Let’s talk about fast fashion. Is there any way that when shopping fast fashion we can adapt our shopping habits so that we are doing so as responsibly as we can? First of all let me say that when it comes to purchasing sustainably or only buying from ethical fashion labels there are so many ways around it and it is something you should address personally for your own situation. Is buying something from a fast fashion chain, wearing it for years, taking care of it and repairing it still worse than buying something locally, hardly wearing it then later disposing of it? Often the advice around building a sustainable wardrobe is focused around where you’re shopping. Don’t get me wrong, in an ideal world we would all be shopping more locally and purchasing from smaller designers where you know exactly where your money is going. How amazing that sounds I don’t think people are going to suddenly stop shopping fast fashion all together. This post is going to talk about changing your approach to shopping to avoid falling into the traps of fast fashion.
Fast Fashion brands are those of the likes of ASOS, H&M, TOPSHOP, ZARA etc that mass-produce clothing at a very high turn over to bring trends to the masses. For the purpose of this blog post I am not going to go into the negative impact of this system. This isn’t a blog post for or against fast fashion. There are a lot of issues with this model and its popularity but I instead wanted to focus on how you can shop at stores like these but ensure you are doing so the best way possible.
One large problem I see with fast fashion brands in particular is that it is consumed fast and disposed of fast. It is the trap of the shiny, new & inexpensive product. Try your best to snap out of it to ensure you are thinking about these inexpensive purchases as much you would an expensive purchase. For example; one approach to shopping sustainably is to shop consciously. Play close attention to what you are consuming to make sure whether it is higher end or not, it will stay in your wardrobe and be worn for years to come. These following things are so important to think about every time you shop but even more so when the item is a part of fast fashion.
Look at the fabric & Construction.
Some fashion pieces you can tell straight away whether they are constructed well or not. If things already look a little rough when you pick it up or open the parcel then you know it isn’t going to wash & wear very well so stay clear! Next I look for fabrics that I know will go the distance. I bought a 100% cotton denim dress from ASOS over 3 years ago and it is still going strong today. Some viscose & rayon can be a little iffy so proceed with caution. If you’re buying outerwear look for pieces that are lined.
How Does it feel on?
I really do think this is the biggest thing that has completely changed how I shop and my consumption of fashion in general. If we don’t feel 100% once we put something on. WALK AWAY. Send it back. No you won’t grow to love it, you won’t feel comfortable in it next week. If it isn’t making you feel amazing straight away I bet you will only wear it once or twice (if that) and then you’ll end up donating it down the track when your wardrobe rack collapses due to the weight.
is it versatile?
Can you wear it at least three different ways? To be able to get the most wear out of an item you need to have a look at how it fits in with the rest of your clothes. Will you be able to wear it over and over again and not feel like you look the same every time? This is also the reason I stopped buying printed midi skirts (they are my kryptonite). Yes they are beautiful and I love and want them all but outside of pairing them back with plain t-shirts / knits they aren’t super versatile.
Is it something missing from your wardrobe?
The trap with fast fashion is buying stuff you don’t actually need because it is cheaper. You can be more sustainable with this if you just stop yourself checking out and go look in your wardrobe. For me it is do I really need another printed mini skirt? I want it, but I don’t need it and I already have too many for one girl anyway.
Is this a trend item?
This is where things get a little more personal. Do I think we should be spending a lot of money on items of trend? No. Do I think we should be buying trend throw away pieces? Probably not. I do think we have to be really careful when buying items that are the trend of the moment. If you can honestly say that you will be still wearing that silk leopard skirt in 3 years time and won’t be sick of it then by all means you do you. Just ask yourself if the item is too much of a trend that it won’t be having a long life in your wardrobe. This also goes for slow fashion.
Check the return policy.
Check them twice. You don’t want to buy something only to find out after that you can’t return it for a refund or that it will cost you more to send something back than the item itself. There is no shame in returning something so if you buy something and it doesn’t work out, send it back the next day. That way you can’t procrastinate and then miss the return deadline. I think the longer it hangs around in your house the less likely you are to return it.
I would love to know if you’ve adapted your shopping habits over time to slow down your consumption of fashion! It is such a tough topic to talk about sometimes because most answers don’t seem like the ‘perfect’ one. jasmine x