It was a dull November morning as I stood back and watched another lady stand in front of our studio mirror, pulling and poking at a Christmas party dress she bought online.
She listed out her desires for this dress while holding out her iPhone showing the leggy model standing in a distorted position and asked me to make the dress “look like this”. If I got one euro for every time, I heard that and subconsciously said to myself “Not another alteration” in 2019… It dawned on me the unrealistic task of changing this small piece of material to look like the heavily edited image she kept telling me it was supposed to resemble.
With each customer, that came to us with clothes that did not fit them properly, the task of altering these garments was becoming more difficult. Often the time and skill required to alter these clothes are more expensive then what you paid for them, but trying to explain this can be hard for a consumer to understand if you do not come from a garment making/mending background.
Online Shopping Fail
We have all been there, ordered something online only for it to arrive and not look any way flattering on us. I have written about the struggles to find clothes that fit in this blog; if you want to learn the reason behind ill-fitting clothes, believe me, it is not just you that struggles with this.
This is why shops have changing rooms and why clothing companies are now being crippled with the cost of returned clothing coming back to them. Which by the way are usually dumped or incinerated as it costs more for that brand to pay people to sort out the returned clothing than to just bin them…anyway that is for another blog.
The Ouch Moment
I realised by altering fast fashion clothes we were enabling the purchase of them and that by ‘fixing’ these clothes it was allowing the customer to think we could reproduce this dress as the touched up the image with a professional model. This did not sit well with me, and once I explained it to Ann, she instantly recognised the issue. We have been a part of the problem. Ouch. Not one but two things I, Ann and Zobi collectively are not about: Fast fashion and unrealistic body standards.
So there it is, this is why we no longer offer an alteration service, and I hope all the customers I had to turn away for alterations will understand. For Zobi it did not align with our values or the direction we are building towards as a high fashion bespoke business. It is a learning process, I am by no means perfectly sustainable, but I am educating myself daily, and we are trying to run Zobi as ethically and environmentally aware as possible.
Lucy Siegle Author & Journalist
I no longer shop fast fashion, and Ann never has. I often research Lucy Siegle interviews for advice on sustainable fashion. Lucy has a fantastic book I recommend anyone who wears clothes reads called To Die For: Is fashion wearing out the world? This is an excellent article to start with either where Lucy shares tips and knowledge on the reality of fashion and the politics running it. READ ARTICLE HERE
PS Ann has never owned a pair of jeans…that is sustainable fashion dedication!