The Serial Shopper is Salute Magazine’s weekly column authored by Fashion Editor Money Jensen. The Serial Shopper is a weekly look into the mind of our quirky and eclectic Fashion Editor and her thoughts on the state of the fashion industry, fashion influencers, and controversial topics within.
As a new year begins, there are always thoughts of how to improve our planet and our general way of life. This can be done through many venues, even what we wear. Many brands have adopted the thought of sustainability in their designs.
But, the thought of sustainable fashion has been around for a long time, not just the last few years. To be honest, some brands have been in the business of creating more environmentally sound clothing products for a long time. Maybe it just seems new because there hasn’t been much of a focus on the subject in the luxury sector.
The Dutch company, G-Star Raw, has been in the sustainability game for years, and their designs have been ahead of the game as well. Started in 1989 the brand specializes in using raw denim to create “high-level craftsmanship with a street level edge.” Their designs have been worn and seen by consumers all over the world for nearly three decades.
The motto of the company is “Just The Product,” but they have evolved to more than that with their attention to detail and design as well as the continued effort to improve the environment and the general way of life for those who make and wear the brand.
For years there has been a global problem with chemicals as well as labor standards within the clothing industry. Even as recently as 2016 and 2017, there were horror stories of workers being paid pennies, or not being paid at all for long strenuous hours of labor, and even losing their lives due to horrendous working conditions. Some workers also sewed “help” letters into the tags of blouses that were being sold at Zara because their wages weren’t paid.
Whether it be high-fashion or fast-fashion, companies can take a queue from G-Star on several accounts.
- They practice a “Zero Discharge” Policy which means their manufacturers cannot use any chemicals that have a harmful effect on health or the environment.
- They independently conduct audits of the facilities which include interviews with the management and workers.
- They are staunch believers in fair wages stating that their suppliers must; “pay employees at least the minimum wage required by local law or the prevailing local industry wage (whichever is higher) based on the work performed. Wages should always be enough to meet basic needs and to provide some discretionary income. G-Star defines this as follows: a fair wage should be earned during a standard working week (maximum of 48 hours per week) and should provide for the basic needs of the family and for some discretionary income.”
These three simple rules, which are part of a much larger program by the company, can change not only the industry but also the world. If more companies were this transparent, especially with the manufacturing of their clothing and the materials, there wouldn’t be such a rush for some to buy into fast fashion. Knowing the impact the $170 dollars spent on jeans, or a pair of shoes has on the environment, and the world is the exact reason why brands such as Toms, have been so successful.
Justifying the cost of luxury items because of the name brand attached is something many people do, but when the brand gives clear reasoning for their prices, other than their name, it gives them not only the respect of the consumer but of their workers as well. Companies that think in these terms are ones who make generational consumers.
As brands fade in and out like the tide, it is time for many companies to think about how they impact the world and creating generational consumers to survive.
Let me know what you think about sustainable fashion in the comments.
For more information on G-Star RAW visit www.g-star.com
Watch: G-Star Raw x Pharell Williams Suit Collection