{r}evolution Reel: A Look Inside the Movement

If you’re new here, we’re on a road trip down the West Coast this summer with our sustainable clothing company, {r}evolution apparel. You can track our journey here!

“Why have we become a culture that wants more, faster cheaper?”

We’ve asked this question to over 20 people in filmed interviews throughout our Sustainable Fashion Tour. Farmers, professors, writers, textile developers, CEO’s, and designers have all weighed-in on issues surrounding fashion, consumption, and the environment.

Each person has added a piece to this complex puzzle of how we got here – a world where you can buy an H&M t-shirt for $4.95 and a pair of sunglasses for a few dollars. With their collective answers, we’re beginning to piece things together.

Our grandparents were thrifty and cautious – they grew up during the Great Depression and among their deep-seeded values was a good bargain. They spent prudently, even after WWII when people began consuming more. A good bargain was a value that they passed onto their kids – our parents.

Our parents grew up with technologies that encouraged buying more clothes – like washing machines. They were the first to have TV’s (and commercials) as youths. The world got smaller with better communication and shipping technologies. The West discovered cheap labor markets. The race to the bottom quickened pace.

As more cheap products became available to us, we became addicted. So addicted, in fact, that we started purchasing things with money we didn’t have.

We became obsessed with material things, filling our homes and closets. But we were detached from those things. Our stuff was just stuff. There were no stories behind our purchases. The only explanation for a cheap shirt or pair of shoes was, “Made in China” with the accomplished feeling of a “deal.”

We stopped mending clothes, because a new outfit cost less than a sewing machine or repair job. Our garbage bins got bigger to make room for our discard. Wal-Mart became more powerful than our government.

With so many distractions in our lives, it’s been easy to overlook our mindless consumption. Our phones and inboxes vie for our attention, while we work stressful jobs so that we can make more money to buy more stuff. We’re stuck in a cycle, and hardly have the time to notice.

But there is change happening. We can already see it – the “slow food movement” is only the beginning. Our generation is going back to the basics, slowly but surely. We’re taking an interest in growing our own produce, supporting local microbreweries, and buying fashion with a story.

Justin Dillon, the founder of SlaveryFootprint.org, told us that while the developing world experiences a poverty of means, the Western world is experiencing a poverty of meaning. But if we know anything about the “Millenials” (and the “Globals”), it’s that we’re seeking meaning with a vengeance. We crave purpose. We crave stories.

This is where the fashion industry is headed. Yes, fast fashion is a buzzkill. So are stories like America’s Chinese-made outfits in the opening ceremony of the Olympics. But people are paying a little more attention. We see that, first-hand, with every person we talk to.

We have a long road ahead of us, but ultimately, we have no other choice than to change the direction we’re headed. Industries, of all types, will be forced to progress and make change – whether they know it now or not. They will have to reevaluate the way they make, market, and sell their products, because this new generation is going to demand more. Demand better.

The bottom line? Corporations can either move forward and change or get left behind.

We’re Kristin and Shannon, the founders of {r}evolution apparel – a clothing company focused on sustainable and versatile design. We created the Versalette – one garment that can be worn over 20 different ways — as a dress, skirt, shirt, poncho, purse & more. It’s made in the USA with 100% recycled fabrics. In 2011, we launched the Versalette on Kickstarter and raised over $64,000. Since then, we’ve been featured in Forbes, Gadling, and the New York Times. To learn more about our mission, check out our website, Facebook, and Twitter.