The Dressmaker and The Architect

Up until the early 20th century when a man or woman of means needed a new suit or dress they would go to a Tailor or Dressmaker.

They might have had some magazine clippings of what they liked and a vague description of the type of event they would use it for.

The dressmaker would take their measurements and send them on their way.

Later he or she would do some sketches of the design to show to the clients and if they approved she would make the garment.

One hundred years later, fashion has moved on but architecture is still trying to practice in exactly this same way. The Dressmaker is out of business but the Architect still fights for the few small commissions that remain.

The Architect of today practices just like the Dressmaker of 100 years ago.

Ready-to-wear fashion has revolutionized that industry sacrificing quality for quantity. And it has created some significant human and environmental issues in the process. Labor conditions for textile workers, environmental pollution from pesticides used in cotton production and the waste of poor-quality Fast Fashion are but a few examples.

Move-in-ready spec homes constitute more than 98% of new home starts each year, again sacrificing quality for quantity. McMansions are 50% bigger than the average home for the same sized family 50 years earlier. They are built quickly, with poor quality materials that do not hold up and the residential building industry is notorious for wage theft and exploitation of illegal workers.

McMansions are the Fast Fashion of the building industry.

Fast Fashion and Junkspace, the term we use for spec houses, strip malls, etc., have as much in common as the Dressmaker and the Architect, however the Architect is not out of business yet. Hundreds of young architects graduate from school every year and they are passionate, motivated and creative. If only they recognized the precarious state of the profession and banded together to forge a new future that created buildings that were good, clean and fair for all. That is the mission of the Slow Space Movement.

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