Welcome Lovely people and welcome back to a new blog post. This time I just wanted to tackle my struggle with Fast Fashion a bit and why I think it is important to me to change my perspective (and hopefully yours a bit too) regarding this industry of fast fashion and be more conscious in what I am buying and wearing. Of course, I am not perfect and I have a long way to go to be completely sustainable and ethical in the choices I make within fashion.
At the moment I am thinking mainly what is fast fashion exactly, what can we do ourselves to reduce this and what are the alternatives?Miss Widjaja
I started to think about fast fashion more and more around the time that I moved to London two years ago. I can honestly say I was not aware at all that some years ago I had a closet full of cheap clothing (collected over more than 15 years) and I did not even wear most of it at all. Why, mainly because it was cheap, it made me feel like I was someone when I was younger (which I don’t care about anymore since a long time ago). I had always something to wear, at least that is what I was saying to myself back then. (We, ladies, all been through buying clothes and ending up having not a thing to wear :S)
After leaving eighty percent of my clothing in the Netherlands, I still had a lot here in London. I began to give a lot to second-hand shops/ charity shops because I brought clothing to London that didn’t fit anymore (from years of staying in my closest without trying them on again) or they were worn out completely (mostly my work clothes). This was the moment for me to move on and I decided to shop in second-hand shops to see what they had to offer, I needed shirts and trousers for work mainly. Like most people probably, I also like to wear fresh clothing on a daily base, especially if you work fulltime.
Mixing and matching items is the best way to go for me at the moment. I can wear items more than once (after washing of course) and still look like I am wearing something else each day. A promise I made to myself is to buy only an item that I will and can wear many times.
I know I am not perfect and I can do much more to be sustainable in buying fashion-related products. But we all need to start somewhere and be more aware of what we actually buying, no? So let’s dive into this topic and find out why is it so bad to buy cheap clothes.
What is Fast Fashion?
To make it really simple it is a term used by fashion retailers who are translating designs as quickly from the catwalk to the stores to capture the current trends.
Who are those fashion retailers? We all know them because you can find them all over the high streets and online as super easy and convenient clothing shops/ online stores. I suggest just to google and read some articles to find out exactly which brands to avoid at the moment or check this blog post: HOW TO KNOW THE BEST AND WORST BRANDS FOR SWEATSHOP LABOUR
Why is it not ethical?
There are many reasons why it is not ethical. First of all, all those huge amounts of clothing you can find in those fast fashion stores are made from cheap materials, like polyester, which is a synthetic fiber. All those synthetic clothing we throw away so easily are not going to disappear from our planet as easily. All these waste are non-biodegradable substance, which will take 20 -200 years to degrade. This is having a huge impact on the environment everywhere.
Not only synthetic (petroleum based) fibres are bad, but also the way cotton is produced with all the pesticide that is needed for the demand that there is in the world at the moment, which makes the people who are working on the cotton fields for us very sick and a lot of time they are not so lucky as us to just change their jobs.
Not to forget to mention and very important I think, are the workers who do all the work in shitty conditions for us to buy those cheap clothes. The work environment these people work in is in the worse conditions that I am sure no one would like to volunteer to work in. Please see this article regarding the building that collapsed in Bangladesh with all those workers inside that died because of the very bad conditions they were working in.
I think the first step is realizing why is fast fashion clothing so cheap and how is this even possible?! Realize that cheap clothing comes with a high price in the end, which means maybe you will be not affected by this any time soon, but we all will be affected in the near future and it will affect the environment we all live in in the end.
Mostly it will affect the people who are making the clothes on high demands at the moment in terrible conditions.Miss Widjaja
What I am doing at the moment?
With this all said, I can say I am more conscious of what fast fashion is. I am more aware of what I am buying and what I am doing to the planet with my choices. It is a slow process, but being aware and slowly going to slow fashion and second-hand is already a big step in the right direction.
Let’s be honest, it is not something that you can change from day to night, but every small step will help to eventually not support fast fashion and buy less clothing in general. Which will be a win-win for everyone!
Next step is to focus on the quality. I know now that second-hand shopping is super fun and you will find a lot of good quality clothing for cheap! Important of good quality clothes for me is that I want to buy an item, wear it many times and it still has to look great after many washing.
So at the moment if I am shopping, I am shopping at second-hand shops/charity shops and eBay. I try not to purchase things on the high street, but even if I want to buy in shops, I think I need to check which shops are more sustainable and with good conditions for the workers who are making the clothing. This is something new for me as well, so far I only purchased in second-hand shops here in London and I found a lot of great quality clothing through this channel. (This will be for another blog post I guess)
Great alternatives to consider
Great videos to see regarding this topic you can find below and of course, check online, read articles, google it, watch different videos and blog posts regarding this topic. I think the first step for many of us is to be aware that fast fashion is becoming a huge problem.
Hopefully, we all realize what the effect is of fast fashion on the environment and on the people who are making the clothes.
Please click here to see which brands are sustainable shops and click here (video- the effect of fast fashion), here (video- the wardrobe to die for), here (video- the high cost of our cheap fashion), here (video- the cost of fashion), here (video- Rana Plaza Collapse Documentary: The Deadly Cost of Fashion | Op-Docs | The New York Times) and here (film- the true cost – Netflix docu) for some videos about this topic.
Hope you could appreciate my blog post and started being more aware of what you are actually buying. We all need to start somewhere. Wish you the best!
X Miss Widjaja