Throughout this lockdown period, I am able to count on one hand the number of clothes I have bought. And the number of clothes bought from fast fashion companies… zero. In no way am I saying that I’m perfect. I still get tempted, I still have a browse, but I’m much conscious of the decisions I make. With fast fashion becoming such a huge polluter and completely unethical, I think it’s important to really consider the choices you are making when you click buy on their websites. So in this post, I wanted to round up seven questions that I ask myself before buying fast fashion.
IS THIS SOMETHING I WILL ALWAYS WEAR?
What is so toxic about fast fashion is this psychological need to own the latest trends on their website. With new pieces constantly being added, so many people are so quick to jump on a piece that is going to be worn once in their wardrobe. I think back to the camouflage trouser trend, yes I bought them, and embarrassingly enough, I’ve worn them twice. This is just one example. So before buying something, whether it be fast fashion or not, just think if it is the sort of piece you will always wear. Something you will reach for constantly and wear until it’s falling apart. Because if not, then it isn’t worth buying for that one event or occasion.
WILL YOU STOP WEARING IT WHEN IT ISN’T ON TREND?
It kind of links to the serious question. Once the pieces goes out of trend, will you still wear it. If the answer is no, then it probably isn’t worth buying. That’s because realistically, trends don’t last that long, not in this day and age. Some trends last a month, others last a season, but very rarely do people continue to wear that trend year after year. Obviously you can still wear things that aren’t ‘on trend’ but do you want to? That’s the question. For example, the tie-dye trend or the bucket hat trend. If you buy these pieces, are you going to wear them in years to come when it is no longer trendy? If so, sure go for it, but realistically, you probably aren’t going to want to keep a piece you bought just to jump on the trend.
CAN THIS BE STYLED WITH OTHER PIECES IN MY WARDROBE?
Versatile clothes are the best types of clothes. Ones that are easy to wear and easy to style. So this piece you’re crushing over, does it already go with five other items in your wardrobe, or are you trying to convince yourself you need to buy a whole outfit just to wear that one top? Because realistically, if the piece you’re buying only goes with one other thing in your wardrobe, then you aren’t going to wear it much are you? So it isn’t worth buying.
CAN YOU WEAR THIS IN ANOTHER SEASON?
Think, can I wear this in both winter and summer? What I’m trying to get at in this post, is that unless you are going wear this clothing piece to death and you don’t mind someone getting unpaid to have it in your wardrobe, then should you really be buying it? I’m all about cost-per-wear. If you can wear something loads and loads, then the cost-per-wear goes down, so it’s more sustainable and you’re actually getting your use out of it. So think, can this be worn with tights? Can it be worn with a vest and a jumper? Is this colour, or style restricted to one season? Really consider what you’re buying and whether you are realistically going to wear this for the next five summers.
DO YOU ALREADY OWN SOMETHING LIKE THIS?
We are all probably guilty of buying multiple clothes in the same style, or colour, or fit because we love it so much. But do we really need multiple. Probably not. Unless like I said earlier, you’re going to wear them constantly and they go with everything. Otherwise no. Take leggings for example, I love leggings and I own many in different colours and styles of them. But I wear them everyday to run errands, as loungewear, to the gym, to bed. So I get my wear out of them. But that mini skirt I bought in three different colours because the fit was so nice, do I really wear them that much. No. Realistically you just needed one that you were going to love and wear constantly.
CAN I BUY A SECOND HAND VERSION OF THIS?
This point is so so important and I really think people need to look into this more. Go on Ebay, on Depop, on Vinted, in charity shops and I can almost guarantee that you will find what you’re looking for in there. People are so quick to judge buying second hand clothes, but it is the best option in supporting sustainable fashion and for saying no to fast fashion. Plus, it is probably cheaper. I do this now, whenever there is a clothing piece on my wishlist, I will do a little google search and see if it is something I really want to buy. For example, I bought a brand new mesh top originally from Missguided on Ebay for £3 which is a steal. Although it is initially from a fast fashion brand, instead of adding the their stock, I have bought from someone who didn’t want their’s anymore. It is something you should definitely do before placing an order on a fast fashion brand, see if someone is selling the same thing that you can buy from them instead.
ARE PEOPLE PAID FAIRLY FOR MAKING THIS?
If it is from fast fashion, the answer is straight up no. You don’t need to think about it. If you buy a top for £5, think about how that gets split up between everyone who contributed to the production of that piece. The designer, the pattern maker, the manufacturer, even to the social media team, the marketing team. Everyone gets a little share out of the profit. And just remember that isn’t £5 profit for a £5 top, it is much less then that. So really think about what people are getting paid to sell this to you. I’m sure all of you know about those who work in sweat shops and get paid pennies for working in terrible conditions. So please really think about that. Think about what it takes to make your clothes and if it is really worth that one occasion you plan to wear it to.
I haven’t written this post to make those of you who buy fast fashion feel guilty. There isn’t any shade to those who do. You do you, it’s a personal choice. What I did intend with this post though was the conscious things you can ask yourself before clicking buy. Too many of us go straight to PLT or Boohoo and just click checkout without thinking much else. But instead of doing that, we should question our choices, our alternatives and think realistically about our actions.
Hopefully that clears up my intention with this post. Like I said, no hate to those who support fast fashion. Please just think about your choice as a consumer!
Lots of love,