I’ve always been interested in purchasing second-hand clothes and so while Fast Fashion hasn’t been a massive issue for me personally, I am very conscious of it.
Fast fashion is a contemporary term used by fashion retailers to express that designs move from catwalk quickly in order to capture current fashion trends. Fast fashion clothing collections are based on the most recent fashion trends presented at Fashion Week in both the spring and the autumn of every year. [link]
A Cambridge University study reports that in 2006, people were buying a third more clothes than they were in 2002, and women have four times as many clothes in their wardrobe than they did in 1980. Women are also getting rid of similar amounts each year. [link]
It’s very easy to get sucked into the cycle of buying new clothes for each season, for each event and to continually follow trends. In my lifetime (32 years) I have seen a dramatic shift in the price of clothing (among other things) but no doubt my Nan would have seen an even more dramatic change. Only 60 years ago, it was still commonplace to make all of your own clothes. Industrialisation, technology and consumerism have led us to cheap clothing made by underpaid workers in appalling conditions – Bangladesh.
It’s actually hard to avoid with many brands across the price spectrum making clothes in the same factories. Why do we pay more for a garment just because it has a tag that represents better quality. In reality, it really may not be of a better quality.
There has been a bit of a shift towards locally made and handcrafted clothing (along with homewares, footwear and more) but it’s hard for consumers to change their mindset and spend $100 on a tshirt, when they can buy one in Kmart for $4.
However, by continuing to purchase cheap clothing (and cheap homewares) we are perpetuating an industry and contributing to unsafe work practices, low wages and pollution through the extensive shipping of goods around the world.
My early new year’s resolution is to restrict these cheap purchases. While reuse, recycle and reduce is my first step, I am starting to become more interested in ethically produced, locally and hand made items. And because I’m embracing a simpler life, one of less everything, I can probably afford to spend more on one item.
I know it won’t be easy for me to stick to this entirely – I am hardwired to be frugal and look for the lowest price when purchasing something. And so I am going to have to work hard to overcome this way of thinking. One of the best ways is to avoid shopping centres, unsubscribe from newsletters and practice meditation so you have the will power and ability to stop if faced with a weak moment.