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Global warming affecting fashion industry

Global Warming Affecting Fashion Industry

According to an interesting article in Australia’s The Age, global warming is wreaking havoc on the clothing industry. In many parts of the world, there just isn’t as much difference between the seasons anymore and overall the trend is towards warmer weather. The clothing industry relies on delineated seasons to sell different types of apparel. But if you can wear flip flops all year long (and not just in Southern California), clothing sales will drop. Warmer weather also affects the type of fabrics designers use and the styling.

It is forcing fashion houses to ditch traditional seasonal collections for transeasonal garments that may lead to a drastic overhaul of fashion show schedules and retail delivery dates. “The whole fashion system will have to change,” Beppe Modenese, founder of Milan Fashion Week, told The New York Times last week. “The fashion system must adapt to the reality that there is no strong difference between summer and winter any more… You can’t have everyone showing four times a year to present the same thing. People are not prepared to invest in these clothes that, from one season to the other, use the same fabrics at the same weight.”

Mr Modenese’s comments came as New York fashion retailers blamed a prolonged “Indian summer” for poor autumn sales. Who needs a woollen pea coat when it is 30 degrees-plus? So worried are some fashion houses about the impact climate change is having on the way we dress and shop, they are calling in the climate experts. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that American retail giant Liz Claiborne Inc had enlisted a New York climatologist to speak to 30 of its executives on topics ranging from the types of fabrics they should be using to the timing of retail deliveries and seasonal markdowns.

Other US fashion retailer giants, including Target and Kohl’s, have also started using climate experts to plan their collections and schedule end-of-season sales. And from January, Target will sell swimwear year-round. Closer to home, fashion designers say they are increasingly designing transeasonal collections using lighter- weight fabrics for a more temperate climate and readjusting their in-store delivery dates in line with the unpredictable seasons. “There’s really no such thing as defined autumn/winter and spring/summer collections any more,” says Margaret Porritt, of Melbourne fashion label Feathers. “A lot of my garments are more transeasonal and rather than dropping them into store twice a year like I used to, I tend to move things in and out of store every couple of weeks, depending on the weather.”

Things were different when she started the business 35 years ago. “Back then winter went into store in mid-January and summer in mid-June and that was it. There was nothing in between. I also used a lot more heavier wools and made great big heavy coats. I can’t do that anymore; it just doesn’t get cold enough, even here in Melbourne. They just don’t sell.”

It’s true that we don’t buy as much heavy winter clothing as we used to, now that we think about it. And our boot purchases have also tapered off, which is a shame since we adore boots. But unlike Mary-Kate Olsen, we just can’t wear sweaters, coats and boots on an 80 degree day.

We adore winter clothes: cashmere sweaters, fabulous boots, wonderful hats and a gorgeous coat all make an appearance after the first frost. The thought of living year round in shorts is appalling to us. We may have to consider moving north in the future.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007 – 10:51 posted by BlogMeister

Anxiety, Addiction and Depression Treatments

American Fashion Industry Issues, Fails to Enforce Health Guidelines

New York’s February fashion week is one of the industry’s most lavish, celebrated events. Amid the lights, parties and big names, it would seem to be very easy to forget the issue that has wracked fashion for the past year: the increasing prevalence of eating disorders among models and the young women they influence.

Where Spain’s Association of Fashion Designers passed a ruling to forbid the participation of models with BMIs lower than 18 (the World Health Organization states that 18.5 or below is underweight) and asserted that display clothes be no smaller than size 8 (the average American woman wears size 14), the Council of Fashion Designers of America issued a statement containing general guidelines but no plans for direct enforcement. Among their suggestions:

There should be no models under 16 and no work after midnight for models 18 and younger; the consumption of cigarettes and alcohol on location should be forbidden; statements on the early signs of eating disorders should be officially issued to those in the industry; models identified as suffering from eating disorders should be required to receive professional help; the industry should develop workshops designed to address the impact of eating disorders and the negative effects of smoking; organizers should provide “healthy” snacks backstage during shows.

Glaringly absent from this list are any mentions of body mass or plans for enforcing the guidelines proposed within. While designer-sponsored press releases and conferences convey some degree of responsibility on the industry’s behalf, they ultimately amount to little beyond empty attempts to satiate the public’s desire for some form of regulation. Designers attempt to shift blame to the modeling agencies themselves which, they argue, serve as the “mother(s) of the models.” The idea that these agencies should control the eating habits of their models while designers continue to showcase remarkably small clothing is difficult to rationalize. In another flaccid attempt to deflect criticism, the organization’s executive director claims that “A lot of the girls who work the runway are genetically thin. You go backstage and you see a lot of girls eating a lot of food and they’re not gaining weight.” Statements like these strain credibility, and many eating disorder advocates are not satisfied with the measures taken thus far, believing that PR campaigns and suggested guidelines constitute an insufficient response to a very serious problem.

In a society where more than 80% of ten-year old girls describe a fear of getting fat and one in two fourth graders are currently on some kind of diet, those who are even indirectly responsible for shaping the popular conception of beauty and body image need to reassess their own principles. After viewing photos of fashion models, 70% of young women described themselves as angrier and more depressed than they had been before. In surveys, three out of four women listed an ideal size at least 10% underweight. And despite the presence of eating disorders and body image issues across the social spectrum, most insurance companies hesitate to approve treatment for these conditions, essentially making the argument that the issue is not a matter of diagnosable disease but a faulty sense of self-control. Designers, advertisers and models themselves argue that they have no control over the state of their industry and the ideals it projects – they simply go along with whatever sells at the time. Who, then, is responsible, if not the producers of the very images that encourage the epidemic? PR campaigns aside, consumers and public health advocates cannot tolerate this continued reassignment of blame. The fashion industry must own up to its pivotal role in the eating disorder debate and strictly enforce regulations designed to promote healthier, more realistic lifestyles.

Category: Diet , Aging and Eating Disorders

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