While I believe fast fashion is a huge problem, it’s only a symptom of a capitalistic system. After all, fast fashion is an operational dream for CEOs. Fast fashion only has blossomed under a system that rewards it. This is not a bug, it’s a feature.
This is too big of a problem to fix from an individual level. I understand this. Still, it’s important to understand it, spread the truth about it, and vote (not necessarily with your dollar).
But we can also reject fast fashion, whether completely or on a level that is practical for you and your life.
Here are a few things we can consider:
Fast fashion encourages us to not think about what we buy, what we throw away and especially what it took to reach our stores. Simply appreciating the workers and work it takes to create clothing (and all things) is a step.
Learn about sewing, even if it’s by watching a YouTube video of someone sewing a skirt. Who knows, you may get a sewing machine and learn how to sew yourself.
Learn how to knit, crochet or start following crafters who create clothing. Start to watch the process of designing and producing clothing.
Appreciate your own clothing and things. Think about how they make you feel and why you bought them in the first place. Appreciate how they serve you and your family.
Find identity in yourself, not your things.
Your style is an expression of yourself. This will always be true and I, by no means, want us to stop doing that. But one of the unfortunate cycles we see people getting in to is finding their identity in their things – whether they be cars, purses or a major item like a house.
We can learn a lot from the age-old advice to seek experiences, skills, and relationships over things that decay.
Challenge yourself with new ideas. Pick up a book written by someone who may be different from you. Read a difficult book. Even taking the simple step of following someone on Instagram that will challenge you is a step toward growth.
A personal example I have is when I started my journey to become a vegetarian. I clicked “follow” on Instagram accounts of animals I didn’t like before to see a new side of them. I invited myself to grow my empathy.
Find New Sources For Your Things
You knew this was coming. Find new ways to get the things you want and need instead of buying from the big powerful brands. This is the harder one I recommend and I understand it may not be 100% for all people.
To be completely honest, it’s not for me. But it’s something to start trying, even in small things.
Here are a few ways to start doing that:
- Thrift stores. This may include salvage stores, consignment shops or even garage sales. Basically, stores or pop up spots that sell discounted, pre owned items. Some people absolutely love the treasure hunting. I don’t… even though I’ve been so surprised and thrilled by some of my finds.
- Shop with vintage sellers on Etsy, eBay, and other online thrift stores if that is more your style.
- Support Local, Crafters and Makers. Purchase from people who make things by hand- whether through local sources such as an art walk or online. It takes some searching and time, but there is a specialness to getting something handmade. There’s also something to be said of having a relationship with your local bookstore as well.
- Share based Apps/Communities.: There are many sharing / for free apps and online groups where you can trade or find things locally. If this fits into your lifestyle, it’s a cheap way to find what you need. And also, don’t forget your local library.
- Sustainable Businesses. There is an exciting new uptick in businesses that practice transparency, fair trade, and sustainable practices. Patagonia and Everlane are prime examples. They aim to create things that are meant to last.