Thoughts On: fast fashion and sustainability
I had a mass exodus clean out of my wardrobe recently and realised just how much clothing I had that I just didn't wear. It was one of those clearouts where if I hadn't worn a piece for the past six months or more, it was in the out pile. A lot of the out pieces were fast fashion - items I'd hauled from online stores for events, nights out and (I hate that I'm saying this) to look nice in pictures.
With the rise of coverage about fast fashion and sustainable living in the media, it's made me start to think about my quick fix approach to what I wear, and even what I consume; not just in the sense of food, but the type of media I'm choosing to look at.
Let's set the scene - I'm a 22 year old girl, I like to go "out out" with friends (less so now than I used to, I can't handle as many jagerbombs as 19 year old Becks), I tend to attend weddings, work events and Sunday brunches. I can't lie, I like having a brand new outfit for each thing, especially for a pic on the 'gram. I'm a normal girl who gets a thrill out of an ASOS or PLT delivery, without thinking of the repercussions because it's fun and without sounding like a sheep... everyone does it!
I recently read Emma Gannon's article for Elle online about the sudden pressure to be "woke" about these issues and the shift in societal focus from looks to knowledge. I found the piece to be calming - I'm always being so hard on myself for not knowing enough about certain topics or having the 'wrong' views. The truth is, no one is perfect and we all evolve all the time. This blog post is my way of taking a look at sustainable fashion from an early twenty-somethings perspective. The outlook of someone who maybe can't afford high end pieces all the time, or looks at thrifting and doesn't know where to start.
I think it’s damn easy to look at someone on Instagram who has over 200k followers, looks like a perfect example of veganism, fitness and all round wellbeing and think, wow they’ve got their $h*t together. (Edit: I’m not saying that those three things = great person, but it’s a stereotypical example.) This can send the mind into a downward spiral, setting this type of lifestyle on an unreachable pedestal and shutting down any aspiration of ever getting there. If something is too inaccessible, we start to wonder why we’re even bothering. You have to remember that’s social media is a show reel and you should always use it as a form of inspiration and not a rule book.
I think, especially for myself, it’s important to remember that any small action you take is a step towards living more consciously.
Having been vegetarian for over a year - which definitely didn't start out from a humane perspective, but has evolved that way - I have started to explore other ways we effect the planet. It's funny that we talk about looking after the space we're in quite a lot, from our workplace to homes, but we forget the world that houses us. Anyway, I digress.
So what’s the point? Why am I writing about this? What do I plan to do? Woah there, imaginary blog readers, not so fast. First of all, I’m going to be aware, but I’m not going to allow myself to feel the pressure. Hearing about the issues with fast fashion has sparked my interest and naturally that leads to me wanting to educate myself. I’ve found myself following new people who post educational content on this topic and have been listening to a few podcasts on fast fashion vs slow fashion on my commute to work. My next stop is the obvious, Stacey Dooley’s documentary.
Next, I plan to buy consciously this year. I want to save money and only spend it when I’m sure. To be honest, after my wardrobe re-organise, I found my most worn clothes were well made pieces I’d bought five years ago. So, I’ll try not to buy new outfits for every event I’m going to (which sounds ridiculous when you type it out) but instead buy pieces I can re-style. I’m going to be an… outfit repeater * gasp *.
I’m not saying I won’t buy anything new, however I’m going to look into supplement my buying with second hand, whether that be Depop or vintage stores. I’m not denouncing brands like ASOS completely, as a lot of my favourite items have been bought from there, I’m just talking quantities. So, I’m going to remind myself to stop feeling the pressure to have the latest clothes and start choosing quality clothing.
I think all of that sounds like putting my best foot forward, don’t you?