A slower production for a more ethical fashion
Nowadays, the production of clothes has become increasingly fast. Indeed, some brands propose new pieces several times a month, totally ignoring ethical standards.
This is how new ways of looking at fashion have started to emerge.
Is lean management guilty?
Let’s go back to the origin of what created the most common way of producing clothing today.
The main culprit is the “lean management” tactic that became popular last century. Unfortunately, this management method has been taken to the extreme. The goal is to go faster, reduce production costs and produce just-in-time. This technique has become the norm in all industries and has been imposed thanks to all the gains that this management method offers.
Just-in-time production can easily be observed in the clothing sector.
Indeed, many brands produce clothes in very large quantities with sales forecasts that are not necessarily reliable and that inevitably lead to waste.
Thus, in traditional stores, it is possible to find clothes of all kinds and different sizes so that everyone can be served.
It is a practice that is totally anchored with consumers who expect to leave the stores with their pieces without any waiting time apart from the waiting time related to the checkouts.
The in-store shopping experience is marked by speed and growing inventory. Today, it is possible in some stores to ask the salesmen if there are still pieces left in the back. Thus, the shopping experience online, as in physical stores, follows the following pattern: you discover the item, you try it on (if it is a physical store), you think about it and you make the purchase.
This pattern may require only a few moments between the discovery of the item and the purchase.
This quick act of purchase is linked to the production conditions that produce huge stocks to meet the future demands of consumers. And some retailers go even further, as the entire process of designing, producing and marketing a product can take just a few weeks or even days.
Indeed, the numerous pieces are produced within a few days, are directly put on sale to find buyers in record time. The buyers have the time to get tired of the garment even faster since the whole process is very short and therefore does not give the consumer the time to appreciate the piece.
Thus, alternatives are emerging and call for the slowing down of production cycles.
Therefore, the shopping experience, in this case, will result from a mature and thoughtful reflection.
Production at Van M
Van M is part of this effort. Indeed, the Belgian brand has a more ethical and environmentally friendly production. The brand does not have an indefinite stock.
So when you order a piece, you have to wait three weeks before you receive the creation. This is because all the pieces are handmade by seamstresses who make the garments with attention to the smallest detail.
Each piece is therefore unique and is not the result of a large-scale production as explained earlier. Here, we do not advocate speed and immediacy, but rather know-how and quality materials that require more time.
It is also a more human process since this work is done by seamstresses who take their time to sew clothes that will last over time. The time taken to make these pieces is compensated by the future life of these clothes. Thus, such a production allows to limit the waste, because each piece counts and behind each piece is a person.
In addition, each step of the creation to the making of the garment shows a totally transparent follow-up where one can trace the course of it. All the hands that participated in the making of the garment are recognized and traceable.
Therefore, the watchwords being quality and know-how, it is therefore contradictory to ensure shorter delays, which explains the waiting time between the order and the physical acquisition of the desired piece.
Such a mode of production and such a philosophy are totally in line with the slow fashion which puts forward new habits where fashion can rhyme with ethics.
Van M is part of this desire to offer unique and sustainable pieces that echo environmental concerns.