Fast anything – food, fashion, design - and ecological sustainability can usually feel like two opposing ideas.
Grow a chicken in a few weeks when nature dictates it should take a few months - that’s Frankenstein territory right there. This sort of ‘Franken-food’ has been a major player in the recent rise in ethical eating and veganism. But, we are now at a point where ‘Franken-fashion’ has become normalised, too.
It’s less disconcerting with fashion, though, because the process of making apparel or accessories doesn’t show tangible pain or change to a living animal, but that’s where the danger lies. The organism that’s really being exploited is the fashion industry itself - and at the heart of the industry are people.
I’ve just launched an ethical tech channel: Basil Knows, because our relationship with consumer tech, fashion and many other everyday products are so similar. The rate at which we go through our tech and fashion products mean that manufacturers run with tighter profit margins and have been known to shirk accountability and exploit a lack of transparency within the supply chain.
Fuelling fierce competition and driving prices down, changes in buying habits have meant the focus is on more rather than better, on cheaper rather than longer-lasting.
The power to buck this trend is in the buyer’s hands. By treating tech and fashion items as investments built to last, we’re minimising our consumer footprint and reducing our impact on a pressurised supply chain, workforce and planet.
But how are we meant to invest in items that by their very nature are not built to last?
Take consumer tech for example: Apple recently came under fire with consumers who accused them of throttling old phones and seemingly fast forwarding their use by dates. Samsung has been accused of similar things in the past as well. ‘Seasonal’ devices and style doesn’t benefit from lasting beyond the current season - it simply isn't built to last.
Paired with the fact many charity clothing banks and destination countries are overloaded with unwanted clothes, we’re at a point at which even recycling can’t keep up with our rate of fast fashion consumption.
And that’s where brands like Knomo come in. I have used Knomo accessories for years and recently came to replace my Knomo backpack after a year and a half of daily use - and that is no exaggeration.
It wasn’t worn, it didn’t age badly, but it's strap did meet an untimely severance at a train station - and a backpack with a severed strap isn’t really a backpack anymore.
This backpack wasn’t just well made, it was also considered. It had plenty of pockets for my numerous devices, and a bonus for me personally – it was free from leather. The Hamilton Backpack rolled up and down thereby transforming from large to medium size in no time and was water resistant, protecting my tech from splashes.
My Knomo backpack was special, so when I came to upgrade - the only back I could upgrade to was the exact same bag I had before.
Upon reaching out to Knomo in a bid to get the backpack repaired, I was asked to write this blog post and, it goes without saying, I was happy to. This was the first time in my life I chose to upgrade one backpack to an identical backpack.
My Knomo backpack taught me that enduring design and build quality is a part of the sustainable fashion story.
Knomo has kindly sent me the same backpack in exchange for this post and continued coverage and I look forward to another year and a half, at least, with my old, new backpack.