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Haute culture is a lifestyle of creating and buying high-end fashion apparel and accessories, considered luxurious and exorbitant by the general population.
Luxury is a fluid term that keeps changing with time; what was considered a part of the haute culture would fizz out in a few years. The trend and buzz of fashion items change constantly.
So, if you want to be an adapter or influencer of the haute culture, you must stay abreast of the latest trends in the luxury fashion segment. The term 'haute' means high-end, high-fashion, fancy, and of course exorbitant. A few decades earlier this segment was accessible to only a select few of the population, but thanks to the growing income, easy payment methods, and globalization of this market, today haute fashion is not an unattainable dream!
Until a decade ago, donning brands like Chanel and Dior was beyond the imagination of most people, but today these and many such elite brands are available to anyone who has a strong desire to buy them.
In the past decade, the global fashion industry has witnessed some tectonic changes. Be it the advent of technology, the disruption caused by the e-commerce market, the shift to sustainable fashion, or the bloom in inclusive fashion, the Haute fashion brands are setting and breaking the new trends every month!
This article will take you through the beginning, ethics, and the growth of the Haute industry.
Once you have finished reading this article, why not discover dairy industry facts and coffee industry facts here on Kidadl?
The beginning of fashion goes way back to the times when the cavemen learned to make cloaks with animal skin and pendants with bones and feathers. That's how old fashion is!
However, it was Charles Frederick Worth, an English designer, who was one of the first designers to have added his brand name or label sewn into the clothes he made? This happened in 1858, and this was the starting point of individual fashion houses and labels.
In the beginning, almost all designers in the apparel market created made-to-order clothes. It means you have to make an appointment with the seamstress or the dressmaker and give your fittings. You will then be able to choose the material. The designs were usually limited. If you wanted new clothes, you had to wait at least 30-45 days for them to be ready.
Since a limited number of dressmakers created clothes for people in a specific locality, most people dressed alike. The very rich had access to exclusive designs and materials like silk and wool. So that was the beginning of haute culture. For the commoners, the most commonly used fiber was locally grown cotton.
Every period has its own sense of what was fashionable. The French fashion industry reached heights between the two World Wars. It was during this time when high-end fashion reached the houses of artists, actresses, heiresses, and influential women around the world.
Consumers of the past were not as aware as the consumers are today. And even today the fashion industry ethics is a murky affair. Be it the working conditions, child labor, low wage and exploitation, sustainable production, and animal exploitation; the clothing industry has come a long way, and yet it has a long way to go!
Labor exploitation is one of the ugliest truths of this beautiful fashion industry. The United Nations requires all industries to set a living wage which is the basic wages or minimum wages paid to the workers. But there is no minimum living wage set for garment workers working in the apparel industry!
The supply chains of most high-end fashion brands trace back to developing and underdeveloped countries. These countries serve as a source of cheap labor. Garment workers are exploited for a minimum salary that can barely afford the basic necessities of life. The fashion sector, unfortunately, is one of the most unregulated ones when it comes to team member benefits.
Did you know that the fashion industry is probably one of the top industries causing industrial water pollution?
Everything starting from producing the fibers, processing them, manufacturing them, packing, and marketing them emit greenhouse gas emissions, which are polluting the environment and the people inside. That's one of the main reasons why the world is shifting towards sustainable fashion!
The fashion business contributes significantly to damaging carbon emissions. Producing one t-shirt takes about 713 gals (276.3 l) of water! The water requirement increases when the brands produce other types of clothes. While cotton production by itself is causing global greenhouse gas emissions, when you use other fibers, the pollution rate is two to three times more.
One of the most commonly used fibers by fashion brands is polyester. Polyester is more harmful to the environment than cotton in terms of production waste and pollution. Did you know the amount of the world's polyester fiber production? It was 18.1 million tons (16.42 million m tons) in 2020.
The total global carbon emissions by the textile industry are calculated to be about 1.2 billion tons (1.09 billion m tons)!
Another problem with the fashion industry when it comes to environmental sustainability is the use of plastics. Plastic pollution is already a giant problem in the world. As of now, 88% of the sea is polluted with plastic waste and plastic is killing all sea animals. The world apparently uses more than 500 billion plastic bags a year. A major chunk of this is used in the textile industry. Clothes are packed and sold with plastic wraps most time.
The global apparel market is going through another challenge, which is questioning the ethics and values of the textile industry - It is the rapid growth of the fast fashion industry. For people who are new to this term, fast fashion is the rapid designing and production of clothes, without going through elaborate steps like handmaking details or worrying about a perfect fit.
This is a concept where the apparel industry started getting under the pressure of pushing excessive clothes into the market, most of which were made of non-biodegradable sources, at cheap prices. Each of the fast fashion brands had to beat one another at offering a lower price and this led to a compromise in design ethics, the way garment workers were treated, and the quality of materials used.
The fast fashion industry is flourishing everywhere, especially in developing countries, and is preferred by customers because of its extremely low prices. These fast fashion brands don't spend time designing their products. Most of their designs are a rip-off from actual labels and this is a kind of theft that these original brands are not able to fully control.
The fast fashion industry is also dominating the online and offline market space. These are brands that you haven't heard of before but produce all kinds of garments at extremely affordable, at times, minuscule prices. They can do this because of mass production. The fast-fashion retailers use machines to do most of their processing and their employees are mostly underpaid laborers from underdeveloped and developing nations.
In 2013, a building complex where thousands of textile workers were working collapsed in Bangladesh, killing them all. This was the starting point of people seriously considering the effects of fast fashion brands and their products and the harmful effects of the industry.
Apart from problems in fair trade and minimum wages, another issue with fast fashion is the number of unworn clothes and extras that people end up buying. Just because a t-shirt is just $5, people end up buying lots of these and never use them. These fast fashion clothes finally find their way to the trash.
Everyone these days end up having more clothes than they can ever use because new clothing is very cheap. As a result, such excess clothes are discarded without a second thought!
The fast-fashion giants have also started introducing a lot of synthetic textiles into the apparel industry. Unlike natural fibers, these are a mix of chemicals and non-biodegradable products that don't decompose easily.
As a result, these clothes add to the world's non-biodegradable trash, remaining in the ground for years together. Fabrics like nylon make up this list.
You should know that the United Kingdom is the biggest consumer of the fast fashion market. You would be surprised to know that one in three young women in the United Kingdom doesn't wear a dress more than twice! These discarded clothes mostly end in the dump, adding to the waste disposal problems for the country.
This trend of fast fashion continues in many other parts of the world too, thanks to cheap clothing items from the fast fashion industry. Check out these fast fashion statistics that will blow your mind. The number of clothes sold in 2015 was two times more than what was sold in 2000. The average utilization rate of any cloth you buy from the fast fashion industry has decreased by 36% between 2000 and 2015. The carbon dioxide consumption of the global garment industry was more than that of the marine and aviation industry! 92 million tons (83.46 million m tons) of unworn clothes or discarded clothes end up going to waste every year! Most of these are products from fast fashion brands. Due to the excessive use of synthetic fibers like nylon and polyester, the apparel industry alone contributes to millions of tons of microplastics polluting the oceans.
Textile dyeing contributes to 20% of the wastewater sources in the world. If things go the same way, people will not have enough freshwater sources to use.
Now that there is so much discussed about the potential problems of the fashion industry, here are some positives to talk about too. Celebrity culture, even though is mostly about promoting brands, is beneficial in other ways. Many celebrities in the fashion industry are philanthropists and use their status to talk about real problems.
A lot of fashion industry icons support sustainable fashion brands and are voicing out for the garment workers who work for less than minimum wages. The apparel industry listens to such celebrity voices and is making healthy changes in its textile production processes and employment habits.
Here are some of the very popular fashion industry icons of this time that you should follow if you love fashion items: Rihanna, Harry Styles, ASAP Rocky, Cher, Victoria Beckham, Zendaya, Cardi B, Kylie Jenner, Billy Porter, and Billie Eilish to name a few!
Now, most of these fashion icons have their own favorite trendy clothing brands that they endorse. Many of the high street stores entice buyers by showing how their clothes look on these celebrities.
Clothing production is a very challenging process, especially if you are a famous designer. Your style has to be unique every single time. Even inspirations will be taken very seriously in the close-knit of famous designers. Most of these designers don't create more clothes. However, the ones they make get sold out very soon. Such designers also regularly get featured in Fashion Week.
Fashion Week is one of the world's top fashion events that last for a week. All top designers and labels make sure their new clothes and accessories get shown on the runway here.
These are the famous designers who dominate the fashion industry right now: Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, whose parent company is L'Oreal; Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, who runs Louis Vuitton; Tom Ford and Alessandro Michele, Creative Director of Gucci.
With many conversations happening around sustainable fashion, many of these designers have started being more conscious of the way they source and produce clothing items. There is even a new sustainable fashion week even introduced to bring awareness about the same.
The fashion and apparel industry does provide a livelihood to millions. However, it needs to streamline its processes, invest in conscious and sustainable practices, and bring stricter measures to regulate the fast fashion sector. Haute fashion definitely has a great future, with a lot of men and women showing a keen interest in splurging on their looks. Also, since people are ready to chip out a big cheque just because of the name, the haute fashion industry must lead this revolution of creating and consuming ethical apparel!
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 37 haute fashion industry facts for anyone who loves global fashion, then why not take a look at where do peanuts come from? do know your peanut butter well? or a Mediterranean delight: where do olives come from?
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