Independent creators are important in a world of fast fashion.
You may have seen it on Instagram; you may have seen it on Twitter; if you are truly lucky, you may have seen it on yourself—the latest fashion craze: the strawberry dress, made by designer Lirika Matoshi. The strawberry dress, however, is more than just a quick trend. This dress represents small-scale and ethically sourced fashion design. We need more pieces from independent artists to reach such critical acclaim for the sake of fashion and for the sake of our environment.
Long gone are the days of small batches of timeless clothes being produced by skilled seamstresses. Instead, we now have found ourselves in an era of hyper-produced, cheaply and unethically made fast fashion that quickly goes out of our closets and into the landfills. Artists like Lirika Matoshi are trying to change that by offering made-to-order high quality clothing, which leaves virtually no backstock and less textile waste.
Other companies such as Reformation offer high quality eco-conscious fashion as well, and while Reformation is still technically a fast fashion brand, their drive to use sustainable practices is truly inspiring. Their mission statement states, “We put sustainability at the core of everything we do.” Imagine what could happen if every company followed those rules!
However, sustainable fashion cannot be a feasible option until it is an accessible option. The designers and brands stated above have pieces that on average cost $70-$500. This exorbitant cost comes from the financial burden that is caring about the environment. High quality fibres needed to make the fabric, ethical labor, and small scale production make the profit margins much lower, but for the average consumer, spending $70 on a shirt is simply not an option. Therefore, an almost completely sustainable method of clothing consumption is buying from thrift stores. Second-hand clothing is even more sustainable than the brands stated above as there is no need for new textiles to be produced. Thrifting is both an affordable and conscious option for buying clothing. A great chain of thrift stores in Colorado are the Arc Thrift Stores, which raise money to support people with developmental disabilities. Affordable sustainability is important because economic necessity is what drives fast fashion and other wasteful industries, and sometimes, spending two dollars on an unsustainable shirt is simply the only option for the vast majority of the world.
That is why we need more strawberry dresses and more Reformations. The more recognition these brands receive could potentially encourage more sustainable brands to be created, and if the fashion industry at large shifts to a higher demand of these sustainable pieces, maybe one day the strawberry dress, and sustainable fashion, will be available to all.
The Strawberry Midi dress designed by Lirika Matoshi courtesy of LirikaMatoshi.com