Dress Sustainably: How to Be Stylish Without Fast Fashion
Nowadays, it seems like fast-fashion is a treadmill that every fashionista has to keep up with. There’s been a lot of discussion and debate about what fast fashion means in relation to a toxic consumer culture, and of course, sustainability in fashion.
As a result, a lot of shoppers are starting to question whether huge hauls of cheap clothes are really something we should be aspiring to, and what we can do instead. Is fast fashion a necessity for us to look good and be stylish? Do we just need to resign ourselves to the fact that clothes just have to be made this way?
The truth about fast fashion is that it’s not necessary to have a great wardrobe, there are inventive ways that you can look really amazing without partaking in a fashion trend that has such negative connotations. But just how do you step away from fast fashion and still look great? Here are some steps you can take.
One of the biggest challenges of fast fashion is how the clothes are produced. There’ve been allegations of unethical labor standards, and people on factory lines working long hours to produce the clothes. To make the clothes in high volumes and sell them at low prices, production has to be done as cheaply as possible. Many people don’t want to buy fast fashion because they feel like they are contributing to the ill treatment of workers, and other really problematic parts of this way of making and selling clothes.
One of the ways to step off this conveyer belt of unethical production is to source your clothes locally. Locally-sourced clothing is linked to higher production standards and labor laws that protect the people who actually make and sew the clothing. Instead of buying stuff from the cheap fast fashion brand, you can choose to buy USA made T-shirts and other garments. That way you know where your money is going and that it’s going towards a fair workplace instead of a harmful one.
Extend the Life Cycle of Clothing
If you want to be a more sustainable fashion consumer, one way you can do that is to buy thrifted and second-hand clothing instead of buying cheap, brand new, fast fashion items. Fast fashion is hard on our resources because it contributes to so much waste. One of the pillars of fast-fashion is trends, which can come and go in a matter of weeks. The problem is, when the trends move on, people are left with quickly outdated items that are cheaply made and hard to salvage. Instead of contributing to this cycle, why not opt for high-quality second-hand or pre-loved clothing that still looks good and needs a new home?
Thrifting has become incredibly popular because many people recognize that they can find really great items without paying an arm and a leg. It’s also more sustainable. Thrifting has really gone mainstream, and now you can buy great pre-loved fashion online so you can do all your shopping from the comfort of your home in your sweats! All you need to do is commit to making some of your clothing purchases something thrifted and second-hand. You’ll start enjoying uncovering unique finds and making your wardrobe even more unique.
Support Smaller Design Brands
Cheap fast fashion brands are often accused of ripping off smaller brands and designers, and taking their designs and using them to make massive profits. Unfortunately, there is credible evidence that this happens all the time. As a consumer, what can you do? You can support the smaller brands and buy from them. So many of these brands work extremely hard to make the beautiful garments that they sell, and it’s very crushing to them when a multi-million dollar brand comes along and takes their designs and sells them for a lot less.
Indie fashion brands have higher running costs, and they really appreciate the support of their customers. From beautiful summer dresses to handmade jewelry, you can find really amazing pieces from designers and boutiques that aren’t as popular or as well-known. You get to contribute to a business with practices you actually support, and you’re also helping a smaller local business. It’s not that hard to find indie brands and to support them, Instagram is filled with those kinds of fashion retailers. They work very hard to build up a loyal following of customers, so becoming a part of their tribe makes a really big difference. Companies like Amazon Fashion also spotlight these smaller designers, so the next time you’re looking for something new to wear, think about those brands first!