Dear Fast Fashion
About a year ago, I broke up with fast fashion. If you’ve been following my blog, you already know this, but I think it’s worth sitting down and explaining why.
I’ll start from the beginning.
My affair with fast fashion began before I can even remember, really.
I think that my family passed down their love affair with consumerism to me. I don’t blame them; I can only imagine what it was like to flee from a home destroyed by war to step foot in a new, shiny country where everything can be yours, for the right price.
So I grew up with the mindset that clothes, along with most other consumer goods, are not an investment. I grew up wearing clothes my mom bought on sale, and later on, that I bought on sale. In college, I discovered online shopping and devoted way too much of my mental energy towards finding cheap, trendy clothes that I could afford with my minimum wage work study jobs.
In my heart, I kind of knew that the cheap clothes I was buying were made by exploited workers. But this fact was so easy to ignore.
As consumers, we don’t see the faces of the people who make our clothes. We don’t know what their lives are like, what they eat, where they live, how many children they have, what their dreams are.
No one judges you for buying something cheap and cute; on the contrary, everyone is impressed that your trendy new dress only cost $15.
And that’s the dehumanizing part of all of this—that because we are so distanced from the human beings who make our clothes (and other consumer goods), we fail to think of them as human beings who deserve the same rights and respect that we demand for ourselves.
I believe that this isn’t just horrible for garment workers who are exploited, but for those of us on the consumer end, as well. I don’t want to be okay with devaluing someone’s work and quality of life so that I can have cheap material things. I think that dehumanizing other people goes both ways, and that it’s toxic for the parts of ourselves that are light and soft and kind and loving. You know, the most human parts of ourselves.
When I started this blog, I had no idea it would become a sustainable and ethical fashion blog. I simply wanted to share my outfits, thoughts, and ideas, but I knew that my values wouldn’t let me promote fast fashion (I think it’s one thing to buy fast fashion, but another to encourage others to shop from unethical brands through a platform that potentially reaches thousands of people or more).
For a while, the temptation was still there. But the longer I went without buying fast fashion, and in general without shopping as much as I did before, the more I realized that the thought of buying fast fashion no longer sparked any joy for me. That buying clothes will never fill my soul the way making my own clothes, or writing, or spending time with my loved ones, does. That I had been using consumerism as a way to bring myself temporary and insubstantial happiness instead of doing the things that truly sustain my soul.
Fast fashion, I don’t miss you. Our relationship was toxic, not only for me, but for the earth and the human beings you exploit.
Top: Everlane Notch Collar Silk Shirt
Pants: Everlane Wide-Leg Crop Pant in Bone
Shoes: M.gemi (I think these are sold out now because I bought them during the winter sale…but here’s my referral link for a $50 off discount)
Fashion Revolution Week
If you’re ready to break up with fast fashion, too, or have already, you can participate in Fashion Revolution Week! Fashion Revolution Week commemorates the Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013, which killed over a thousand garment workers in Bangladesh. This horrific tragedy did push the fashion industry to change for the better, but we still have a long way to go!
Some ways that you can participate:
- Ask a brand #whomademyclothes? Tag them on social media or e-mail them! Templates are on the Fashion Revolution site.
- Learn more about why fast fashion sucks, so you can educate yourself and others. For more ethical fashion bloggers, check out Ethical Writers & Creatives.
- Try these budget-friendly ways to be a more conscious fashionista!
- Continue supporting the sustainable and ethical brands setting an example for the industry! Some of my faves that demonstrate thoughtfulness and sincerity in their desire to do better include Girlfriend Collective (10% off with code ‘CAT’) and Nisolo. Both of these brands have extensive info on their site about their social/environmental efforts.
Check out the Fashion Revolution website for more actions you can take!