Week Four

Is Affordable Fashion Accurately Reported On?

In the Washington Post Magazine Article “The Troubling Ethics of Fashion in the Age of Climate Change” written by Robin Givhanin November 2019, affordable fashion is called out for not being made in ways that promote the environment. Givhan used the term sustainability to discuss the waste that is evident in many fashion brands. The first step in deciding if this article is credible is looking at who wrote, Because Givhan is a fashion critic for this outlet, she herself gives this article a sense of credibility because she has experience on this topic. In looking deeper into her background, she received a Pulitzer Prize award for criticism in 2006 which gives me some the impression that she is qualified to speak on this matter and write a non bias piece.

Another important step to deciphering this article is to look for sources or other pieces of information that back up the main argument in this article. Because this piece seeks to answer the question of affordable fashion and ethics, the author spoke to numerous people both in the fashion industry and involved with climate change. This gave readers a look at both sides of this topic and a look at what is really going on, not just what the author thinks is happening. She used and cited her sources through links to other publications which really can help readers who want to know more about a topic the ability to decide for themselves. One example of her source was this article of the designer Gabriela Hearst from the beginning of the year titled “Gabriela Hearst is Dressing Women for a New Era of Political Power”.  The use of sources only adds to the believability of an author and their article.

Aside from sources and the author’s background, the author’s tone should be assessed when determining what the article is really saying. After reading this entire article, once for context and the second for clues, I did not feel like Robin Givhan placed emphasis on her own opinion. This article presented facts and information about the topic of affordable fashion and how its made but did not tell me what to think about it. For an article to be deemed accurate and credible, I believe it should give you information about the topic but not an opinion to believe about it to be seen as transparent. Opinions should be formed not told based on what you are reading and I found this article to do just that.

Through topics like the author, sources, and tone, a reader can determine the transparency and agenda behind a story. Some articles may be written to deceive or tell a single perspective on a story and others could be written so that readers can determine their own views on the topics. Although all should be written free of biases and opinions, that is not always the case so readers need to remain vigilant in deciding what to think.

For this article, I would give it an A- as an overall grade in transparency, believability and accuracy. I did not feel like an agenda was being set or a specific opinion had to be formed. This article laid out numerous statistics from sources about how affordable fashion can damage our climate but also showed how important affordable fashion is in the world we live today. Based on these two views, I was able to decide for myself what I felt on the topic. Robin Givhan did a great review on this. The only thing that stopped me from giving her a better grade was that I felt she could’ve elaborated more on the sources she used. I had to do a lot of digging to come to the conclusion that they were credible on my own and if she had just said why she chose these people or articles, I would’ve been able to decide by reading just her article alone that they were credible.