A brief look into how your favorite clothing stores could be jeopardizing the quality of our surroundings.
Most of us indulge in the joys of visiting fast-fashion stores to update our wardrobes. But what exactly is fast fashion?
Oxford dictionary defines it as “inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.” So, by that definition, brands like H&M, Mango, Tistabene and Zara are fast fashion brands.
As a shopper, you must be highly aware of these brands and how much appeal they garner from their customers. They are your go-to destinations for when you wish to buy something so trendy that every time you open Instagram, people are wearing this hip article of clothing or accessory.
Fast fashion sounds harmless enough, doesn’t it? You go out, buy something, pay for it and bam! Your closet is successfully elevated.
But not everything is as it seems because fast fashion is hurting our environment and setting us up for failure.
How? You may ask. Fast fashion equals to global greenhouse gas emissions and non-recyclable landfill waste. And with climate catastrophes like the Australian bushfires and Philippines’ volcanic eruptions, it is safe to say that we may have overestimated the ease of fast-fashion and may have to experience the harsh repercussions of overusing it later.
We may not be environmental activists, but as cogent bloggers, we can rationalize that to conserve our planet and save the environment from further degradation, we must look into brands and decide whether they are ethical or not. We, as educated consumers, can thoroughly investigate whether the brands we shop from have been in hot waters for any of their products or not, be it make-up or clothes.
We would also like to proclaim that switching to high-end brands that have proved to be ethical in their manufacturing processes are out of reach for most of the market who have always been reliant on fast-fashion brands that sell clothes at affordable prices.
For instance, a large market of college students will not be able to switch to high-end brands that are sustainable. They have student loans and their course fees to pay, after all.
It is fair to say that a problem of this magnitude will not bear a ready made solution overnight. We have become far too accustomed to shopping at fast-fashion stores and not regretting it.
Of course, an alternative is that we scout thrift stores, but in India, there is only a limited number of those. Plus, with thrift stores, we’d have to play a game of Russian roulette because we wouldn’t be able to predict whether we will be able to find the perfect and the trendiest piece of clothing or not. It would depend on our luck and our ability to shop till we drop!
So, to truly feel like you are contributing to the betterment of the environment and avoiding the lure of fast-fashion at the same time, you must resist shopping impulsively. Buying that fluffy, lavender sweater because you REALLY like the color but hate the material it is made of is a bad move. Shop with purpose. Window shopping can move over because now, we can shop without pushing EVERYTHING into the cart.
Another option to prevail is to use your clothes to their fullest potential. Wear your black leather skirt in ten different ways. Nowadays, you can take the help of YouTube videos that illustrate the same.
For summer, pair the skirt with a Graphic T-Shirt and white sneakers. For winters, pair it with knee-length boots and a black leather jacket.
And if your clothes start coming apart, either take a needle and thread and get to work. Alternatively, go to the local tailor, and you can get it upcycled into an interesting garment as well as help local labour and artisans. Since the majority of your clothes are coming from fast fashion stores, they are bound to be of an average to low quality.
While we should be grateful to have stepped into 2020, we should not take anything for granted right now. To preserve all the good aspects of this environment, we should change the way we shop and manage how we perceive certain brands.