Friday, 21 August 2020

Manifesto for the true Fashion Radical

 This is a great newsletter to sign up to for educating yourself about current issues in sustainable and ethical fashion.

The Wardrobe Crisis

It is written by Clare Press who is Australia Vogue Magazine’ “Sustainability Editor”. 

This morning I listened to her interview with Simone Cipriani who works for the UN promoting and educating about the “Ethical Fashion Initiative”. It caused me to roll my eyes up and bang my head on the wall. Press acknowledges only “getting it” about sustainable and ethical fashion since 2014. 

Its mind boggling to realise a whole bunch of Gen XYZ are just getting WOKE. They think sustainable and ethical fashion is a new social justice and environmental issue discovered by them.

Sigh….duuhhhh-ohhh….see this elderly crone waving from over here! Been doing it for 40 years!

One of the British designers Cipriani has connections with is Vivienne Westwood. He facilitates her getting some product made through workers of the Initiative. Westwood is my generation, in fact she’s nearly 20 years older than me.

Vivienne Westwood

My ears pricked up to hear Westwood being mentioned. The great British icon is now 79 years old and was putting her first collections down the runway in the 1980s when I was launching my own micro clothing business. After the contemporary Japanese designers of that era she was a huge influence on me. Not so much her style but for being a radical deconstructer of the bullshit fashion likes to dissimulate about itself. Throughout her career a great deal of what she creates is outright satire, poking fun at the pompous notions of style and taste that the fashion arbiters pretend is their self ascribed genius.


Westwoods "penis shoes" are hilarious. From the 1990s she has continued every season to design a line of penis referenced clothes and goods. This is my kind of deeply vulgar feminism. 

Hearing her referred to in the podcast got me doing a bit of research on what she is up to today I was thrilled to find she is not one iota less the radical she was 50 years ago.

I am in love with her all over again. Still attracted more to the politics and activism rather than the clothes.

Go to her home page and listen to these podcasts!!! There are links for each of them, descending from the current #23, published only a few days ago, if you scroll downward. They are only short, 2-3 minutes generally. 




And I'm still in lockstep with her about capitalism, patriarchy and climate change....

Vivienne Westwoods Climate Revolution Manifesto


I’m glad to say, like Westwood, my inner radical punk hasn't mellowed either. In fact, the passing of decades and witnessing whats happening in our world today only confirms that the awful things which were predicted in the 80s and 90s are unfolding.


If I could get enough time away from needing to make things to sell this is a few broad points of what would be in Pearls Manifesto:


FASHION

1     *  Its obscure to young people that the globalised fast fashion model of production has only entrenched itself in the last 50 years. It wasn’t always so. The world worked fine for 1000s of years with local industry, dressmaker artisans/tailors or family women making clothes. Everybody had something to wear, just a lot less items that they valued more and wore for longer.

C   *  Clothes produced by the fast fashion model aren’t true “fashion”. Successful marketing propaganda of the producers sells the idea that individuals gain status and respect by dressing in certain clothes that signal on trend and cool. Of course, those right clothes change 3 times a year and every year. This is an unsustainable illusion preying on the anxiety of consumers that has normalised a generation to be addicted to constant change and accumulation.

 Don’t buy jewellery with precious metals or gems. This is a status symbol for the elites to display their imagined superiority. Wearing these objects indicates hoarding excess wealth invested in decorative objects while ignoring humans suffering from exploitation and lack of resources. Having items of personal adornment is fun and pleasure but only buy things handmade by artisans made from unpretentious materials that are sustainable and recyclable – wood, shell, clay, cloth, glass, brass, fibre, etc

*  Smash the global fast fashion production model. Return clothes making to primarily a local industry. Encourage and celebrate artisan makers. For people who don’t sew, knit or have other skills to make their own clothes there should be local networks putting them in contact with dressmakers and tailors. Educate consumers about the beauty and artistry of handmade clothes and to appreciate the skills/time it takes to do. Don’t put unwanted clothes into the waste stream - create a market for keeping handmade clothes passed on to wearers who will wear, maintain and value them.

 

POLITICS

*  World govt is inevitable or we'll become extinct as a species. It’s the only way humans will be able to work together in unison to sustain a healthy liveable environment for everybody, everywhere. Clinging to nationalism and its false stories that humans are divided and separated by constructs about patriotism, race and ethnicity will destroy us all. We have to work out how to work together, for the good of all.

 *  Nationalism is a harmful ideology that enables unscrupulous politicians/dictators to create scary propaganda that the citizens already living there “own” the land and that if others were allowed inside the borders they would take “our” land and rights away. The people "outside" are no less our brothers and sisters, just begging our help to have dignity and safety to live their lives to the fullest.

*  The idea borders are necessary to keep bad people out is more propaganda. Borders function to do 2 things. Keep the citizens inside that are needed to provide production and labour. They keep out the people political systems want to define as “others” and “not us”. Getting people to believe there are “good” (inside the country) and “bad” humans is a false and divisive narrative.

*  Universal Basic Income (UBI) will free us from the yoke of the oppressors, whether its capitalists, dictators, communists, fascists or whatever they like to style themselves.


 

Above is my PDF sewing pattern "The Two Pegs". Link to Shopify shop on the right side bar.

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If you are interested in buying an artwork or booking a commission, please email me at pearl@upstairs-art.com.au