How Clothes Impact Your Life: Re-examining Fashion
Let's make sure we're all starting out on the same page, how many of you got dressed this morning all right? I can't see all your hands up there, but hopefully everybody has their hand raised and none of us are naked. Otherwise, you might have a little bit of an awkward conversation with your seatmates. All kidding aside, you thought about what you would wear today. You probably thought about where you were going, the weather, who you were seeing what you were going to do, even if you think you know nothing about fashion, you know enough about it to put clothes on your body today. I love fashion. Let me be more specific. I love the business of fashion so much so that I pursued my PhD in it but I'll. Let you in on a little secret, the fashion industry, as we know it is obsolete. The fashion industry is in drastic need of change in order to make it more. Technologically innovative and sustainable, but change in the industry I believe, begins with changing our perspective of how we make meaning from fashion and that's what I'm here to do to re-examine our perspective on the fashion industry. In order to open up the door to entrepreneurship and innovation and make it more sustainable but being in my position gives me a front-row seat to our cultural understanding of fashion as frivolous and unimportant. Let me give you a particularly memorable example in during my first year of my doctorate, I returned home to our small town in Texas and we were sitting around a dinner table with friends and family. When somebody asked me what I was working on and I began to proudly answer that I was working on my pee gee and before I could finish my sentence, my little brother jumped in and said, but it's not a real PhD because it's in fashion now I Get that he meant it as a joke to get a quick laugh at my expense and he certainly achieved it, but I'd also. It cut me to the core to hear that somebody, I loved so much didn't see the value in the thing that I loved doing. But if you think about it, is it any wonder we think of fashion as frivolous, because we don't need to be pretty handsome or attractive fashion is merely stuff of women in the home things, our mothers and our wives do for us silly things to keep us Preoccupied, it's not for serious or for smart people. It'S for people who have nothing better to do fashion is merely the constant consumption of goods that ceaselessly move in and out of our lives as trends come in to style and go out of fashion. The industry is criticized for telling us what we should be buying and wearing at this point in time, but also consider this fashion is an industry that touches every human life. We all adorn our bodies with something, and we all exchange things of value to obtain the things with which we adorn our bodies. Fashion is valued at more than two point four trillion dollars annually. That'S about three hundred and twenty-five dollars per person on the planet spent every year and on a personal level fashion is both an opportunity for self-expression in a way of aligning ourselves with our culture and community. But let's face it fashion and really the purchase of apparel is, at this point purely an emotional decision. For the most part, we don't actually need new clothes, but I believe that this personal and emotional decision is not only imperative to the development of our economy, but to the development of our humanity. Fashion has the power to change the world, but not if we don't take it seriously, not since the invention of the sewing machine, have we truly Chi achieved efficiencies in how our clothing is made? We have sped up the rate of production by putting pressure on other elements of our supply chain, including the individuals who make them every item on your body today was made with human hands re-examining our cultural relationship to the fashion industry. It'S how we will achieve an industry that is both technologically innovative and sustainable fashion is considered the second most polluting industry in the world and for the last 10 years for the last decade, the discussion of sustainability continues to rise, and yet what is sustainability? I live and work in fashion every day and I still don't understand what it means to be sustainable. I have a PhD in fashion and I still don't get it. I'M still confused because coming to an answer or a single definition as to what is sustainable, brings into question every element of our supply chain, because fashion is a global industry, it is fractured across small businesses and independent suppliers throughout the world. There is not one single solution and every decision we make will have both positive and negative consequences, and that is why it's time to re-examine our relationship to the fashion industry, for example, should we recycle plastic bottles and then turn them into threads that then go into Making our apparel items we're already seeing t-shirts and tote bags on the market made from recycled polyester, but now we also know that washing these items and any item made out of synthetic materials, including polyester, puts microscopic particles of plastic into our water supply and also our Food chain is that the best option, or is it simply a return to the way that we used to make clothes called slow fashion using artisan and craftsman production methods? Ideally, these things should be made locally, or at least within the country of origin and in the best case scenario made using organically grown cotton, wools and linens. But what about all this? I hear about the substantial amount of energy and water production required to make these products or the shortage of labour to make these garments for most of us. This is simply a luxury that we can't afford simply returning to the way that we used to make clothes is like rejecting the combustion engine for a horse and carriage. We must push forward, but they give us a third option: stop consuming or at least consume less by vintage. I love this image being naked. Is the number one most sustainable option? Don'T you wish you had your hand down [ Music ] buying vintage is number two, but also this requires a massive change in behavior that is inconsistent with our human desires, because you see we use fashion, not only the consumption of it, but the creation of it To express who we are, and the way we want to live fashion is not a static element who we are is not a static element. These things change and evolve over time. Some things will remain constant, but other things will move in this way. I can mark moments of transition in my own life by changes in my closet, things that have stuck with me over the years. Things that I have let go and new things that bring me joy when I discover them. The democratization of fashion means that we now have the power to express who we are and the way we want to live. The importance and diversity of expressing ourselves through our clothes and what we wear will and only and should only increase, because fashion signifies, where we are from our culture. Our norms, our belonging to common ideals, while at the same time showcasing our individuality, our diversity and our aspirations. Fashion is one component of our freedom of individual identity, our capacity for creativity and our path to self-actualization. I came to fashion reluctantly. I too didn't take it seriously, even though I loved it immensely growing up fashion was not important, except when it was. It was, of course, important that we would get dressed up for special occasions because we needed to be dressed appropriately, but to express joy about these things that you brought into your life meant that you were vain and silly materialistic and selfish. During my teenage and my college years, I spent them a lot reading the pages of American Vogue, and I never once considered that this thing that I loved this thing that I thought about every day when I got dressed in the morning, fashion could really be a Part of my life, I was a girl from a small town. What chance did I have to be part of an industry reflected in the pages laying before me, but after I finished my master's degree, I missed something. I missed the academic journals and at the time I was reading American Vogue and I saw these articles about emerging designers and I wanted to understand what we knew about these entrepreneurs who are launching new companies from a scientific perspective. So I went back to the library and I began my search and nothing. I found articles on established companies like Burberry and Ralph Lauren. I found articles on retail in internationalization, but nothing on the entrepreneurs who are launching new companies and now what just seems like the next step in my journey, but was actually years of stress and struggle. I moved my husband and my dog across an ocean to London and I enrolled in the London College of Fashion to pursue a business degree at an arts university. During my time in London, I learned two things: one, that the fashion industry, as we know it, is obsolete and two that the extraordinary individuals who are participating in this industry and contributing to it are no more or less extraordinary or fantastic than any number of individuals. I meet anywhere else in the world, they were just lucky enough to have access to participate, and our reality is is that there is fantastic talent everywhere and now is the time to empower individuals through entrepreneurship and to innovate and make this industry better. This understanding has propelled me forward to the next step. The future of our industry will be built through disruptive entrepreneurship. That changes the way we design experience, make buy and dispose of our clothing. It'S going to take innovators to design new business models and apply new technology to make and create the future of fashion. So I launched aesthetic ventures a company to build other companies. My mission is simple: to empower extraordinary entrepreneurs with the resources they need to profoundly impact. The future of fashion, I believe, a new era of fashion, is upon us, one that is sustainable. Ethical, meaningful, functional aspirational and joyous sustainability and technology should not be a unique selling proposition, but the status quo we should all be sustainable. We should all be innovating in what we do and we now have the power to innovate at every segment of our supply chain, including our design from to production and distribution to disposal. I don't have all the answers of how the industry will change, but I do know that we can begin with re-examining our perspective of fashion recognizing how important this industry is not only to our individual but our cultural identity and, like the gap I discovered when I Was beginning my PhD research, I now see an opportunity to open up access through entrepreneurship, to this industry, to anyone anywhere that has an innovative idea, technology or solution, and I believe that improving our supply chain, improving, improving our fashion industry begins with re-examining our perspective and Recognizing the power and meaning fashion holds in our lives. I first became aware of how important fashion was in my life, when I realized that many of my most important memories were intimately connected with the thing that I wore for the occasion like the year. My baby brother was born. I don't remember much about this time, except the look of his beautiful face. How absolutely thrilled I was to be a big sister and my perfectly pink polkadot dress that I wore to his christening. It was important to me to be beautiful when I celebrated this new baby that had just entered my life. I was only 6, but I knew then that the clothes I put on my body meant something we are all participants. We all put these items on our bodies every day. They are gifts and cherished items that mark the passage of time in our lives. They are splurges and lucky finds and vintage stores they are made by us and for us when it comes to fashion. If you have a great idea technology or business solutions, please pursue it, build the company because we need more innovation faster. If you already work in this industry, please do everything you can to improvement. Like I said in the beginning, fashion is my business. I love it and this is what I'm dedicating my life to, but I also get that most of us will only ever just wear clothes and that's totally cool by the things that you love but also love the things that you buy, because these are the items That you live your life in. Thank you.

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