The September Edition.
There are a few likely reactions to those words.
Your heart beats with excitement and you nod in anticipation. You know what the reference but you don’t care. You have no idea what I’m talking about.
The September edition is the Holy Grail of fashion magazines. An ode to fall fashion, thick with advertising, haute couture, and predictions of our clothing future.
Your level of interest may be a direct reflection of your income, whether you see yourself reflected on those glossy pages, how or whether you appreciate fashion, and so on. Or it may have nothing to do with these things.
Regardless of how you feel about fashion magazines and the fall fashion season, you are nonetheless affected by the fashion world.
If you’ve read or seen The Devil Wears Prada, you will recall editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly dissecting the blue sweater assistant Andi is wearing. Months and months earlier, Miranda had decided that particular shade of blue was in style and then it began trickling down through high-end designers on down to big box stores and eventually it will filter into thrift stores.
I’ve always had a distinct sense of style- of what’s “me” and what isn’t. I love looking through resale shops in search of unique pieces. I keep a close eye on high fashion, despite it being well out of my price range and often little resembles the contents of my closet, simply because I love the aesthetics. I save up for well-made designer pieces when I can, knowing they’ll last the rest of my life. I don’t buy clothes very often but when I do, I make it count.
I’ve also relied on the big box stores for basics and trends. Who could resist those bargains? But after some items came apart after a few washes, I did stop shopping at certain stores. It’s not a bargain if it disintegrates. Why would a store create such a cheap product?
Reports of garment factory fires and building collapses worried me, as did the intel on how poorly paid the workers were. Surely American corporations could afford to pay more. Why didn’t they?
This was my general state before reading Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline. Not completely bought into the cheap fashion world because of how poorly crafted the clothes were but not willing to leave the big box stores behind either when it came to tanks and tees. Behind it all: wondering what I could do when it came to affecting change, beyond hosting clothing exchanges with friends.
This line in the introduction has haunted me ever since: “we were once stewards of the clothes we owned” (p. 10.) What does it mean to be a good steward of our clothes?
Cline takes us through the history of the fashion world, from the garment districts to the factories, the eternal prevalence of sales to independent boutiques; from how price is set to the rise of ethical fashion and the tyranny of trends to the freedom of setting our own style and way of doing things.
You might shop or view your closet differently as a result. Or you might pat yourself on the back and realize you’re doing it right. Either way, you’ll learn something about fashion, consumerism, and the effects they have on our society, environment, and well-being.
In honor of the September editions filling up mailboxes worldwide, we’d love to see your fashion selfies on Instagram. Share a picture of your favorite dress, a fall fashion trend, or what item of clothing makes you feel your best. If you’re rocking it, we want to see it.
Make sure you use the hashtag #RedCouchFashion so we don’t miss out on your fabulousness. You don’t have to read the book to play along but we hope you will anyway.
Next Wednesday we’ll announce the Fourth Quarter Books! Come back Wednesday September 24 for a discussion post led by Danielle Vermeer. Join the Facebook group to share quotes and discuss the book throughout the month. On Twitter, the official Red Couch Book Club hashtag is #redcouchbc.
- Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster– Dana Thomas
- Behind the Label: Inequality in the Los Angeles Apparel Industry– Edna Bonacich and Richard P. Appelbaum
- The China Price: The True Cost of Chinese Competitive Advantage– Alexandra Harney
- Consumer Detox– Mark Powley
- The September Issue (documentary)
- Ethical Fashion– The Note Passer
- Shopping With Ethics: A 5 Step Guide– Danielle Vermeer
Will you be reading Overdressed with us?
* Disclosure : Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site.