Fletcher’s work in this field for more than two decades, namely in the academy world, as a consultant in companies and communities to put concepts such as “slow fashion” and “local wisdom” into practice. She has written a number of books on this issue, including Fashion and Sustainable Textiles: Travel Design and Craft Usage: Post-Growth Fashion.
Kate Fletcher and Sustainable Fashion Movement
Fletcher went to New Delhi, India to speak at a conference entitled “Rediscovering Culture: Changing Fashion”, organized by the National Fashion Technology Institute (Nift). Other speakers included David Abraham, Abraham & Thakore’s creative director, Radha Chadha, a luxury brand expert and Narendra Kumar, creative director of Amazon India.
Fletcher talks about simple and fundamental changes in the theory of sustainability, which recognize complex steps that are not only the prerogative of the brand makers but also involve consumers to ask themselves how much they need and how much they have to buy.
Sustainability in the context of fashion is about ecological integrity, social equality and a sense of human development. Meanwhile, it deals with products, clothing, things we knit, weaving, sewing, also about actions in the manufacture in the fashion world. This can be seen from the way people use the clothes they already have. Sustainability is more than the decisions made in the supply chain, but more about a guide to living in a good way.
Kate Fletcher and Her Life’s Turning Point
Fletcher grew up in Liverpool, a city in northern England that was very poor by British standards. When she grew up there, Margaret Thatcher came to power. There are policies that have disproportionately negative effects in places like Liverpool and at that point, she has a strong feeling that something must change.
She was also raised in the household with the understanding that acting for the community was an important part of improving daily life. That encouraged as a moment of turning point that made her realize why she wanted to work in a sustainable fashion world.
In the Nift conference, she talked about localism in fashion. What she sees in England is there are many good moves around the issue of sustainability in fashion but the situation doesn’t get much better. Even though efficiency increases, people still behave compulsively and still buy more. At present, work needs to be done around sustainability, namely trying to overcome the problem of reducing the number of goods people buy. There is a work in that tradition.
Fletcher hopes that there is a responsibility to be sustainable that lies with consumers. In the past 10 years, the number of clothes people have bought has increased by about a third. How to suppress people to buy clothes in sufficient quantities because changes in the psychology of consumption can cause changes in the fashion industry.
There is already research and analysis in psychology that shows how happiness and welfare levels are reported to be related to the consumption of material goods. In general, what you see is that after basic needs are met, every additional purchase for new things, clothing or something else has nothing to do with welfare. In fact, it began to weaken it.
In western countries, we see that materialistic attitudes are strongly associated with increased anxiety levels and higher use of anti-depressants and fewer friends.
Kate Fletcher insists that the key question you have to ask is how much we need to buy. The sustainability question related to fashion is not about technical issues such as ensuring that you buy organic cotton but also about how much we really need. Let’s start thinking about how we consume the right clothes for a better life in our planet.