Let’s Get Ethical: Quitting Fast Fashion

I've been thinking about this topic for a long time. Wondering when I would write it. How I would write it. If I could write it. 

Because once you put something on paper and put it out into the universe, you have a responsibility to own up to your words. And to be honest, I don’t know if I’m strong enough to own up to these words. Able to avoid temptation. Actually willing to commit.

But it’s time. I’m ready to commit. I have to commit.

I have a Confession: I am addicted to fast fashion. And today, I am quitting it.

So what is fast fashion? According to our friends at 
Investopedia, “Fast fashion refers to a phenomenon in the fashion industry whereby production processes are expedited in order to get new trends to the market as quickly and cheaply as possible.”

We live in a world of instant gratification - you can get a date by the swipe of a finger and a full meal in the amount of time it takes to pull around the drive thru. It’s no surprise the fashion industry is doing what it can to keep up. No more waiting for fashion to slowly trickle down from the runways to the manufacturers to the stores to your closet.

But what is the cost of this phenomenon?

In a future post, I’ll be sharing the extreme and horrifying cost this industry has on the environment and the workers creating the garments. But what effect does the fast fashion industry have on me - the average consumer? What does it mean to buy into the fast fashion lifestyle?

It means I can go to Target or H&M multiple times a week and constantly get new products; It means spending more money on lower quality items; It means filling my closet with quantity, not quality; It means extra pressure to keep up with the ever changing trends; It means frustration in my closet because it is literally overflowing with clothes, but having few pieces that I truly love, that fit, and are made well; It means I am constantly dissatisfied with my clothing options; It means I am being marketed at by stores allthetime. for the next quick fix.

It means it's a vicious exhausting cycle.

It means I’m done. 

Personally, if I’m being honest, really honest, it also means I have an issue - ahem, an addiction - with over consumption and spending countless amounts of money on crap. Crap I don’t need (or really even want).

Like most, I have depended on the ease, the affordability, the excitement (even if temporary) of newness of fast fashion. So I’ve done one hell of a job avoiding coming to terms with my own guilt about the fast fashion industry. If ignorance is bliss, I have remained deliberately ignorant for a long time.

But those 20 dollar items add up. Fast. I tell myself I can’t afford quality garments, but when I look at the amount of money I spend on cheap clothes, I could have saved up to have an incredibly beautiful wardrobe of well-made, ethically sourced pieces that will last.

As a fashion blogger, I am regularly indulging this culture of consumerism and over consumption and overwhelmed by the pressure to keep up with the newest trends and “it” item. But as a stylist, I am always encouraging my clients to rid themselves of clutter and pieces that no longer suit their lives, and to buy less. To be mindful of their purchases. To support quality over quantity.

It’s time I start taking my own advice.

So what does this mean?

For starters,  I am going to stop turning to stores like H&M, TJ Maxx, and my favorite, Zara, for a quick fix. I’m done with “quick fixes.” The fastest way to support the ethical fashion movement is to slow down and shop less. To stop treating clothing like it's disposable. And when you do shop, to be aware of what you are buying.

So, I’m not just quitting fast fashion, I’m also going to start supporting ethically made garments. I want to know where my clothes come from and become a more conscientious and mindful shopper. I want to do better with my own personal consumption.

To me, ethical fashion is about reshaping our attitudes towards clothing and shopping. About valuing what we currently have and ridding this internal voice that is telling us (sometimes screaming at us) that we need more, more, more. It's learning to stop the impulse buying and start thoughtfully making purchases based on what I actually need (and yes, sometimes really want). It’s about acknowledging where a garment comes from and how it's made and how long I plan to wear it before I buy it. It's time to stop treating our clothing as disposable.

It means walking away from fast fashion and supporting slow fashion.

I’m not going to lie, committing to slow fashion is scary to me. Both my passion - as a fashion blogger - and my business - as a personal stylist - have relied on fast fashion. Can I continue both without it? Can I keep up with the other bloggers? Will I be judged? Will people fear I am judging them? Will my readers become disengaged?

I don’t know.

But this is a personal choice I am pursuing. I don’t want others to feel judged. I recognize the importance of convenience and low-costs items for many shoppers. So, while many of you will continue your shopping habits, I’m hoping to bring awareness, share other options, and support my personal styling clients within their values, choices and preferences – not my own.

But I’m looking forward to the challenge and hope you all will gain some insight and knowledge as I explore this process. I’m looking forward to supporting artists and makers and creators. To supporting companies who support their workers. To supporting those who are buying and creating eco-friendly, sustainable garments.

Finally, I look forward to showing that slow fashion can compete in the fast pace world of the fast fashion industry in terms of style. Because this is, after all, a style blog.

I'm ready to slow down and embrace the slow fashion movement.

I’m ready to commit.

***I’ll be sharing more information on this topic (from personal experiences to resources), but if you are interested in learning more now, check out the documentary, 
The True Cost (also currently on Netflix). It's a game changer.***

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