Fashion is bad for your health

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There’s no other way of putting it: health is in. Never before has the definition of beauty been as closely linked to a healthy lifestyle as it is today. We are snugly wrapped in a blanket trend of wellbeing: healthy diets, spiritually enhanced sports disciplines, health trips to far flung places, the best (alternative) medical care, and, yes, also fashion. Nobody has to accept deformed toes as a given, just to fulfil a contrived ideal of beauty by wearing high heels, nor does anyone have to starve themselves anymore, now that model measurements are being adjusted to those of ‘real’ women. Within this context, the growing popularity of yoga clothing, the desire for more natural looks and organic quality all play a significant role. Sustainability is a magic word, albeit an increasingly inflationary and misleading one.

How else can it be explained that, despite all the apparent concern for health, a mere one percent of clothing produced worldwide is truly harmless? Or that the remaining 99 percent is soaked in chemicals, poisoning our natural resources and often manufactured under inhumane or dangerous working conditions? When your yoga top causes a rash on your skin or your new running shoes make you gasp for breath with their toxic smell as you take them out of the box: are we just fooling ourselves with our ‘healthy spirit in a healthy body’ mantra? Is the relationship between fashion and health really so schizophrenic? Or why else do we so often forget that being just a little bit healthy is the same as being a little bit ill – no matter how good we look.

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This text arose in order of the  J’N`C magazine and has been published in the issue 1/12.

Image: Ariane Irle