Interior fashion cycles are getting faster with the gap between the catwalk and interiors stores getting shorter all the time. Associating interiors brands with celebrity and high fashion can be good if this lifts the perceived value of an item, which is then treasured for its aesthetic and its quality. The manufacture of heirloom pieces is great for building long-term robust and sustainable value chains. When true craftsmanship is rewarded and quality materials are sought after then the people that grow fibre, sew garments and weave carpets and fabrics all can share the rewards.
It all falls apart however if we follow the fast fashion business model. If textile mills and retail outlets focus on fast turn-around of low quality items from non-sustainable value chains we end up creating waste, using more energy than is required and supporting the throw-away society.
It is better to create beautiful textiles from sustainable materials and to build them well so they last a long time, rather than to manufacture oil based products with the promise to recycle them one day.
The fast fashion culture encourages corners to be cut and lives to be endangered, think Rana Plaza. This is not just an apparel issue. There are carpet schemes that guarantee no child labour, but do not take care of the children that are banished from the rug mills. Those children sometimes move to more dangerous factories. No we don’t want six year olds making our carpets, we want them in schools paid for by the sale of carpets.
There are rug retailers that push so hard on price that the weavers are forced to use extremely low quality materials and pay very poor wages. Eliminating unnecessary waste and reproduction is the best thing we can do for the planet and for the people that live here. Buying something cheap with the aim of throwing it away is the worst legacy we can leave behind.