Recently, I enrolled in an online fashion course on Coursera. I wanted to learn more about the history behind fashion and how it evolved overtime. To complete the course, participants had to submit a 300 – 500 word personal essay about course related topics with regards to at least two (2) pieces in our closet and how it deepened or shifted the way one thought about fashion. I love sharing my experiences with you guys and so I thought I would share my piece.
Be sure to check out the Fashion As Design course on Coursera if you are interested!
The Mindful Revelation of an Aspiring Fashion Designer
Upon completion of this course I reflect on my relationship with fashion, how it has shaped me and revolutionized over centuries. As an aspiring fashion designer, I had begun this course expecting to learn merely about the history of fashion but have left with so much more – a true appreciation for such a multifaceted art. Perusing my closet now, I feel a sense of closeness yet still perturbed about owning some pieces.
My red and black flannel shirt dress for instance has me quite intrigued. Being a strong advocate of comfort, I can truly appreciate this piece. The flannel has stood the test of time, cycling and evolving through different eras. I cherish my flannel shirt dress because of the light cotton fabric and free silhouette which provides maximum comfort. Even though it is not conformative to the contours and curves of my body, I still feel sexy and confident when wearing this piece due to the free movement it provides me and the alluring cut and design of the piece.
My black leggings is an ultimate favourite. I love its versatility. Unlike my flannel, it conforms to the shape of my body. However, it is still able to provide ample modesty, making me feel secure, confident and comfortable. The elastane fabric composition, provides comfort and ironically free movement when worn. Thus, I can effortlessly create ensembles for any event with this classic black beauty.
Although I love these two pieces, I am left concerned about its origins and how they are made. The flannel shirt dress is said to be 100% cotton while the leggings is made of an un-noted synthetic fabric which is not biodegradable. While I am thankful that the flannel does not contain fabrics which are harmful to the environment such as, polyester, I cannot help but wonder if the cotton is truly organic or comprised of synthetic counterparts. This raises even further concern about labour and processing. Not knowing how the cotton was attained and by whom is truly worrying as cotton was known to be a driving force of slavery in the past. Even today, top companies have established sweat shops in developing countries where labourers endure unhygienic working conditions while being underpaid. As these countries do not have proper labour laws enforced to protect labourers, the problem is further augmented.
In the face of fast fashion and e-commerce where quality is often overlooked in order to meet the high demands of consumers, I cannot help but be extremely bothered by not knowing where my pair of leggings was made, how and with what fabric. Water usage is another key issue when thinking about processing. Many countries today face serious water shortages, especially developing countries. In the fashion industry, where water is an integral part of production, it is imperative that companies adapt more sustainable production systems at all levels.
In retrospect, the knowledge this course has imparted onto me is eye-opening and something that has made me more mindful for my future fashion business.
Leave a comment below and let me know what you thought of this piece. How has your outlook on and relationship with fashion evolved or changed overtime?
As always, to God’s blessings, prosperity, faith, happiness and love!