The Fast Fashion Trap & How to Get Out of it

I started out 2018 with the pledge to not buy any new items of clothing all year. That was all going really well until last week, and I bought a few pieces in the summer sales. I bought them online and went to straight to my sister to tell her I’d ‘done a bad thing’. I was already guilty. I told myself I’d only keep one of the pieces, and luckily I ended up not liking half of what I bought. It’s going back to where it came from. But the one item leftover from that little shopping spree hangs in my closet guiltily. I’ve told myself ‘it’s just one item’ and ‘I need a new blazer for my new job anyway’, but when do my excuses for this one thing, spiral into ‘shopaholic’ again?

If any of you are super old followers of mine you might remember my first blog, Fashion Floor Fillers, which was based on my love for shopping, buying loads of new items, styling them up, and then buying more. The name basically came from the fact that my clothes were forever all over my floor, because I had so much. I guess this was a trend at the time, and how most new bloggers started out. I felt like if I didn’t have new things to show my audience that I wouldn’t have new content to create. But, as I know now, that’s total BS!

I remember my first year of college in 2010, I was 17. My mam would give me a certain amount of money each week going off to college to cover the bus and food and whatever else I needed. But before I went home on the Friday I would go to Penneys and spend whatever I had leftover from that week, on whatever was on the sale rail. I didn’t save any money, and these weren’t considered purchases by any means!

When I first started Youtube, in 2013 I think, I would do monthly shopping hauls, like a lot of Youtubers would, and some still do. I guess it was the easiest video to film and hauls do attract lots of views. We’re all nosey, we like to see what other people are buying. I bet if I were to watch some of those videos back, I wouldn’t still have any of those pieces in my wardrobe, because again, these weren’t considered purchases and barely any of them were actually my style. They were just cheap, and I felt good becasue I could afford them.

Lately I’ve been feeling that mindset come back.. I scroll through Depop or wander around shops (usually when someone else is shopping, not me, although this is a dangerous game) and I see pieces I like, and immediately I start thinking ‘I would look so cool in this’ or ‘this item would look so great that I’d feel really happy because other people would think I looked great it in and like me’. No joke guys, these are my crazy thoughts. This attachment to clothes is so dangerous, and I know that, and yet I can’t quite shake it sometimes. I know I’m being ridiculous by thinking any item of clothing would actually make me happier, and yet there I was, imagining myself in this sheer polka dot top, thinking that top would make a difference to my life.

The thing is, we’ve all been there. A lot of us still are there, and we really need to take a step back and ask ourselves why we rely on these things to create happiness in our lives? And do they really create happiness at all? I know the rush of buying something is great. You think you’re getting a bargain, or the latest most popular blogger has it (and believe me, they’ll wear it once and then probably sell it on), and acquiring this item makes you feel good when you buy it, and when you bring it home, and maybe the first time you wear it, but what happens when you realise that nothing has changed, this item of clothing hasn’t transformed you life, and actually it’s just taking up space in your closet that is already smothering you?

Giving up buying new items was the best thing I could have done this year. I now realise that happiness for me is having a tidy wardrobe that doesn’t stress me out when I go to get dressed. It’s not having to do so much laundry because I have so many less items. It’s knowing that no matter what I put on from my wardrobe, it will look good on me, because it suits me and it’s my style. Happiness for me is that really nice feeling of leaving a shop without being tempted to buy something ‘just because’. Or finding something I’ve been wanting for ages in a charity shop, and knowing that I’m not causing any negative effects to the environment or anyone’s life by buying it.

I think I would be quite happy to give up high street shopping for good. I know not buying anything new ever again is unrealistic, but I can make sure my new items come from better places. Small designers, sustainable fashion brands, anybody actually trying to make a difference in this crazy world.

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Here are some ways you too can decide to give up on fast-fashion:

  1. Choose quality over quantity.

    Choose amazing fabrics that will wear well, wash well, and last. Also, fabrics that feel good on your skin and you would want to wear lots. This will mean you don’t have to buy or replace things as often.

  2. Buy from brands making a difference,

    whether that be organic fabrics, recycled fabrics, handmade or ethically made pieces, no slave/child labour, no harsh dyes and chemicals that are ruining our water supplies. Or better yet, all of the above. There are amazing websites out the that will list lots of good brands to  support, so you too can make that difference. Check out Good Companies for a list of ethical brands.

  3. Repair where needed

    Just because something tears, that doesn’t mean you need to replace it. Sew it up, or bring it to somebody who can. It is such a useful skill to be able to hand sew and most small tears can be fixed by hand.

  4. Better yet, invest in a sewing machine and make your own clothing

    . How much cooler would it be to have completely unique pieces hanging in your wardrobe, that you have designed and tailor fit to you perfectly. If you’re really good at making clothes, you could even offer to make some for other people. You will be reducing their carbon footprint too by offering them a more sustainable option, and you could make some money out of it too.

  5. Buy second hand.

    There are so many options for shopping second hand. You could buy vintage, which is usually, but not always, of a higher quality than what we can find from fast fashion today, but it can be a bit more expensive. You can buy from charity shops so that you are both supporting the planet and a charity at the same time. You can shop on Depop, which is an app where people buy and sell clothing, and other things, from anywhere in the world. It’s really safe and reliable and all payments are done through paypal. I love Depop for those online shopping cravings, when you don’t want to leave the comfort of your PJs and your couch. You could also do a good old clothes swap amongst your friends or family. This can be really fun and you can get your friends to bring their friends and find some really cool pieces. Crack open some wine and have fun with it.

I hope this inspires you to reduce the amount of fast fashion you are consuming. These top companies are paying for the best Ads so that we feel like we need their products, but we are totally fine without them!! Remember that! xx

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