For countries that have experienced an industrial revolution, the apparel industry has almost always spearheaded the shift. The possibility to work in garment factories provides independence to women undreamt of before. But at some point, something must have gone wrong...
With fashion month in full swing, I got to thinking - what's the deal with trends? Don't get me wrong, I love to see the process of a trend taking place, but do we all really love what's trending? Not always.
It seems curious, doesn't it, to buy brand new clothes that have been artfully, artificially distressed; to part with significant sums of money for clothes that appear to be in a state of disrepair, rather than in pristine condition?
This weekend, I went on a shopping expedition to a popular Belfast shopping centre. I more often shop online, but just this once, as the Autumn sunshine made the indifferent summer seem a million years away, I spent a couple of hours in the shops.
To my teenage self, the fashion industry represented originality, diversity and passion. A world I could only dream of. A degree, several jobs later and working in the thick of it, I found myself wondering what exactly had caught my imagination so much?
If there is one very obvious lesson we need to learn from the current economic climate, it's that the system isn't working for us. We need new ways of operating - an alternative worldview.
Now 20 million people in Britain have a tattoo, it feels about as free spirited as having a Tesco's club card. Back in my twenties, getting 'inked' was the kind of thing that still shocked your parents.
Like most things, the beginnings of any great change often grows from the grassroots, and in this instance with the individual demanding greater transparency from their retail outlets. If the market dictates cleaner fashion, my hope is that mainstream fashion will start to clean up its act. Only then will I willingly retire.
It's 2015 and it has become perfectly normal to throw out a t-shirt after there's just no more room in the closet, or if that $4.99 price tag somehow didn't translate to long lasting quality. The fashion industry has turned into the world's biggest polluter after oil and exploits workers in an endless race to cut corners for faster production times and cheap clothing.
One of the flawed messages of fast fashion is that clothes are disposable: wear a top once or twice, tire of it and throw it away in favour of the latest look. This has direct consequences on the women who make our clothes.
I often feel that fashion designers don't get the respect they deserve in revolutionising not just fashion's hemlines or hues - but also its very sustainability. Designers are incredibly important. It is estimated that designers influence 80-90% of the environmental and economic costs of a product.
Fashion week (or month if you include New York, Milan and Paris too), is quickly becoming the time of year when a spotlight shines not just on next season's trends but on collaboration between the fashion and technology industries.
Whether you're a first timer or a veteran, you can almost set your watch by certain little things happening every season at London Fashion Week. How many do you recognise? LFW, we love you still...
Fashion has a reputation for being a greedy and wasteful business, and rightly so: my industry is the second biggest polluter after oil, and I've seen firsthand in Dhaka the shocking conditions sweatshop workers toil in. However, this week was really inspiring...
Given London is perhaps the most creatively energetic of the cities - and undeniably a hotbed for fresh young design talent - why not put aside a couple of hours to check out some of the off-schedule shows? You'll unearth some of the industry's newest, most exciting talent might just witness the next big thing taking flight.
When we think of the ethical footprint of fashion, labour exploitation and poor working conditions typically come to mind. This human cost of water from fashion is as urgent an ethical, as well as environmental dilemma.