See, It’s easy to buy cheap, trendy clothes from fast-fashion stores. It really is, because if they tear, stain or shrink, who cares? Right? You can always go back and purchase whatever the current style is for a super low price. I used to be into fast fashion, falling into the same trap every time I go shopping or worse, every time I went to the mall for whatever reason. This happened every week sometimes, as here in Jakarta most of our outings and entertainment are in malls.
I cringe every time I think of my previous shopping habits and what “joy” I thought it brought me.
That’s something I never thought of in the past. Want to know why I made the switch? I’m going to tell you all about it.
Although there are loads of information out on the internet, very few people knew what I was talking about when I mentioned I don’t buy fast-fashion.
Here’s how my “wake up call” happened:
We moved to a new home, and that’s when I discovered what fast fashion was all about
We moved houses a few months ago, so when I started with packing our belongings, I began with my closet.
I came across several clothes I’ve never worn before (some even still had tags on them!) and some I hadn’t donned in years.
Before I knew any better, I didn’t mind getting rid of piles and piles of clothes. Whenever it was time to declutter, I donated them, and that made me feel better about myself. Thinking this made it ok.
We all like knowing that what we never wear and won’t ever wear again someone else will benefit from them. However, the guilt that I felt when I really dived into my closet was heavy.
I realized with all the regular decluttering that I do, I still had so much crap to get rid of and that I was only replacing the items with more things I don’t seem to need.
I don’t know what made me do it… but I researched how to change my life into a more organized one. So, one video led to another and blog post comes blog post, I found myself in a different world.
It was then when I realized what my shopping habits were doing to the environment.
During our clean-out, I talked to my kids about fast-fashion and slow-fashion. I told them what I learned and my decision to stop supporting fast-fashion and try the more sustainable route. Their closet condition wasn’t better than mine, especially my 12-year-old daughter, who is now into fashion and likes to go shopping now and then.
I needed her to understand, to see for herself because I knew she’d get it and act on it once she knew. Because to be honest, two years ago, my 10-year-old Val, along with my son, banned the plastic bags and plastic straws from our home and made us use alternatives.
Our kids are the future, and they want to save the planet.
If we have any hope of saving our planet, it is in the hands of our children, the next generation. It’s our job as adults to lead by example and to listen to what they have to say, and that’s exactly what I’m trying to do here.
What is fast fashion, you ask?
In case you haven’t heard about fast fashion, I’ll summarize it for you as best as I can.
Catwalks and fashion shows show new styles, and places like Zara, Forever 21, Primark, and H&M take note – they use labourers for a low, low (did I mention low) price and ask them to emulate the styles from the catwalk.
Within days, these stores stock this innovative, popular style, and watch happily as consumers crowd their store and buy a sparkling new wardrobe.
Fast fashion gives shoppers a chance to stay up to date on the latest trends without hurting their wallet too much.
It doesn’t seem so bad.
Well, not when the trends flip every week. Sometimes every other day there’s a new item to buy. No wonder people end up with more clothes than they know what to do with.
Have you wondered what happens to the leftover clothes that no one buys? Well, since fast fashion stores have a high demand for new styles, their older clothes eventually collect dust on the shelves.
Do you ever think of who makes our clothes?
Are you ready for some facts?
Here are three major reasons I quit fast-fashion:
- Pollution: Fast fashion is second to oil as the world’s largest polluter on the planet. The dyes and chemicals used to make these clothes also leach into the earth. This often causes contamination of water and soil. Fast fashion is a huge contributor to plastic pollution.
- Cheap Labor: FF exposes garment factory workers to hazardous substances and unsafe production processes. They work extreme hours with minimal pay. Besides, cases of mental, physical, and sexual abuse are frequent.
- Production: Gone are the four seasons. New styles appear almost daily at major fast-fashion retailers. Thanks to the large advertising budgets they have, they manipulate us into thinking we’d like and need to buy new clothes often, to stay trendy and because, let’s face it… they are super affordable!
With these heart-breaking facts in mind, I questioned my shopping choices. I realized that it was time to say goodbye to fast fashion and to look into other options. And yes, there’re no exceptions and no going back.
Here are three steps to make the change:
- Find your style without following every single trend. Go for classic, timeless pieces, and you won’t need to buy too many and too often.
- Know that constant shopping and accumulating stuff, doesn’t make you as happy as you think it would. It does the opposite.
- Go for ethical brands and if they seem expensive to you, then consider the pre-loved market.
I’m so happy with my slow fashion purchases! Here’s why:
We all need to consume better quality and sustainable items. It’s important to understand that less consumption of any product will give us hope in saving our precious planet. The problem doesn’t stop at the fast fashion industry. But if you’re considering making a change, then this is a good place to start.
This is where I started. Until I saw that my bad shopping habits didn’t just stop at clothes shopping, it was all over my home and my life.
I am on the journey to change the way I perceive happiness, and I’m not putting any labels on it or myself. But I want to concentrate on what truly makes us happy and not define that happiness with materialistic stuff.
Every voice matters. All of us can make a change.
Until next time…