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Planned Obsolescence In Fashion

Planned Obsolescence In Fashion

You enter a shop or boutique and then spot a pair of trousers that immediately catches your attention. It is new, in style and look very much trendy in the moment. You love the colour, design, texture…just all the small details so you purchase it and begin wearing it not knowing your new favourite trousers came with a ticking time bomb.

Yes. Meaning it is designed to be killed after a while by its designers.

Tragic right? Yeah

But is it always…tragic? Is it always negative? Why is this done by designers?

Let us see all there is to it.


Jacob Lund Fisker quote

What Is Planned Obsolescence?

Planned obsolescence is a strategy of deliberately ensuring that the current version of a given product become outdated after a time period. This is an intentional move made by product manufacturers and designers to guarantee consumers seeking replacements in the future, thus, accelerating demand. It is also the designer’s way of making more money than the regular.

The idea of planned obsolescence was first conceived in 1928 by Marketing Pioneer Justus George Frederick who claimed it was “necessary to induce people to buy an ever-increasing variety of things, not in order to use them, but to activate commerce and discard them after a short period of time.”

Better known in the late 1920s and early 1930s as ‘creative waste‘, it is an old trick companies use to create recurring revenue.



Clothes on sale

What Then Is Planned Obsolescence In Fashion?

Planned obsolescence in fashion therefore is when a fashion designer creates a design that is meant to phase-out after a certain time period, placing a calculated lifespan on the design, which somehow causes consumers to move to new designs or upgrade to newer versions.

Gone are the days when clothes were considered an investment. The cost of clothes have been driven a bit too low and so has production quality. There is little to no guarantee that clothes manufactured in these times will last for more than a year.


A classic example of this would be the nylon stockings. When they were first invented , people needed to buy one pair because they were unbreakable. New ones were purchased only when they wanted a new colour or design. Designers began to realise they were losing an opportunity to earn more money so, they designed the ones they sell in stores now where stockings last one or two wears before we need to repurchase.


What’s more annoying…?

The off-putting thing about planned obsolescence is that it make it obvious to the consumer that the garment purchased cannot be considered as an investment that is going to last but rather, should be considered a purchase that is good for just a while.

Planned obsolescence is a huge driver of wasteful consumption. As more and more consumers are moving towards conscious shopping, they are looking to purchase from brands that promise quality and durability, choosing the old ways of  reverting to the brands of their youth or their parents’ “old-fashioned”  favourite brands.


How To Curb Planned Obsolescence In Fashion

Entirely avoiding planned obsolescence  is a bit of a tricky one but here are some three things you can do to keep your clothes intact, always have clothes to wear and still, be in the modern fashion world.

  • Curate your closet:

Instead of always following trends and acquiring things that only trend, find items you love and feel good in instead. Find what works for you best and no just ‘just-in-the-moment’ items.

  • Buy less but better:

This simply means to say purchase higher quality items that will stand the test of time. It is better to have one quality item over ten low quality items. It will certainly come with extra charges but always try to choose quality over quantity. It is worth it.

  • Take care of what you buy:

Most things lasts longer when taken good care of. Keeping the safe in wardrobes or closets, mending them when they need repairs and making some adjustments when the need be are some simple ways of taking care of items you purchase.


It is very important to understand  to remember that we have a decision and choice to make. A decision to make as to what we want, and a choice to do better for our mental health, bank balance and pamper ourselves.

It is time to put a cork in buying poor quality clothes.








Photo Credit: Google



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