5 Reasons To Rethink Fast Fashion
Fast fashion is a contemporary term used by fashion retailers to express that designs move from catwalk quickly to capture current fashion trends. This philosophy of quick manufacturing at an affordable price is used in large retailers such as H&M, Forever 21, and Charlotte Russe. Unlike notable brands such as Gucci, Burberry and Balenciaga—fast fashion companies mass produce low-quality products then sell them for super discounted prices. Though they seem economically logical, you may want to rethink fast fashion.
1. Fast fashion distorts your sense of value
Most people appreciate a sale. However, when fast fashion companies lower their prices, your sense of value gets skewed. The money your saving on that cheap sweater (vs. a quality one) may seem like a steal but really it’s causing you to forget about the important things; How necessary is it? Does it look good on me? Will I wear it all the time? These may seem like hard questions but the next time you are tempted to buy that $2 T-shirt, will give you a reality check.
2. Collaborations trick you into paying for “the name”
Mass market retailers regularly invest in collabs with high fashion designers, giving consumers a taste of luxury. The designer will put their name on cheap items to give the mass retailer’s products a false sense of grandeur. These limited-time capsule collections are designed to send shoppers into a buying frenzy! You could argue you’re paying for the design, but really, anyone who recognizes the designer will probably recognize that you’re wearing the fast fashion version, not the real deal.
3. Low quality changes how you think about clothes
When we buy cheap clothes at fast fashion stores, we don’t expect it to last. For example, if you need a top for a party this weekend, a fast fashion top would get the job done. Because it’s usually a one-time-buy, people are more inclined to throw away clothing. Low prices and fast trends have made clothing disposable items. Remember, if you’re going to toss your clothes after one wear, you’re throwing money away, too.
4. It’s inhumane and environmentally unfriendly
The United States alone contributes 11 million tons of clothing to landfills each year. Because these textiles aren't biodegradable, they stay in landfills for up to 200 years. This pollution combined with the pollution from making fast fashion products is catastrophic. Fast fashion is believed to be the 2nd largest polluter in the world, behind oil. Aside from the environmental effects, the working conditions in third-world-country factories is horrific. In fear of losing their contracts and main sources of income, underpaid and overworked workers are forced to continue their strenuous labor.
5. You end up paying more than luxury clothes
Some may argue that they can’t afford luxury or boutique clothing items—that’s why they buy into fast fashion. If you’re on a budget and looking for ways to save money on clothes, calculate the cost per wear for each item. You need to think about both how often you’ll wear the item, and how long it will likely last. For instance, a $100 pair of sandals may seem pricey but compared to a $20 pair. However, the quality will last and outlive multiple $20 pairs of shoes.
Overall, fashion fades but style is forever. Instead of going to the mall and binge shopping on cheap stuff, think about building a wardrobe of items that have a long shelf life, fit you like a glove, and are timeless. Investing in luxury items doesn't mean you have to spend thousands of dollars. Take baby steps.
Start saving bit by bit for essential wardrobe items like raw hem jeans and day-to-day booties. In reality, investing in these necessary items will save you money. The luxury quality will ensure their longevity and since quality items aren't mass produced, you will be the owner of unique pieces that no one else has! It's a win-win. Start now!
Sophia Zigmond / Writer