Cultural Awareness

Fashion based on cultural awareness supports the preservation of cultural diversity by working with global artisans from many cultures to keep traditional practices, arts forms, and linguistics thriving.  If we continue to consume cheap, assembly-line goods that lack any hint of culture and traditional art, we are dooming humanity to lose some of its most valuable knowledge and insights.

Humanity’s Culture Loss is Permanent

The term culture describes what makes a community unique, including language, food, local dress, holidays, art, song, storytelling, rituals, beliefs and values. The beauty in humanity is embodied in the thousands of diverse cultures around the world.

But it’s hard to measure just how culturally diverse humanity is today, and how quickly we’re losing our diversity. One way to do so is to measure how many people speak specific languages. This allows anthropologists and sociologists to estimate the loss of culture by recording the languages spoken around the world and whether they are disappearing. Through this type of analysis, they find: [i] [ii]

  • Papua New Guinea has ~900 languages
  • Indonesia has ~700 languages
  • Nigeria has ~500 languages
  • India has ~400 languages
  • A language dies every 14 days[iii]

The regions with the greatest diversity of language and cultural identity are the most at risk of losing their unique knowledge and communication styles. Culture and language hold tremendous value for humanity and should be preserved at all costs.

How Fast Fashion Contributes to Culture Loss

Like it or not, in our pursuit for cheap goods, the manufacturing and distribution process has created a global economy. As goods and services are traded and sold around the world, human cultures and languages are being lost at an increasing rate.

The demands made by consumers in the fast fashion economy have a vast impact on the increasingly rapid loss of cultural diversity.

  • The spread of massive factories for producing consumer goods drives immigration.
  • Mass production fakes cultural art traditions, instead favoring quick turnaround at cheaper prices, replacing handmade artistry with machines
  • Workers move to different countries for better jobs and quickly assimilate, stigmatized by speaking their native language.
  • Workers are subjugated by those in power based upon religion, ethnicity, gender or socioeconomic status, causing people to let go of traditions in order to blend in.

This alarming loss of cultural diversity is inextricably linked to the fast consumption model. Spurred on by marketing and advertising, people are encouraged to buy more cheap goods at a faster rate.

Preserving Cultural and Traditional Art

Ethical companies like Hearts work to preserve cultural diversity by employing artists who create designs using traditional techniques and cultural practices. The artisans often work in a community setting rather than in industrialized factories, encouraging the reinforcement of traditional cultural knowledge and languages. In the end, consumers (that’s you) who choose culturally-rich products contribute to the preservation of world culture for the benefit of all humanity.

Traditional fashion from Hearts includes features like:

  • Textiles adorned with depictions of local folklore
  • Locally sourced materials such as seeds, naturally fallen wood, and ethical animal byproduct
  • Textile embroidery using traditional techniques, and symbols
  • Traditional products made using valuable historical methods and techniques that are often more natural and eco-friendly than industrial ones

In a world increasingly homogenized by industrialization and a global economy, it is worth preserving our incredible cultural diversity. There is something amazing in discovering just how beautiful differences are. Our cultural differences are a gift to celebrate, and Hearts knows something definitely worth preserving. Thanks to cultural diversity we have fireworks, silk, spices, delectable dinning, fashion, music, sports, you name it and chances are it’s a bestowment from a culture that is vastly different from your own. This proves we are all tied together and in turn deserve mutual respect and understanding. Hearts Celebrates awareness in culture, fashion, and what the two can bring when they come together.

To have your own celebration in Cultural Diversity, and how you can help preserve tradition.

World Issue - Cultural Awareness - hearts.com.pdf

[i]  Brenzinger, M., & de Graaf, T. (n.d.). Documenting Endangered Languages and Language Maintenance. Retrieved April 20, 2012, from UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS).

[ii] Statistical Summaries. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2012, from Ethnologue - Languages of the World: http://www.ethnologue.org/ethno_docs/distribution.asp?by=area

[iii] Solash, R. (2010, February 19). Silent Extinction: Language Loss Reaches Crisis Levels. Retrieved April 20, 2012, from Radio Free Europe - Radio Liberty: http://www.rferl.org/content/Silent_Extinction_Language_Loss_Reaches_Crisis_Levels/1963070.html