Slowing the Mass Industrial Process

Picture 7Faustein 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

2 responses to “Slowing the Mass Industrial Process

  1. I agree with you that Faustine offered good insights into the problematic relations between emerging designers and retailers. This adds greatly on what we understand a designer’s tasks and challenges would be. It is tough for them indeed. Then it also makes Faustine’s courage to carry on her distinctive belief and vision so much more treasurable and applaud-able. I like the way you understand slowness and fastness here. You see a slowness in craftsmanship and connect it with good features like creativity, accuracy, contentiousness and quality. Juxtaposing it with the mass production of factory, the machine, the assembly line, to me is quite enlightening to me. I have never thought about slowness in this way as well as its rich values and significances, except the denial of the seasonal fashion system by designers like Mary Ping. To many who think the system’s fastness as problematic, it is a good start to think about the values of slowness. Then, it will be more clear what direction one wants to go as to tackle the problematic feature of this system.

  2. I like your post! Faustin Steinmetz is very talented young designer whose clothes are based on simple things manually processed in complex techniques. The designer processes everything manually so that the mass production and sales in stores around the world are practically impossible. As a result, there appears a nice combination of denim with couture techniques of manual work.
    Faustin makes people look from the different point of view on luxury ideals, which are prevailing in the fashion world. She is a great designer, who is not afraid to provide her own ideas. Faustin’s main merit is that she is not afraid to give a new life to the old things and she proves that the real art requires time for its creation.

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