Faustein Steimetz’s awe inducing videos highlighting her methodical processes as a slow fashion designer, showcase her authentic production operations through the world of weaving. Hand weaving forces the process of production down astronomically. One cannot weave quickly without being a master artisan and even then the process is arduous. What I found equally astonishing was the London fashion industry’s more collaborative and helpful environment for the preservation of designers’ work; yet this seemed heavily juxtaposed with the fashion production and retailing industry. Steimetz’s visual depiction of her hands manually sewing, threading, weaving, and constructing fabric illustrated another designer who’s artisanship was grounded in the absolute precision of her work, yet the fashion world was trying to quicken, manipulate, and mass produce. Steimetz’s accounts of the SOR system problems between designers and retailers added an additional and crucial level of problematic intricacies in the fashion industry. This illustrates a more intimate top down exposure of industry artisans who are highly skilled workers being compensated unfairly, in a way we can contextualize with industry workers on the production level. I am grateful for Ms. Steimetz highlighting another subtle level of fashion incongruities so that significant layers of corruption are brought to common knowledge.
In regard to Steimetz’s opinions regarding the denim industry, she showcases the opposing nature of denim’s connotations versus the realities of production. Within “When Blue Jeans Went Green” by Bodil Olesen, he illustrates an important continuity between the image of “All American” nostalgia and unity connects with jeans as a platform to the continued over production of cotton for denim manufacturing. Bodil’s statement, “We begin to see how our understanding of jeans far transcends their functional purpose as a clothing item. We imbue them with positive connotations and resonate with some of the collective values that Americans appreciate the most.” (33, 35) Olesen’s extrapolations on the Cotton INC public persona manipulations brings into question another proponent of the demographic losing out through the fashion system: the public consumer. Oftentimes, especially during recitations, we do not speak about the need to protect the consumer as they are normally viewed as the largest predicament in the fashion chain. As fashion students, our comprehension of fashion and capitalism is understood through a consumer’s unlimited wants versus limited resources. While in retrospect, the consumer is usually the least informed component of fashion operations. As consumers are taught and coerced through marketing and projected images to buy and not research manufacturing problems, solely blaming consumers is not a viable option.
Olesen, Bodil. “When Blue Jeans Went Green”. 1st ed. Paradigm Publishers, 2011.31-35