Should Ethical/Sustainable Fashion be Quality Fashion?

Of course there are times where the artisan or crafts industries struggle to meet quality standards set by modern manufacturing facilities.  However...

... quality itself is a customer perception!

Regardless of our products we must continuously strive for quality. Our drive for sustainability and ethical practices do not need to compromise the goal of excellence in all we do.  As we revolutionize the fashion industry let us not forget the customers.  After all, they are key stakeholders and need to be treated ethically as much as our staff and suppliers.  Sustainability itself must drive us to produce long lasting products.

It is important that we do not throw away the GOOD values of  'fast' fashion.  If we are in manufacturing or retailing we should familiarize ourselves with the concepts of TQM, 6-sigma and 'lean' (trust me, it is a different concept than what most people think).  The big players in the world are striving to be lean.  Why?  Because it is ethical and sustainable practices that make a company great.  We slow fashion-ists / fashion revolutionists will do well to learn from the likes of Toyota and take key lessons of concepts of continuous improvement, in search of excellence, and lean.

In 1989, the Brundtland Commission articulated what has now become a widely accepted definition of sustainability: “development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

The Ethical Fashion Forum defines ethical fashion: "For the EFF, ethical fashion represents an approach to the design, sourcing and manufacture of clothing which maximises benefits to people and communities while minimising impact on the environment."

We cannot forget the old mantras; excellence and quality.  We must move and understand the new mantas of continuous improvement and lean.  In our revolution, we need to accentuate the good and eradicate the bad.  Keep the components that take us to our goals of meeting needs of the present and future; maximising the benefits to people and communities.  Ensure that our customers are viewed as key stakeholders.  Throw away the baggage that is oppressive and repressive.  To treat each other fairly.  To be kind.  To love!

If quality is a customer perception then we should know what that perception is - then better that perception!  Regardless of our product - we can all strive for that! That is sustainable and ethical!


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