In this series of posts I will reflect on our weekly lectures titled ‘Design & Technology’.
The first of which was a lecture by our Head of Department, Craig Whittet. He talked about the general demise of skilled / hand crafted manufacturing processes and whether consumers are willing to pay more for these sorts of products. Craig talked through a few products and brands that are of particular interest to himself including some that he personally owns. His presentation featured brands such as; Trickers, Vitsoe, Stooge Cycles and Discommon. Craig also touched upon how little the pay is for apprenticeships today, leading to them becoming an undesirable option, therefore resulting in a general decline in the uptake of these specific trades.
I couldn’t agree more with Craig’s viewpoint on this topic. I am fully converted to the ethos of saving up to buy better quality products from trusted brands. Last year I invested in a new bag from a local company in Glasgow called Trakke. They make waxed canvas backpacks and messenger bags. They use 100% British materials and each bag is hand made in their workshop just down by the Clyde in Glasgow. Retailing at £175 it’s definitely the most expensive bag I have ever bought, but I have no doubt that it will last me 10 times longer than any other backpack I have ever owned! So money well spent?
Craig’s presentation also reminded me of a recent news article I had been reading about an issue that has been given the name ‘fast fashion’. The term describes our high rate of fashion consumption fuelled by the availability of new and cheap clothing.
Producing clothes has a huge impact on the environment. Global textile production produces 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon emissions a year. Thats more than both international flights and maritime shipping!
(Data from bbc.com)
My question is how can Primark sell a jumper for £5 when the minimum wage is £7.83??
To summarise, if only every company had the same beliefs and values as those touched upon in Craig’s presentation… What would the world be like then?
What is going to have to happen in order to stop the trend in disposable items and encourage higher quality products to be manufactured? Why are consumers driven solely by price, disregarding any long term financial influence?
We haven’t got long to tackle damaging climate change. We as consumers need to start asking questions of brands. Brands have to start making it part of what they do. These are huge companies run by some of the worlds richest men & women. Someone is doing OK out of it…