Hey hey!! Welcome back to the blog;) Let me tell you, these past couple of months have been eye-opening for me when it comes to the environment. Because of my speech class, I’ve done copious amounts of research to inform and persuade listeners on why we should care about improving our planet’s condition, as seen in my bee post (linked here). There are so many little things that we don’t think have a huge impact on the quality of our earth, and I feel it’s important to at least spread awareness to live a more mindful life. This time is a topic that affects most everyone: shopping for clothes and the importance of knowing what you’re buying. This topic has been on my mind for a while, but I got thoroughly inspired by Absolutely Olivia, when she made it a point to show how thrifting can be fun, less expensive, and a surefire way to expand your wardrobe in the BEST way possible.
I want to first address a couple of buzz words/phrases that have been floating around that you’ve probably heard of, two being Fast Fashion and Slow Fashion.
Fast fashion is described as when companies imitate styles and trends seen on the runways at fashion week and recreate them at a much lower price and quality to sell to the mass market, whereas slow fashion is said to be more worried about advocating for good quality, positively impacting the environment, and deriving from ethical origins.
So, fast fashion usually takes form in your local Forever 21, ASOS, Topshop, H&M, and even online clothing stores such as Shein, Romwe, and Zaful. While the pros of the stores include the affordable prices and access to the top styles as soon as they hit the runway, that’s where it begins and ends. Because of the rate that these pieces have to be manufactured, a lot of ethical and environmental corners are cut. Unethical work environments, toxic chemical use, and excess fabric being wasted is unfortunately one of the consequences of this growing industry.
Another thing I want to bring into light is the human rights that are infringed. The amount of chemical use in fabric production negatively impacts health of the workers, and the amount of water it takes to grow the cotton used takes away resources that developing countries need to fuel their own economy. Sweat shops pay less than they deserve for longer hours, which makes a trend that will die out on a month not-so-worth it for me.
So, now that you’ve had a peek into the downsides of fast fashion, it makes it all the more sense why I’ve become so interested in looking for mini ways to change how I shop for clothing. The first and best option (in my humble opinion), is THRIFTING!! Not only do you have the opportunity to save fabric and money, but most thrift stores around usually are affiliated to a charity or do-good organization, so it’s a win on both ends;). I personally love it because it gives me my own unique wardrobe that pretty much no one else will have, which truly allows me to stand out in a crowd. I’ll have a lil look down below with the cutest thrifted long-sleeve ever!
One more way to be conscious while shopping brands with newer clothing is to pay attention and do your research as to how the companies source their products. I’ve included a link here for affordable fashion brands with ethical origins that I think is worth the read. Additionally from the research that I’ve done, it seems that our lord and savior of all general stores (Target) is slowly starting to become more aware about its many clothing brands. Although there are mixed reviews around the subject due to the constant stream of new brands flowing in and out of its artillery, they seem to be putting in the effort to move in the right direction.
I’m really looking forward to making a fuller, in-depth post about how I thrift and more about the fun outfits I’ve been able to make thanks to that, but I want to wrap things up with this; I have a long way to go when it comes to these types of things. I only recently became aware of how much power you and I have as a consumer, and how where I choose to spend my money matters. When thinking about whether its worth it to shop at a fast fashion retailer, I start to ask myself:
“Is this something I will have a definite and consistent use for, or will I wear it once in a blue moon?”
“Could I find a similar piece in a more sustainable way?”
“Could I DIY this?”
(Other questions you might want to ask linked here.)
I will most likely be gifted things from fast fashion retailers that I will wear (it would be hypocritical not to), but when it comes to my personal habits I’m definitely trying to lean towards the more sustainable side of fashion. For now, as long as everything in my closet has a good consistent use, I’d consider myself doing fine. However, I hope this is something both you and I can use going forward when shopping for a new dress or sweater.
If you have any more questions or comments regarding this subject, don’t be afraid to let me know! I love to learn with you all ❤