Let’s talk about fast fashion and how not only is it ruining the planet, but also your creativity and the sustainability of our wardrobes.
Fashion is the medium we use to express ourselves and show people who we are, without having to say anything. It is the way we show our boldness and creativity and it is our walking and breathing art piece.
Nevertheless this does not seem to be the case anymore. With the rampant use of social media, we tend to buy whatever is trending. This has been fast tracked by online shopping platforms, known colloquially as “order with me” boutiques.
According to Investopedia – a financial website that provides investment dictionaries, advice, reviews, ratings, and comparisons of financial products – fast fashion is the term used to describe clothing items that move from a designer’s sketchpad to the store in the shortest amount of time possible. The collections are based on styles presented on runways or worn by celebrities.
Essentially fast fashion allows consumers to purchase trendy looks at an affordable price point. Fast fashion is literally designed to cater and respond to the latest and most popular trends; and therein lies its problem
Up until the mid-twentieth century, the fashion industry ran on four seasons a year: summer, winter, spring and autumn. I even remember as a child going shopping at least twice a year; December for summer clothes and mid-April for winter clothes and shopping was considered more of an event. If you were born in the late 90s you can probably recall going shopping for “Christmas clothes” or going shopping because it’s your birthday or a particular event. Hence designers would work many months ahead to plan for each season and predict styles that consumers would like.
However this changed in the late 90s as shopping became more of a hobby and spending money on clothes increased. This was the beginning of the rise of fast fashion, with inexpensive, cheaply made clothes being pumped out that allowed the consumer to feel they were wearing the new hot styles as seen on their favorite celebrities.
It’s easy to think, affordable? fast? How can this be a bad thing, right? While fast fashion is beneficial to both retailers and manufactures because of the low prices and fast and efficient delivery, on the down side however there are environmental and ethical implications such as pollution and exploitative labor practices, to keep costs low.
Because of the use of cheap materials and poor workmanship, a “throwaway” consumer mentality is cultivated as clothing items are not made to last.
By only wearing what is trendy at the moment, there is no longer room for originality and creativity and people are stuck in all looking and dressing alike.
I propose we find a balance, investing in timeless pieces that fuel your creativity while dabbling occasionally into the guilty pleasures of trendy pieces.