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Consumer, labor trends behind fashion exhibit

Published torsdag 28 januari 2016 kl 14.53
"Count the clothes in your wardrobe... you realize you have a lot."
(5:39 min)
Visitors to the exhibit get a taste of what it's like to be a textile worker. Photo: Sandra Douglasdotter / Stilmedveten
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Visitors to the exhibit get a taste of what it's like to be a textile worker. Photo: Sandra Douglasdotter / Stilmedveten
Photo: Sandra Douglasdotter / Stilmedveten
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A pile of clothes weighing 162 kilograms, the amount of clothes bought by Borås residents in one hour, according to the exhibit's organizers. Photo: Sandra Douglasdotter / Stilmedveten

Can you sew a pocket onto a garment in 30 seconds? Visitors to a new exhibit at the Textile Museum in Borås in western Sweden can find out while they learn about fundamental problems with the modern-day garment industry.

The exhibit is called "Stilmedveten" (Style Conscious), and it spotlights the low wages and tough working conditions for growers and makers as well as the heedless, unsustainable consumption of buyers. Curator Anna-Lisa Persson told Radio Sweden that visitors will see a 162-kilo pile of garments, a visual representation of the average amount of clothes that people in the city of Borås purchase every hour.

The exhibit is also meant to inspire more conscientious shopping.

"Think when you're going to buy something new, 'Do I need this'?" said Persson offering a tip to clothes-lovers. Tip two: Count the number of items in your wardrobe before you make a purchase because you will realize you have a lot.

The exhibit also considers the environmental impact of an industry that profits when its goods become quickly outmoded. Persson encourages clothes-buyers to prefer items they can wear a long time. And then take care of them, she says.

Does the Swedish market encourage conscientious shopping?

"It's based on the fact that people will buy clothes very fast and not think about what they buy and for little money. We consume today about 40 percent more than we did 15 years ago, but we don't spend more money on clothes" said Persson.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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