One of the ideas that Faustine Steinmetz touched during the talk was her idea of bringing the making of fabrics back to its original process of hand-weaving. Her garments, far beyond being mass-produced fashion items, are the result of a time-consuming and labor-intensive process of making the fabrics and cutting patterns that will then become unique pieces of art. Her garments are not meant to be something that is bought in massive quantities, but something that speaks to its owner and that can last in time.
These two ideas, the time-consuming hand making of clothes and the idea of them lasting, somehow, “forever,” seem to be somewhat contradictory in the field of fashion, where, as Christina Moon explained a few weeks ago, mass-produced fast fashion seems to be the trend that currently defines the industry. Yet we see several young designers that are challenging these ideas: Steinmetz is one of them, but also Siki Im and his timeless designs, and even Pascale Gatzen, who we met at the first class this semester, with her uniform project.
This has made me think of the state of fashion right now and realize that, even if the production and consumption of fast fashion seems somewhat inevitable, it has been able to co-exist with another trend in the fashion industry, one where slowness and humanity seems to be the main focus. Faustine Steinmetz talked a lot not only about taking the time necessary to produce her designs using hand-weaved fabric and avoiding factories, but also about paying fair wages to her employees for their work, and even being able to be respected as a young, emerging designer by the fashion giants. Through her work, and the fact that she has been able to stand in front of some of these oppressive buyers and hold her principles, Faustine has been able to challenge the fashion world and, somehow, transgress it. And this, I believe, is something that we need to learn because, as young people studying the fashion field, we need to be aware not only of the problems it has—which seems to be where we focus the most—but also identify those key personalities that are re-shaping the system and that can lead to a more fair and sustainable fashion world.