I’ve written a lot about the wasteful society and throw away age over years and as predicted the devious nature of modern manufacturing is slowly but surely being exposed.
In recent papers we are seeing evidence of sweatshop labour being used on our own shore where people are expected to work thought this pandemic is close confinement and paid what is illegal rates of pay to produce fast fashion in the UK. There has been a degree of conscious blindness and a public attitude to the ‘not in my back yard’ logic where it is deemed acceptable if out of sight out of mind practices are applied by the large corporations overseas. It’s very strange when the young generation are all to ready when raising concerns about any type of ism, yet negate the social conscience with the effects caused by their demands for cheap tech, fast fashion and cheap everything else, made in China. Where are the right’s campaigners and demonstrations for this gross misconduct to those people it effects? I guess it’s not a subject that sits well in their identity as many are as guilty as much of the rest of society for this.
I guess the erosion of identifying genuine quality has a real impact on decision making by consumers and the fact many businesses recognising there is more to be gained in producing goods that have a shorter life expectancy. Fashion played a very important role in this, regardless of whether it’s something we wear, how we live & work, the cars we drive and the homes we live in, fashion typically isn’t something that identifies itself with preservation. There was a time when quality mattered but this was undermined by ‘imitation & mass manufacture’ with shortcuts to reduce costs. The public ignoring the fact of the genuine original piece took time to design and create in small numbers. The high street simply disrespected the source and rode rough shot over all that stood in its way, this has been the true deception that played an important part in downgrading quality, it creating the illusion the public embraced without any thought to the wider consequences.
The demand for fresh, new products has driven consumerism to heights that encouraged vast amounts of needless waste! Look at the early 2000’s and the trend of minimalism which basically resulted in the public dumping extraordinary amounts of good home furnishings (including antiques) in the name of ‘style’. Ironically this is now being replaced with poorer quality ‘on trend’ products which often have minimal life expectancy, that’s until the next wave of new trendy products are regurgitated from the bowels of ever cheaper manufacturing techniques and materials used to create another illusion for them to consume.
Is the world really going to continue like this? Will the planet sustain an ever growing population of wasteful consumers? We all know the answer to this and their should be an ever growing need to highlight this and get the subject on the table along with global warming as it is a significant contributor and to why the ecological problem has many factors that need addressing.
The facts are clear, in the last 25 years there have been millions of tools produced yet many have not survived and those that have are certainly not of adequate quality to be deemed viable to use once they are past their best ‘new out of a box’ condition. You only have to look to see there is NO used tool market for semi modern tools to realise that they are simply disposable and the waste of natural resources. The massive amounts of energy used to produce them was nothing more than a faceless scandal. It’s simply madness on a global industrial scale and quite frankly irresponsible for this to continue.
Our grandchildren should not have to suffer the consequences of this, their inheritance will not be heirlooms of ‘what their forefathers made’ but instead mountains of discarded ‘off trend’ waste that has no value or quality. Even the homes being built today will likely need replacing due poor construction techniques, this will not serve them well but instead will become another burden around their necks.
Train of thought: If we cannot value people’s skills and effort how can we possibly expect others to hold that same value? That on the face of it is the answer, people want to be appreciated and valued, yet they undermine this with their own sense of importance by not valuing others, hence why the lack of understanding and appreciation of genuine quality. In our own selves, our unconditional love for our families and friends may be the answer, to do and be the best we can for those that matter. There is an element of selflessness in bringing up children, looking after our elders and our spouses, time and effort in creating something special is within us all.
There has to be more appreciation and respect for those who make beautiful things, save and repurposed good quality products that our forefathers made and those created from the mind with passion & skill. Skills allow people to express their individuality, a part of themselves lives on in what they created. What I have come to realise over the years is that it’s amazing how ‘on trend’ things can be when incorporated into a design with care and skill, it’s just interior designers failure to understand how to best incorporate them properly.
There has to be a change in public attitude and some real sole searching into how their consumerism affects others and the planet as a whole. The emphasis of Governments who need to recognise SMEs who help with recycling, re-purposing and craftsmen who produce high quality hand built items that in themselves should be deemed as ‘works of art’ and not comparable to mass production.
Mass production should be a defined process and their potential future waste has all the trademarks of worthy and credible taxation that each country needs in the future. This may also help the consumer make wiser choices when purchasing new disposable goods.
If this isn’t a good enough reason to start making meaningful things then I guess nothing would, but there is an increasing number of people who do take this seriously who will lead the way. We are glad to be part of this revolution and like those also established can take heart from the fact everything we do day in day out has an impact on waste.
Quality Matters as it has a significantly lower impact on the environment due to the items lasting longer, performs better and generally looks unique. Quality doesn’t mean something needs to be new, it can be antique, vintage, refurbished or adapted & re-purposed.
If something new is cheap there is a reason! It’s never a bargain, you only get what you pay for, someone’s misery and exploitation may be part of that decision. Making the world a better place takes collective responsibility, we all have the ability to do something.