Fashion and responsibility?

Fashion and responsibility?

Mila Burčíková

In late September, the international fashion weeks starting in New York and finishing in Paris have brought, traditionally, casual elegance in New York, rather courageous styles in London, extravagance in Milan and finally, haute couture and another portion of extravagance in Paris.

The latest fashion trends and piers full of long-legged models can hide all kinds of things. However, the world of fashion is far from a self-contained one and, for quite some time now, has not been living in an enclosed bubble of fashion weeks reports and perfectly dressed women. There have been attempts and tendencies to bring a fashion that is compliant with very strict ethical and ecological criteria to prestigious international events, with the ever growing talk of ethics and ecology in fashion. In the course of the last 20 years fashion has become quicker and cheaper. International communication and marketing, along with the increasing competitiveness and growth of foreign production (especially in the developing countries) encouraged the demand and increased customers’ expectations. While clothes are becoming more and more affordable, consumption and waste grow accordingly, bringing us into a vicious circle. Low wages and work conditions in the developing countries, where clothes are made, are often shocking, and the statistics for textile production and their subsequent discarding, as well as natural resources pollution, are horrifying.

That does not mean to say that we should stop putting on clothes. Nevertheless, it could be a challenge to think over what kind of clothes we buy, how often, which items in our wardrobe we really care about. There is a host of answers to the issue how to slow down the dizzying circulation of the fashion industry, at least slightly, and try more sustainable alternatives. One of the options is offered by Mila Burčíková, a Slovak designer, dressmaker and culture theoretician, living in Great Britain, whose clothes studio MISENSE by Mila B is one of the fully certified members of the global forum of ethical fashion The Ethical Fashion Forum. In addition to clothes making, Mila has been devoted, for quite a long period of time, to the relationship between the design and craftsmanship, on the one hand, and social responsibility, on the other one.