I think we would both agree that there are many items in our closets that we will treasure forever and never get rid of. Whether it’s the black, silk Ralph Lauren slip dress that I bought when I was 22 (on sale!), or my first Lacoste polo (in peach, but with a prominent bleach stain near the hem), I keep these things not only because I hope to pass them on to my daughter one day, but also because they were so well made, they still look good.
After reading Julian Sancton’s article in Bloomberg Businessweek about “fast fashion”, I think there are few things in my daughter’s closet today that will last until next week, let alone next year.
According to the article, stores such as H&M, Zara and Forever 21 react to fashion trends immediately, and get them to the consumer in record time. Their hidden secret is that they actually encourage their consumers to see their trendy clothes as disposable, only meant to last for a wash or two. My daughter is a huge fan of Forever 21, and while it is affordable for me to spend $5 on a t-shirt that she will quickly outgrow, that t-shirt usually falls apart even before she hits her next growth spurt.
With the world’s focus on creating a more sustainable environment, with less waste, I will be curious if we see a movement back toward the purchase of clothes that are classic and well-made, and can be recycled by handing them down to siblings, or up to future generations.
Although, I highly doubt that any of one of our three daughters would ever wear our famous Laura Ashley dress!