Jack Sun, an independent fashion designer and the man behind the new and trending Bellorita handbag line, is one of the modern designers saying a hard “no” to fast fashion.
Americans love their clothing, and designers love providing consumers with choices. It’s a lucrative industry, boasting US$326+ million in revenue in 2018, with a projected increase of 32,503 million pieces in volume by 2021. The average number of clothing and accessory items in the typical American closet is 96, with that number trending upwards most sharply for women’s and girls’ apparel and accessories. However, the price per unit of clothing has remained relatively flat, especially for women’s and girls’ apparel since 2010, and it has only trended upwards slightly for men and boys. (source) What’s going on?
The answer is fast fashion. With Americans craving larger wardrobes and routinely buying out clothing and bags (or copies of those items) worn by our favorite celebrities, the push for designers to get their goods to market in record time, and to keep changing up the style, is greater than ever. Even designers that win challenges on Project Runway get their clothing from the runway to the sales rack in less than 24 hours! This means cheap, trendy clothing for consumers. It’s a win ...right? Right?
Not really. Where did your $3 t-shirt come from? You know that labor, business overhead, transportation, and materials do not amount to a $3 t-shirt. For you to buy that cheap and trendy item, it means someone along the line suffered greatly. The costs are usually cut in manufacturing plants, where working conditions are extremely unsafe, by workers who are given low pay and sub-standard working conditions--and yes, child labor in these clothing factories is very much a thing.
Fast fashion is brought to you by slavery. That’s the simple and ugly truth.
Thankfully, many designers around the world are taking a hard line against fast fashion, and consumers, once faced with the reality of their cheap clothing, are valuing sustainable brands as well. One such designer, who is responding to the outcry for affordable, higher-end fashion that is made from sustainable products with responsibly sourced and compensated labour, is Jack Sun.
“I came to LA with the dream of launching a fashion line,” says Sun. “Before this, I was a research scientist! I actually did not have design experience at all. What I did have was a desire to introduce Asian-fusion designer handbags to the fashion scene, and to promote the idea that fashion can be affordable while also being made ethically--and while being made to last.”
The key, says Sun, is to create timeless pieces that will be trendy for decades and that can go with a variety of outfits.
“You wouldn’t spend $5 on a couch,” Sun smiles. “A couch is an investment. You want a good deal, but you also want it to be well-made and you want it to last. Fashion operates the same way. What good is a $3 shirt that falls apart in the wash and winds up in the landfill? Most consumers want higher-priced goods that last and that they can feel good about wearing. Like furniture, staple items in your wardrobe are investment pieces: handbags, the perfect pair of jeans, well fitting linen shirts, etc. Having fewer items, but items that are made well and sourced ethically, looks and feels good. You wear it well!”
Sun’s handbags start with ethically sourced leather, which is then hand scrapped. The personal touch continues with hand-tooling, painting, stenciling, and designing.
“Back in the day, your Birkin or CHANEL bag was the one thing you carried for years,” Sun explains. “It’s time to get back to that type of sensibility.”
To achieve this, Sun’s creations are timeless. He uses colors, patterns, and embellishments that look good now in 2018, and that will look just as on-trend in 2025. The bags can dress up a simple jean and t-shirt look, or they can pop against an evening gown. They are durable enough for the daily commute and practical enough to hold everything a woman needs for her busy day or night on the town.
While a status-worthy designer bag can set one back thousands, Sun appeals to the affordable luxury market. “Our bags are not cheap, but they are not prohibitively expensive,” Sun explains. “The price reflects the value of their well-made and ethical status, and our bags remain affordable so women can buy the unique handbag they desire. Bellorita is about being ethical and accessible, affordable and luxurious.”
As the world wakes up to, and continues to reject, the realities of fast fashion, it is the designers like Sun who will be standing long after the empire of cheap clothing comes down. Learn more about sustainable fashion design and the name behind its brands by visiting sites like Global Garbs, and learn more about Bellorita.
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