You may or may not have heard about ‘Fast Fashion’ but it’s something I’ve recently come to learn about after making the switch to being a vegan and looking into a more minimalistic lifestyle [the latter is the one I’m working on at the moment!].
Fast Fashion is, for those wondering, the term used to describe the fashion industry’s bad habit of forcing ‘seasonal’ changes in fashion, thus forcing high street stores to produce clothing items quickly and cheaply in order to keep up with the trends magazine and fashion houses are selling.
I know it sounds a little bit silly and also a little bit conspiracy-based, however, I can assure you this is a real thing and it’s a plague on the wellbeing of many people as well as the world’s health [pollution etc].
Back in the day there used to be two fashion seasons; Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter. You might think it’s the same now and yet… there are currently 52 micro seasons recognised by clothing manufacturers. Again, you might be thinking this all sounds silly and a pointless thing to be worried about except the fall out is quite sad.
Because high street stores are forced to keep up with the ever changing seasons and the demands of shoppers they have to churn out a lot of items, as cheap as possible, which means that they use resources that aren’t especially planet-loving; for example many of the clothes are made else-where which means cheap [and sometimes child] labour. They have bigger factories which use more resources which are harsh on the environment [high emissions, lack of recycle-able products, high waste rates]. They don’t rely on good quality production because they know the final product doesn’t have to last which encourages people to spend more and throw away items due to poor manufacturing.
I understand these points might not concern you; I would never expect everyone to hear these things and suddenly care about the things I care about. That being said, if you do read this and maybe go on to read more on this subject you might wonder what you can do to be more thoughtful about who and what you support with your hard earned cash.
There are ethical clothing companies who specifically work on long lasting, sustainable, fashion; items made to the best quality, made for by people who are paid a full wage, with materials which don’t harm the planet as much.
A few of my favourite, sustainable, stores are:
People Tree – slightly plain but in a good, dependable, way!
H&M – actually have an ethical section. Whilst I think their whole shop should be ethical it’s at least a step in the right direction. They are also still ‘fast’ fashion!
Beyond Skin – amazing shoes! I think they’re just ‘shoe’ prices as well… I mean, shoes are always costly!
Made – A jewellery store featuring hand crafted Kenyan designs by a company who employs and empowers communities in Kenya.
Bibico – Some lovely printed dresses and knitwear.
Thought – Laid back style and SO affordable.
Whilst I’m trying to build a minimalistic wardrobe with items I will keep for a long time I am holding off impulse buys in the normal high street shops I would normally go to. Yes, shopping this way is more expensive, however, the items should last longer and, for me, the knowledge that I’ve avoided contributing to the nasty parts of the world makes me feel better.
I hope this post is at least a little bit helpful and if you have any thoughts or suggestion just let me know!
To read more about this subject just give it a Google or hit up this Huffington Post article as it’s a good read. As is this Esquire article. I’ve also recently found this blog which is fabulous!
8 thoughts on “Fast fashion Vs sustainable fashion”
I tried one of the mail order “fashion box” services, thinking it might be a fun way to experiment a bit with clothing and accessories in a low-commitment way. After the first box, I knew I could never tolerate wearing the flimsy, poorly made stuff that they were shipping. It literally felt gross when I touched it!
I’m 40+, so perhaps “too old” for the company’s desired demographics. This was my realization that “fast fashion” was worse than I personally thought. I knew I bought from moderate- to (the bottom of) high-end shops, and I knew my preference for natural fibers was outside the norm, but I was unaware of how wide the divide really was.
I live in a four season climate, so have definite needs for very different clothing as the weather dictates. I also own clothing dating back to at least high school. My style doesn’t change very much over time, and I’ve kept a fairly stable weight.
When “fashion” offers the kinds of items I like, I stock up. There was a period of about FOUR YEARS when I bought almost no trousers. No one was selling what I need: waist-defining, moderate rise, full legged styles. I don’t buy what I don’t want, and I KNOW what I want.
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That’s my personal motto and has been since I was a kid; I don’t buy what I don’t want. Or, more specifically, what I don’t need! Thank you for stopping by!! 😊
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Hi Sam, you’re so right about the different seasons the fashion industry has created and its definitely harming our environment.
I like the point you raised about shopper demands for being a reason why stores are supplying more clothes which creates this cycle of fast fashion.
I’ve just started researching fast fashion myself and there is a lot to learn. From what I have read there isn’t a lot out there for us to be able to recycle textiles and repurpose them for other things, so your minimalist outlook is such a good way to slow your demand for new clothing.
Through other research I have also found some great documents. Greenpeace has done a great breakdown of everything if you want to take a look:
Also I have just started a short campaign for six weeks which is also looking at fast fashion but pushing the idea of thrifting to slow the consumer demand rates.
Goodluck with your journey and research!
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You too! I’m going to be hitting up thrift stores soon to search for staple items, and also donate a ton more clothes! Thanks for stopping by, I’m really glad you found the post interesting 😊