BY MIA STRANGE
In an ever-changing fashion industry, the issue of creativity is always arising.
It’s a broad topic, and the discussion brings with it plenty of questions. Creativity is a huge part of the industry, but how does it tie into a brand’s ethos? How does it contribute to their image? How does it drive their designs, or inspire their collections?
Creativity is everywhere you look. It’s in every industry, from film to architecture to finance. It might not look the same from place to place, but creativity is needed everywhere.
However, in some areas, it seems like less and less creativity is applied every day. You might think that the fashion industry is always creative, but in the case of fast fashion, it often seems like the opposite.
It’s natural to assume that garments made for fast fashion labels are made with only money in mind. It’s a common business model: brands hop onto popular social media and fashion trends, so they can take advantage of the interest whipped up by celebrities and influencers. They often copy or replicate the designs of popular labels and use them for their own products, in order to maximise profits.
With brands that churn out new products almost weekly, it’s practically unavoidable to think about whether or not they are made with any creativity at the core.
It should be the opposite.
Creativity should be at the core of fashion. The fashion industry was born from creativity, from designers and craftspeople nurturing their craft and bringing their visions to life.
Plenty of companies still value this approach. Luxury fashion brands come to mind, especially, and creativity is much of the reason that these brands seem so luxurious. When you buy an expensive garment, you buy it with the assumption that it was made with love, attention to detail and creativity. Luxury companies take care to cultivate their images as brands with creativity at their cores.
Fast fashion brands don’t really need to do this - their images are often tied to their affordability, and are aided by their ability to quickly copy fashionable trends. Instead of having a carefully cultivated brand identity, they become part of fashion culture by being affordable and readily available, and in turn, they become popular.
This is a step in the wrong direction. Brands should be prizing creativity when it comes to their image, and as we progress into a modern age of online shopping, it shouldn't be taking a back seat. Brands should be proud of their creativity, and they should be promoting it as best they can.
But where does sustainability come in? In my opinion, sustainability is hugely important, and it has the ability to inject creativity back into the fashion industry.
Designing and producing a sustainable product demands creativity. It requires ingenious solutions to ongoing problems. Some of the hurdles on the way to manufacturing sustainable garments can be big ones, ones that need plenty of creativity in order to solve.
Unfortunately, the way the industry has boomed over the last two decades has caused massive problems in many different sectors, such as the environment and the social climate. It has also allowed brands certain grey areas that allow them to become less and less honest and transparent with their practices. It’s easier for malpractice to take place, and to fly under the radar.
Brands and businesses need all the creativity they can get in order to come up with solutions to these problems; it’s like gold dust, especially when it comes to innovation and problem-solving.
This also means the definition of creativity is changing, particularly when it comes to fashion. It’s no longer just about the aesthetics of a garment, like the materials, the cut or the embellishments.
Making a garment sustainable adds a whole new side to it. It makes it more meaningful and more special. This, in turn, encourages a less wasteful approach: if a garment is more special, isn’t it more likely to be kept for years?
The fashion industry’s creativity problem could be solved by encouraging sustainability. Business models used by fast fashion brands rarely require creative solutions, but replacing them with newer, more sustainable models could encourage them.
Creativity shouldn’t be luxurious and expensive, and it certainly shouldn’t be exclusive to designer brands. We should treasure it, and we should hold it in higher regard than an easy buy from a cheap website. It should be one of the most important things we look for when buying from a company.
By encouraging creativity, we are encouraging innovative and creative solutions, which are exactly what we need to move forward. Creativity has always been the basis for design, for fashion, and now it should be the basis for sustainability, too.