In the 2006 film version of The Devil Wears Prada, Miranda Priestly, played by Meryl Streep, scold her unattractive assistant for imagining that high fashion doesn’t affect her.Priestly explains how the deep blue color of the assistant’s sweater descended over the years from fashion shows to department stores and to the bargain bin in which the poor girl doubtless found her garment.
This top-down conception of the fashion business couldn’t be more out of date or at odds with feverish world described in Overdressed, Elizabeth Cline’s three-year indictment of “fast fashion”.In the last decades or so, advances in technology have allowed mass-market labels such as Zara, H&M, and Uniqlo to react to trends more quickly and anticipate demand more precisely.Quckier turnrounds mean less wasted inventory, more frequent releases, and more profit.Those labels encourage style-conscious consumers to see clothes as disposal—— meant to last only a wash or two, although they don’t advertise that——and to renew their wardrobe every few weeks.By offering on-trend items at dirt-cheap prices, Cline argues, these brands have hijacked fashion cycles, shaking all industry long accustomed to a seasonal pace.
The victims of this revolution, of course, are not limited to designers.For H&M to offer a 5.95 knit miniskirt in all its 2300-plus stores around the world, it must rely on low-wage, overseas labor, order in volumes that strain natural resources, and use massive amount of harmful chemicals.
Overdressed is the fashion world’s answer to consumer activist bestsellers like Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma.Mass-produced clothing, like fast food, fills a hunger and need, yet is non-durable, and wasteful,” Cline argues, Americans, she finds, buy roughly 20 billion garments a year——about 64 items per person——and no matter how much they give away, this excess leads to waste.
Towards the end of Overdressed, Cline introduced her ideal, a Brooklyn woman named SKB, who, since 2008 has make all of her own clothes——and beautifully.But as Cline is the first to note, it took Beaumont decades to perfect her craft; her example, can’t be knocked off.
Though several fast-fashion companies have made efforts to curb their impact on labor and the environment——including H&M, with its green Conscious Collection Line——Cline believes lasting-change can only be effected by the customer.She exhibits the idealism common to many advocates of sustainability, be it in food or in energy.Vanity is a constant; people will only start shopping more sustainably when they can’t afford to it.
Priestly criticizes her assistant for her
A . poor bargaining skill.
B . insensitivity to fashion.
C . obsession with high fashion.
D . lack of imagination.