THE END OF CHEAP?

By Cody Constantin

Our planet, your life, & your wardrobe according to Geoffrey B. Small

Commodity prices of cotton, polyester, energy, and transport are going through the roof. And the global fast fashion system (of H&M, Zara, Uniqlo), was designed for a world with oil prices at 0-a-barrel. Geoffrey believes the era of "cheap clothes" is coming to an end.

Geoffrey B. Small is an American fashion designer focused on maximizing long-term value to the wearer of his pieces. He does it through recycling, local sourcing (using the best of today's made-in-Italy resources), maximizing levels of handwork in the product, organic hand-dyeing and treatment techniques, patchwork, historical reference and its relevance to today, limited quantity-artisanal production. His clothes are not so easy to find or buy, but wearing his clothes will tell you it's well worth the investment & effort.

But is 'cheap' really cheap? Americans alone buy 20 billion garments a year, an average of 64 garments a person. But the trend is worldwide. In the United Kingdom, consumers are throwing away 2 million tons of cheap, fast fashion clothing a year. When the Chinese reach consuming at the same rates, that will be more than 80 billion garments a year. With the majority of these clothes being made from petrochemical-based polyester plastic fibers and being thrown away at the rate of 20 million tons a year in the U.S. alone, the landfill pressures and environmental impacts are overwhelmingly unsustainable. 'Cheap' is not cheap at all, but there is an alternative, and it begins with a new set of priorities in the way one must live a life commitment to lead others to a better way of life.

"Reduce, reuse, recycle" is the mantra behind the most crucial challenge we face as a species — balancing the needs of over 10 billion human beings with the earth's available and sustainable resource levels. For us, this does not mean any sacrifice or lowering of quality and standards. Geoffrey B. Small, who's presented more collections than any other American designer during Paris Fashion Week, has been a leader in recycled design in fashion for over twenty years, and he views it as both an art and science that has a 10,000 year history…a unique métier that returns elegant, individual, and practical solutions."

The rising costs of global transport and their subsequent greenhouse gas emissions are creating a new reason for work to travel less and less. Therefore, the sourcing and assemblies of product need to be performed as locally as possible. Geoffrey moved his production to Italy to develop an elite network of industrial and artisanal suppliers for fabrics, threads, and treatments. Across the entire spectrum of suppliers, they have what they believe is the world's very best technical, cultural, and artistic working masters all within a maximum radius of two hundred fifty kilometers.

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