Alarm bells are ringing about how we are wasteful consumers of the world’s resources. Outcries are being voiced against our misuse of fossil fuels to drive our cars and heat our homes. We are admonished to save a tree by not using paper towels and facial tissues, wasting writing paper and buying books.
However, our motor vehicles do take us to work and school and take us to visit rural friends. My pickup truck hauls firewood, rocks, gravel, lumber and saplings to enable me to heat my home, repair my driveway, build and repair things around my home and reforest my rural property.
If I resorted to cloth handkerchiefs, I’d have the unsanitary and distasteful chore of washing them. My library of notebooks contains precious records of experiences, plans, dreams and creative writing. I also frequently return to the volumes of fiction, reference books, photo albums, maps and brochures that have my bookshelves groaning. This treasury of printed material allows me to travel the past, write my present-day columns and make plans for future bicycle rides, canoe trips and hikes.
Therefore, I feel somewhat justified in using resources as I do.
However, here is an element in our culture that in my opinion ‘forces’ us to make extremely wasteful decisions as consumers. I call the people behind this driving influence the ‘fashionistas.’ I use this term as it brings to mind another ugly driving force that was known as the ‘fascists.’
One of the first ‘fashionistas’ was19th Century Charles Frederick Worth, for whom the term ‘couturier’ is said to have been coined. My research tells me that his reputation as a clothing designer and manufacturer was so forceful that he told his clients what they must wear, rather than him following their instructions.
Today’s fashion leaders, the so-called trend-setters, the panderers to ‘haute couture’ are those who I call the ‘fashionistas.’ They have revered names such as Christian Dior, Tommy Hilfiger, Pierre Cardin and Coco Chanel. One of China’s notable ‘fashionistas’ goes by the name of Spy Henry Lau. Since China is infamous as a reverse engineering knock-off producing nation, is it just a coincidence of language that his first name is ‘Spy’?
Like dictators, today’s ‘fashionistas’ utter their edicts from cities such as Paris, Milan, London, New York and Zurich.
So many in our Western Society are led by the nose by these fashion despots. Each year they determine what is the ‘in’ colour and shade, the correct level of the hemline and neckline, the profile of the shoes’ heels and toes, the type of glitter on the accessory handbag and the amount of cleavage to be shown.
As a result, our closets are wastefully crammed with impulse buys we’ll never wear, the sales tags still hanging from them, or outfits that are not acceptable to wear for more than a year, unless you include when they are carted out on Hallowe’en or for a period play.
How often do we replace an article of clothing just because it needs a touch of mending, or is no longer in fashion? I say it’s about time we say, “The Emperor has no clothes!”