Kate Hawkesby: Marie Kondo mania could derail the fashion industry

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 5 February 2019, 8:51AM
But it's not just Marie Kondo potentially slowing the fast fashion trend. Photo / Supplied

COMMENT:

I wonder whether the Marie Kondo effect will have any kind of economic impact.

And no I'm not talking about the upsurge in sales for label makers and plastic containers to store your knickers.

I mean stage two of Marie Kondo'ing your house, which is to try to maintain the organisation, by not adding more stuff.

Retailers already feeling the pinch from a quiet Christmas and New Year may also face the prospect of people thinking twice about a purchase.

Does it really spark joy? The kind of purchases I'm talking about here are the fast fashion variety.

Once you've purged and decluttered a wardrobe, you soon know that tossing a cheap T-shirt into the rubbish doesn't cause anywhere near the anxiety that parting with an expensive 'investment piece' does.

Fast fashion is easily snapped up on a whim, investment pieces are long thought out and hard-earned.

Given that, and given the emphasis shift these days around shopping to include whether it sparks joy or not, will we be turning our noses up now at the cheap and cheerfuls on the sales racks? Do we really need them clogging our wardrobes?

But it's not just Marie Kondo potentially slowing the fast fashion trend.

According to a US senior equity research analyst, consumers (especially young people) are more enlightened about what they're purchasing, where it was made, and by whom. They're interested in standards and accountability and sustainability.

Milennials in particular want to feel good about a purchase, they value experience and environmental and human rights issues more than previous generations.

So the fast fashion approach is already losing its lustre for them. Having disposable clothing made cheaply in a factory by an under-paid or exploited labour force does not appeal to the new sensibilities, which are all about the feel good factor.

But although a time of transformation generationally, it'll likely take a lot more than a Netflix show on decluttering, and the desires of Milennials to shop smarter, to turn the tide.

Cultural shifts which materially affect retail sales to a large degree usually come in the form of extreme global events - which, despite her popularity, we can't at this stage claim Marie Kondo to be.

Although if you're a victim of a Marie Kondo convert who's decluttering your house it may well feel like a global event at your place.

So can a wave of tidying up make us rethink our spending habits?

It'll be interesting to see.

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