I was recently having lunch with a couple of friends when the discussion turned to my latest read, Overdressed The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline. Having studied Fashion design in college, I pride myself on knowing about garment construction as well as the business of the industry. Needless to say while reading this book I genuinely found myself, for lack of a better word, shocked. Overdressed explores a darker side of Fashion, the impact that cheap clothing has on our society and on our environment. The author traveled abroad to visit factories, conducted interviews, and with choice diction, tried to find the reasons behind our obsessions.
The book focuses on the phenomena of Fast Fashion and the retailers who push it. The last 10 years have ushered in an era where we have become accustomed to and content with buying large, disposable amounts of poorly made clothing. Cline isn't arguing to never buy fast Fashion, but to be more mindful of what we buy, how much, and its place of origin. That the price of an item is more than what is printed on the tag.
I always strive to invest in the best quality of clothing so that with proper care, the items will enjoy a long lifetime. Unfortunately, without an unlimited shopping budget, I am forced to fill in the gaps of my wardrobe with fast Fashion. I do not, however, purchase fast Fashion in abundance. Cline is an advocate for slow Fashion. We should be willing to own less and pay more. We need to buy smarter and take care of the pieces we own. An ideal that was widely practiced by most prior to the invention of mass retailing.
If you have any interest in where your clothes come from and who's making them, buy this book. And if you don't, you should. This book helps to create an awareness. I believe, along with Cline, that we must challenge ourselves to become educated consumers. To realize that there is no bright future in fast Fashion and that we must take a more adept approach to our purchases.
PHOTOS BY OH SO RACHEL