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Jessie

May 16, 2018

Jessie

Meet Jessie,

It's her job as a luxury fashion buyer to navigate the next on trend items for women whom can afford it, or those that buy into it even if it's a stretch.

Jessie's moral compass also guides her in day to day life of getting dressed, which means finding pieces that make her feel confident in her choices, both fashion and ethics related.

Read on to get an insight into the luxury fashion world. 

As a buyer working in the luxury industry and a self-confessed fashion addict, I am surrounded by fashion all the time. At work, it's about choosing items that are on trend and our customers will want to wear, and at home it's about choosing items that I will feel good in. And sometimes making ethical choices isn't always at the front of mind in either sphere.

 

In the luxury industry there is an assumption that because the price tags are higher, the clothes must be of a higher quality. And while this is often the case, we still need to make sure we are questioning where and how these clothes are made. What exactly constitutes higher quality, and is it the same for every brand?

Often times when we think of luxury fashion we think of expensive fabrics, created by artisans working in small ateliers sewing on beads by hand. And while this may be the case for haute couture gowns, the same cannot be said for the branded t-shirts that are sold as part of a fashion house's ready-to-wear collection.

Luxury fashion is aspirational, and the majority of consumers buying pieces from these brands are trying to tap into the world of luxury, at the price they can afford. In order to offer items in their ranges that cater to these consumers, fashion brands may need to compromise on certain aspects of the manufacturing process to keep prices down. For example, some brands may use Italian leather but the construction of their bags are done in a factory in Vietnam. Sometimes they own these factories and will therefore have visibility to the conditions of the workers, but sometimes they may not.

Every company is different, and as with fast fashion there are varying levels of responsibility and accountability in the luxury fashion industry when it comes to ethical and sustainable practices.

 

Another important lesson I have learnt seeing the industry from both sides, is that price tags can be deceiving. The price of a garment has something to do with the manufacturing costs for sure, but there are lots of other factors that come into play when considering what price to put on those new season loafers. The costs of running the business need to be accounted for (wages, rent, shipping, the list goes on...) but also the perception of the brand comes into play.

Every brand has a brand positioning that they want to protect, an identity that they want to be known for. For luxury fashion houses, they want to be seen as aspirational, exclusive and special - not accessible to everyone. In order to separate themselves from the rest of the fashion industry, they set their prices higher than other brands. The price of this season's hottest designer T-Shirt will always be higher than a T-Shirt from a mid range Australian label, even if they are both using the same quality of fabric and the exact same factory. Because when you buy a logo covered T-Shirt you are buying into the brand as much as the T-Shirt itself.

 

And there is nothing wrong with buying that designer Tee, as long as you know why you are buying it. It is so easy to get caught up in trends and the excitement and creativity of the fashion industry, and there is a lot of fun in that. My favourite part of my day is often the 20 minutes I have in the morning to get dressed (sometimes it takes a little longer!). Choosing my outfit for the day sets my intention and can make me feel powerful, playful, sexy, smart or confident. Reading fashion magazines, following photographers and designers is my version of reading the news. I love being a part of the fashion community and even if I ever changed careers I would never be able to leave completely - I love it too much. 

But as much pleasure as I get from fashion, I try to make sure I understand the impact that my personal and professional fashion choices are making on the world around me. I try to buy from brands where I know where the clothes are made, I work for companies that have transparent production chains, I try not to buy fast fashion and I always look for vintage and second hand gems.

 

I'm not perfect and it's not a perfect system, but being conscious of it is half the battle. Fashion and sustainability do not always go hand in hand, but there are ways to participate in the fashion industry that are more ethical than others. Whether buying luxury or fast fashion, independent labels or global brands we have an obligation to think about where our clothes are coming from.

 

At the end of the day, if sustainability and ethical fashion is important to you, you need to do your homework regardless of the label sewn into the garment.

 

You can feel confident in your choices knowing that Lois Hazel is both luxurious and ethically made.

Shop Jessie's outfit below

Rib top

Rib Tee in Grey, Classic Pant in Silver

 






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