A few months ago, my wardrobe was filled with “trendy” brands such as Forever 21, Fashion Nova, and other affordable clothes that met the aesthetic requirements led by social hierarchy. If I sound a bit cold, please don’t mistaken this as any ill feelings towards the current fashion trends. Being a nineties child, I’m totally stoked that some of the fashion influences of my generation are making a comeback. The reason why that opener leaves a slightly bitter taste to the mouth, can be traced back to one specific word: affordable. Sure, ‘fast fashion’ and ‘affordable’ are known to go together like peanut butter and jelly, but does it?
The Fast Fashion Facade
Honestly, fast fashion fools us in more ways than one. How many times have you gone into a fast fashion store with one particular item in mind, only to buy ten? It’s because everything is so cheap that we decide it wouldn’t hurt to get those few extra pieces. This justification encourages us to go back and do this time and time again. It gives us an excuse to mindlessly shop often times for items that we don’t even love.
Fast Fashion deludes us into thinking we live like kings and queens, as we walk up to the register with an armful of clothing. But it’s not just our ego that wants more. We live in a world where society essentially makes us think we should be living like royalty and that we need more. In order to follow trends and “stay relevant” we need to keep up with the ever changing world of fashion, even if the outfit is only for an Instagram post.
Imagine that you are wearing a pair of foggy glasses. Do you have a headache yet? That’s how fair trade, sustainable shops can look when you’re accustomed to shopping in the fast fashion industry. Why would I buy a $100+ dress when I can go to Forever 21 and buy something for $15, sometimes even less…? Here, let me give you some lens cleaner. Yes, fair trade/ sustainable products can be quite expensive. However, when you shop sustainably, a LOT more thought goes into it. You aren’t buying for the sake of buying. You are spending your money only on what you love, and if nothing satisfies your want, you are saving. That is the personal gain. In addition, you are investing in items that will last you far longer than anything you could get at a fast fashion store. Remember fast fashion’s main priority is quantity over quality. Above all else, by shopping sustainably you are contributing to a much larger cause at hand; which is supporting a company that provides good working conditions and fair pay for their workers. This in itself, gives a whole new meaning to quality if you ask me.
If you are on a budget, I will be posting about shopping ethically on a budget very soon! I can entirely relate and will be sharing my top tips and stores, so stay tuned!
Also, I highly recommend watching ‘The True Cost’, as that documentary provided a great deal of insight and inspiration to myself and many others who strive to shop more consciously. It should be available on Netflix and you can watch the trailer here.