Fashion industry is always the topic that draws attention of every people of us at anywhere and anytime. Everyone becomes so familiar with fashion that he or she thinks that fashion is just simply a fashionable and sophisticated style. However, life in a modern community is far more controlled by fashion industry than many people realize; it affects not only clothing, but almost every aspects of our daily life.
When many people think of the fashion industry, they often think of the association of four main areas such as: retail, manufacture, design and advertising. They are the four areas that cause not a little damage on our society and environment.
Personally, I used to have a very simple and common conception about fashion industry that is merely clothing sales. However, after reading the newspapers and investigating thoroughly about the fashion industry, I was completely taken aback by the opposite sides of it in Australia and other countries. As a result, I came to focus on the effects of fashion industry on society and our environment.
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I determined my three objectives:
How does fashion industry influence on teenagers' body image?
What are the facts about 'sweatshops' behind the leading designer labels and are sweatshops exploiting or helping outworkers?
Is the trend of the fur fashion industry in Australia and other countries ethical or not?
Section B: ANALYSIS OF FINDINGS
I. Objective 1: To find out how fashion industry influences young women' body image
In fact, fashion industry is such a negative exertion on teenager's standard of beauty that it is now becoming an unsolved dilemma for our society.
Sarah Murdoch, the representative of Bonds underwear, is of the opinion that fashion industry encourages "unhealthy body images" (Dunkerley, 2008) that is thought to be impractical and unhealthy for most women and girls. The fact that most designers prefer to choose thin models than big size ones (Bolger, 2007) shows us an astonishing phenomena that there are a lot of clothes from size 0 to size 4 displayed not only in the fashion shows but also on the sale markets because they think that there will be "stigma attached" when doing something for "plus-size people" (Stevens, 2010). Naomi Crafti representing for Eating Disorder Victoria thinks that teenagers are becoming obsessed with "the very skinny models on the catwalk" in the fashion shows (Stevens, 2010) which gradually leads to the issues relating to "eating disorders, mental health and the impact of negative body image on young people" (Stevens, 2010).
Moreover, the figures of the News Editor show us a startling "75000 cases of 15-35 year-old British women" suffering from eating disorder due to being sick of looking like cat models (Cooke 2000, pp 3). It is the evidence that append the controversy over the use of extremely thin models in fashion industry because it reduces the self-esteem of those who do not have ideal bodies and makes them besotted to strive to look exactly like catwalk models. The only way for them to do that is becoming anorexia that will certainly cause "suffer drastic weight loss and premature ageing" (Cooke 2000, pp. 3).
As a result, The Federal Government has supported for the "voluntary" development of "new code of body image" from the fashion industry to curtail the situations of teenagers suffering from body image pressures immediately (Kennedy, 2010). Otherwise, there will be widespread unhealthy body images of teens with "jutting bones and no breasts of hips" in order to fit in "dolls clothes" in our society seriously (The Sunday Telegraph, 2009).
Clearly, the growing obsession with being thin like catwalk is highlighting the risk of young women' health and the rise in serious eating disorders. (370 words)
II. Objective 2: To discover the facts about 'sweatshops' behind the designer labels and whether they are exploiting workers or not.
Fashion industry is thought to abuse workers. Workers in sweatshops have to work frantically in unacceptable working conditions, poor salaries and inhumane treatment. In Australia and other countries, it is reported that the use of outworkers by fashion industry in order to get more profit from cheap labours has been increasing significantly (Sheppard, pp. 20).
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Through the investigation of the Sunday Telegraph into "Sydney's Sweatshop" (The Sunday Telegraph, 2009), many uncomfortable facts are clearly discovered that behind some leading designer labels are the sweat and blood of poor workers. Nicola Finetti, Natashan Gan and Ginger Smart are the labels containing 30% Chinese and 70% Vietnamese outworkers who are usually paid "between $10 and $35" when completing an article of clothing which will "later sold in stores for at least 10 times the price" (The Sunday Telegraph, 2009).
Yet, workers interviewed for researches indicated that conditions had worsened worse in the past few years. A shortage of work all over the world has left them to have no other choices but to continue the job with poor conditions. One group working in "the finishing department of Venus Knitwear" in the research of Working Women organisation said they had to "work long hours" from 7 am until 11 pm (Oxfam 2003) and were even also threatened to be sacked if they refused to do overtime. In addition, many workers have to suffer health issues and may be dismissed for taking time off to see doctors or to recover from sickness. An interviewed worker was said to be "deducted two day's pay" because of being absent one day to go to the doctor (Oxfam 2003). Some also reveals that they had to work in dim light and in condition with "no proper ventilation system" which had caused headaches, eyes, "asthma and respiratory problems" (Oxfam 2003).
Finally, it is an urgent need that sweat-free labels must be highly appreciated by the manufacturers and consumers in order to create a fair work fair pay environment and to stop exploiting workers rather than practicing fashion industry motto: "Winning Profits, Losing Rights" (Oxfam 2004, pp. 28).
III. Objective 3: To consider the trend of the fur fashion industry in Australia and other countries and to see whether it is ethical or not.
Fashion industry with talented designers has provided sale markets and consumers with a diversity of fashionable styles to meet the high requirements of our modern life. Furry fashion is now one of the styles coming back with more appealing appearance because of the popular use of real fur (Pepper 2010).
Basically, the fur fashion trend was emerged at the "Millennium's catwalk" showed in Paris with the muttering that fur was definitely back in "designers' repertories" (Cooke 2000, pp.13). "Developments in fake fur technology" (Cooke 2000, pp. 13) are thought to be partly a possible reason for the return of real fur. Perth label Harmony & Lawson which produces "garments made only of real fur" said that her collections with "rabbit and racoon fur" have been proved to catch on most women and men and made the markets to desire it crazily (Pepper 2010). In the French designer's fall 2008 collection, the models were all covered with "wild furs" which is embedded with "tails, ears, noses" and even "teeth" (ABC, 2008). Also, the fact that racoon, rabbit and fox fur were found in the winter collections of 4 Australian designers last year adds to the controversy about the increasing use of fur in fashion (CCF, 2010).
However, a lot of people think that fur fashion trend stinks. It is no longer tolerable when designers have turned back in using real fur for their collections. "ADI Chief Executive Creamer" said that fashion industry has determined to "close their eyes and hearts to the truth about fur production" (CCF, 2010). The facts about ripped skin from rabbits' bodies and fur taken off from possum, fox, mink, karakul (CCF, 2010) are believed to be inhumane and make those who support for "choose cruelty free" feel disgusted.
Therefore, a lot of campaigns have shown their strong objection to fur fashion industry. Typical example is the top models got naked to encourage the "anti-fur campaigns" in fashion industry because the unnecessary killing those beautiful animals for coats are cruel and terrible (Cooke 2000, pp. 13). "Giving publicity to outrageous collections" will "make them more successful" but fashion industry is hoped to stop all the suffering of millions of animals as soon as possible (Cooke 2000, pp. 13).
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