Last year after finishing all my post-secondary studies, with a six year concentration in fashion, I was left feeling a little dead inside. Innocent young me officially came to terms with how messed up the fashion industry is. How it's more damaging and savage than "chic and fun". Feeling sort of betrayed by my childhood dream of being a creative director for a fashion magazine or whatever, I decided to boycott any career in fashion I might pursue and move to the opposite side of the career spectrum I'd created for myself. I got a job in technology.
(Images via Pinterest)
Why was I left feeling so disappointed by fashion? Well, initially people think fashion is beauty and luxury and self-expression... and it is. But, you also learn about the ugly side of this b*tch, FAST FASHION, the enemy... See, in theory yeah... But ANY type of fashion, slow or fast, expensive or not, has an enormous impact on our dear mother earth.
Imagine this, to create one pair of blue jeans, about 1,800 gallons of water are needed just to grow enough cotton for a single pair.
Let's not even go into details about other materials and how those are sourced (ehem unethical extraction of petroleum to make polyester). Or the animals and ecosystems affected by fashion, we see you river in Bangladesh full of textile dyes, trash, and dead fish. The logistics and transportation behind moving materials and clothes from one corner of the world to another, the fossil fuels burning, the Greenhouse gas emissions. Or the labour behind it all, even child labour in sweatshop factories that are collapsing due to lack of maintenance and human empathy for people working 5 cents a day to make the shirt you're currently wearing. Let's not even mention the effects that fashion has on our mental health, setting people up for failure with the most unrealistic beauty standards and sneaky promotional campaigns. Or the ways fashion can help further discriminate and marginalize people. Let's not even go there....
In life, nothing we do or wear is going to be 100% ok, we'd probably be running naked in paradise if so. Sooo, don't feel bad if you decide to buy fast fashion, sometimes that's what's available to us. Everything is about how you shop and use it. Here are my tips:
Consume less and be PICKY!! Be picky so that fashion brands elevate their quality and social responsibility standards.
Shop brands that have the same ideals as you.
Shop secondhand/vintage clothes.
Give your clothes the best life and pass them on when you no longer use them.
Shop for staple/classic/timeless pieces. (LBD, black leggings, coat)
Learn how to wash and take care of your clothes. (FYI: you shouldn't be washing your jeans every time you wear them)
Don't fall for every single fad that is thrown your way by Tiktok. (I mean as tempting as it is, the world really needs people to consume less.)
I realized that fast fashion isn't the opposite of sustainability. Not having standards, not taking care of your stuff, and not giving a f*ck is the opposite of sustainability.
Nonetheless, in some ways it is healthy to buy clothes and try new styles. This helps with self-expression and we definitely should consider shopping as a pampering/self care moment if we do it responsibly. To be able to consume is a privilege, shall we treat it like one? Really curate what you want to wear and have the environment in mind when purchasing.
Are you interested in shopping secondhand fashion? Check out my instagram garage sale.