Why do that if everything is OK?