As I reflect on what I’ve learned in the past few weeks, I’ve continued to think about the aspects of the product cycle that are important to me and how to challenge the current mode of demand and supply.
Through discussions with some of the students both from Xi’an and Wellington, I have noticed that overall fashion is used as a tool for self expression. The main driver for majority of the students consumption habits is to portray certain ideals about themselves, whether it be fitting within a social clique, striving to meet an ideal of ‘beauty’, or alternatively trying to keep their image understated as to not attract attention. Fashion has and always will be a part of the many cultures that exist, so how can we continue to engage with it as a rich cultural phenomenon, whilst separating ourselves from the destructive systems behind its formation and consumption?
I would like to focus more on the idea of the artisan or designer in a modern context. Using visual communication strategies to encourage consumers to engage with artisans and craftsmanship. I want to change the understanding of ‘designer’ from being a brand advertised in fashion magazines with huge price tags, to being a person or company who spend valuable time and skill creating a product.
By understanding the value of product creation this will increase the product value as perceived by the consumer. There is much greater value placed on hand-made products, and people are more willing to pay a reasonable price (reflecting the true cost of production, rather than the price mass production).
In New Zealand, there has been a cultural resurgence of people learning crafts, through a resurgence of retro and vintage and the already existing DIY culture. An example would be tutorials on ‘how-to’ knit, crochet and craft clothing, homewares, furniture and more, for example in Frankie Magazine, Rookie magazine, Pinterest, http://www.instructables.com. It would be great to foster this culture in fashion as a way to increase the product value so the consumer alter their consumption habits and buy quality, and repair products when necessary.