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An interview that made me turn back.

In his interview with the Financial Times, Guram Gvasalia, one of the founders of fashion label Vetements, points out that the fashion industry produces the second largest volume of pollution in the world, after the oil industry. I love fashion, but this interview turned me around.


As an insider of the fashion industry, Guram Gvasalia, who founded the fashion label Vetements with his brother in 2014 and works as creative director for Balenciaga, part of the Kering Group, delivers in his interview in the weekend edition (5/6 August 2017) of the Financial Times amazing numbers: On average, only 20 percent of the respective branded clothing is sold in specialist shops or department stores at the regular price.

The rest is first reduced and then ends up in the outlet center. Since many items of clothing do not find a buyer there either, 30 percent of all items of clothing end up in landfills. What a waste of labour, material, energy and transport.

The false appearance of exclusivity

One might argue that the prices of some items of clothing range from high to prohibitively high and therefore find few buyers. We all love exclusivity. If only it were so, because Guram Gvasalia says in the same breath that only part of the respective collection ends up in the well-known luxurious flagship stores or exclusive department stores.

The majority is produced for the so-called secondary market, business in destinations for which one does not want a flight ticket as a gift. Specific collections are also produced for outlet centers, which are intended to benefit from the brand name but otherwise have nothing to do with the brand.

‘Trash’ in the window of Saks Fifth Avenue New York

Guram Gvasalia clears up many illusions about the fashion industry and staged it spectacularly with Saks Fifth Avenue New York. Saks Fifth Avenue’s famous storefronts were stocked over a few weeks with house clothing donated by department store employees and clothing that didn’t sell.

While the Saks Fifth Avenue shop windows are usually an oasis of good taste, in which luxurious fashion is perfectly staged in a creative form, the shop windows resembled a heap of clothes until mid-August, which looked as if a few old clothes containers had been dumped there. After the end of the campaign, the clothes went to a charitable organization.

A fantastic coup in terms of PR. The industry was in turmoil and almost all publications in the fashion industry discussed extensively whether this action was art, a political statement or just ugly and unnecessary. Compliment – there is no better way to get attention for your own brand in one of the most important sales markets.

Guram Gvasalia, with his reference to the overproduction that the fashion industry accepts year after year, also provides the perfect arguments for the fact that Vetements garments are only produced in very limited quantities, with correspondingly high prices and exclusivity.

The arguments convince me

His arguments made me critically rethink my own fashion shopping behavior. Actually, I thought I was somewhat exemplary. Preservation and quality have always been important to me. I’m a good customer of alterations and proud to have bought some clothes strategically so that they can still score years later.

I have absolutely no sympathy for the throwaway mentality of clothing. And in my view, extremely low prices for clothing cannot be ethically justified. The safety standards and working conditions under which these garments are manufactured in bitterly poor countries are often just as low.

When I look at my pictures of beautiful moments from the last few years, I always discover the same favorite pieces of clothing on me, even though my wardrobe would have had a multiple selection ready.

Clothing Detox is now my motto

1. Less is more.

It is better to have a few favorite items than an overflowing wardrobe. Since I find the “if it hasn’t been worn in the last year, throw it away” argument to be arrogant and wasteful, the stock will be reduced over time. Mainly by making fewer purchases.

2. The fabric quality is crucial.

Only a very high proportion of wool or pure silk allows the garment to retain its shape and color over the years. Then a higher price is justified. Pure plastic combinations, on the other hand, no matter how hip they look, are no longer in my closet.

When it comes to a garment with a high proportion of synthetic fibers, I can already see the worry lines on the expert’s forehead in mine

Clothes cleaning, which studies the cleaning label of a new piece of clothing of mine and basically knows that I won’t be able to enjoy this piece for long due to the high proportion of synthetic fibres.

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However, my cleaning costs will explode, as these plastic beauties usually require an excessive amount of cleaning before the fabrics become unsightly relatively quickly. Despite their high price.

3. No more event purchases.

If I enter a very important or particularly nice date in my calendar, my next click has often been to one of my favorite fashion portals. There you will usually find exactly the ideal dress, the perfect coat or the optimal skirt for this event.

If I see a very attractive piece of clothing in a store, my creativity has no problem coming up with a possible event for it and I usually get immediate confirmation. “Buy the dress, the event will come” said the saleswoman on London’s Bond Street. Previously Worn: Never.

4. Perfect or not at all.

Far too many items of clothing in my closet look perfect but unfortunately don’t fit. The most common reason: sales. If it’s not a problem to consistently lose weight again, then it fits perfectly. Or: It’s actually too big, but there’s definitely something that can be done about it. The reduced price is so seductive that the experience or reason is reduced just as rapidly.

5. You can also curate the wardrobe.

Some of the clothes in my closet that never became favorites I had bought in a hurry with a lot of time pressure. On the other hand, how much time do you spend buying art to hang in your own four walls? You take your time, choose, weigh up and think very critically about what the art will look like in the rest of the context.

From now on I will be the curator of my closet and appreciate the few perfect pieces in it all the more.

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