image via Hammer, by Robert Fairer
Last night, I went to a panel discussion at UCLA's Hammer Museum, led by Vogue's Fashion News/Features editor Sally Singer. The topic was "Conscientious Consumption: Sustainability and the Future of Luxury." Singer invited Rodarte's Kate Mulleavy, jewelry maker Tom Binns, denim designer Adriano Golschmeid and Dosa founder Christina Kim to talk it over.
The gist of the conversation was: the economy sucks and we all have too much stuff, so how can fashion reconcile itself with that? Of course, because the four designers on the panel all take a handmade, artisinal approach to their work, the question wasn't too hard for them to answer.
The consensus was that the recession will probably move us to look for individual, well-made, fairly-produced items. (Singer described those special pieces as "things that grow in value as you own them, as you wear them, as you use them.") Gone are the days of indiscriminately dropping cash on disposable trends or clothing items we aren't completely in love with.
While this is a fashion philosophy we can get behind, Singer's advice to avoid the 80% off sales that are cheapening luxury and costing designers big time will probably prove to be a harder guideline for most people to follow. We are in a recession, after all.