Let’s talk fast fashion!
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but there has been a massive shift in seasonal fashion over the years. There is no longer the traditional spring/summer, autumn/winter cycles and instead we are bombarded with new lines becoming available every week. Why is this you ask?? Well, the main reason is to make you feel that you’re no longer “on trend” so you will want to buy the latest new thing. But the truth is, you will never be on trend … once you’ve filled your wardrobe with one, the next one is already in. What a sad truth! As a customer we are being manipulated into believing that we are being left behind but the truth is … we all are.
Whilst most brands advertise that they want you to feel empowered and great about yourself, the opposite is actually more beneficial to them. Your “need” to look like the model in the ads or the bloggers on instagram drives the company’s sales and let’s face it, their main aim is to make as much money, as quickly as possible, for a sustainable period.
I heard an interesting quote the other day that if something is being advertised to you, you don’t NEED it and that has really resonated with me! It makes so much sense… you know what you need, but you only knew you “needed” that new dress when it was thrust in your face.
I’ve always felt a little uneasy about fast fashion because deep down I know the true cost of my £8 dress is some poor soul getting screwed over down the line. Has that stopped me buying these things? No, because it’s easy to detach yourself from the reality of where these items have come from when you’re dolled up in said dress, looking absolutely banging with all the insta likes coming your way and enough money left over for that second bottle of prosecco.
HOWEVER, I watched “The True Cost” on Netflix the other day and it has really opened my eyes to what goes on. I mean it’s obvious but it’s not what we think of when we pick up cheap clothes. The fact that your top costs £5 means that it was bought from a supplier for a lot less, which in turn means that the actual person who did the most work here and made the item gets even less – just so that a profit can be made. With minimal costs coming into the company, working conditions are not a high priority and if you’re interested in learning more about this, the documentary say’s it a lot better than I could.
Now you might say that I’m in a privileged position to even consider making the decision to ditch fast fashion but you would be wrong, because my answer here is not necessarily to break the bank with high end slow fashion but to check out your local charity shops! Hell, it doesn’t even have to be local – go for a day out somewhere and explore those too. Some people may turn their nose up at charity shops but let me tell you, I’m always complimented on the stuff I find in there! My favourite pair of leggings that I wear all the time were £2 from a charity shop! And not only that, but in shopping you are actually helping others with the money you’ve spent going to help the charity – it really is a win win, banging new dress AND good karma!
Recently I’ve been introduced to Amy’s blog – this old thing – Her mission is “nothing but charity shopping and home sewing in 2018” and I am SO on board with this. Being more ethical is definitely a focus for me this year and I’m loving following Amy’s journey over on instagram, she really sparked this delve into the fashion industry for me. If this is something you are interested in or I’ve sparked your intrigue then I highly recommend checking her out.
There is this insane culture that emerged which see’s us putting people down for wearing the same outfit more than once, when really this is literally the opposite of what we should be doing! What sense does it make to buy an outfit for single use…. wear that outfit as much as you possibly can, love it, mix it up with other items, get use out of it because that is what’s it’s for. Let’s celebrate the fact that we loved that outfit so much that it’s too worn to be used anymore, thank it for the joy it’s bought and let it go. Letting things go in their prime before they’ve been given the chance to shine, makes zero sense (but does kind of rhyme so there’s that I guess.)
Here we are bashing people for relying on single use plastic and in the same breath bashing them for multiple use fashion.
The more you learn about the industry the more angry it gets you. We are being brainwashed, our deepest insecurities being used against us. Everyone on the planet is truly only searching for one thing…. happiness! What these companies are doing is flogging the idea that these items will make us happy, that they will solve all our problems but what they’re really doing is manipulating you into parting with your hard earned cash.
We have become so detached from having any sort of meaningful relationship with fashion. Picture this…. you work hard, you save your money each week until you finally have enough to buy those boots you wanted, it took you six months but now they’re yours and you’re so happy. There’s no way that you would wear them once and move on, you would treat those boots with respect and appreciate their value. Compare this to nipping into primark before a night out and grabbing a pair of heels for £6… nothing would stop you from taking these off in the club when they start hurting and leaving them in a dark corner for someone else to deal with. You might think “oh crap I forgot my shoes” but you know that you can just go pick up the same pair for £6 next week if you really want – they have no value and you certainly don’t respect them …. that right there is what is wrong with fast fashion.
We then end up buying so much and wearing so little of it. We spend all our money on items that we don’t need because someone else tells us it will make everything better – but does it? I don’t think so.
When you reach the ripe old age of 85 and you’re looking back over your glory years are you going to remember that h&m haul of 2017 or are you going to remember the birth of your children, the weekends with your friends, the laughs with your loved ones.
Now I’m not by any means telling you to stop buying yourself clothes or not to wear the things that make you feel great, I’m all for that. But I am certainly advocating quality over quantity.
I’m also not here to make you feel bad about supporting these organisations, mate I do it too! I’m just putting this out there to inform you cause it might make a difference. I know it’s changed the way I see fashion. Consider which one serves you better – sticking two fingers up at the corporate giants who are exploiting everyone from the workers making their clothes to the consumers buying them or giving into to the idea that these clothes will fill a hole and make you truly happy?
Support local, support ethical, support charity. Trust me, you can still look absolutely fabulous this way (and still have that extra cash for the second bottle of Prosecco.)
Please also check out the Debrief Podcast on ethical fashion which reminded me that I’d written this and needed to post it!!