Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Eyes Wide Open: Fast Fashion

Fast Fashion: here is the video that opened my eyes. Not that I didn't know some of this, but that I hadn't incorporated this knowledge into my own little bubble.

Busted: I am a consumer of fast fashion.  I have always been a huge thrift shop buyer, and have often altered clothing I find there.  But maybe that inexpensive taste for eclectic clothing morphed into a taste for more and more (cheap) clothing in general, with the result that I am buying tons of clothes--just like everyone else, it seems.

Quotes that broke my heart--yes, people, I got to researching; so should we all:

Today a fashionable dress is cheaper than a bag of dog food. How did we get here?
Our closets are larger and more stuffed than ever, as we’ve traded quality and style for low prices and trend-chasing. (Esty article, The History of a Cheap Dress)

The mass production of so much cheap clothing is an enormous waste of resources such as fuel and water. While many people donate their clothing to charities and consignment shops, fast fashion tends to be so cheaply made that no one wants to buy it... — generating the term "landfill fashion."  (NPR series, The Fast World of Fast Fashion)

A Cambridge University study reports that in 2006, people were buying a third more clothes than they were in 2002, and women have four times as many clothes in their wardrobe than they did in 1980.  (from Ethical Fashion Forum, a group working to change the paradigm of fast fashion)

How bad am I?

Well, my closet and dresser are stuffed, for one thing. 
I have bought numerous clothing items just this year, with my most recent retail purchases being at Marshall's/Ross/TJMaxx--in the clearance section!  (Clearly I was going for cheaper-than-cheap.)

Today's outfit demonstrates both the good and embarrassingly not-so-good in my wardrobe.  Jacket is one I stitched myself (Indygo Junction pattern; Me-Made May win!)  Camisole underneath is one of those $1.80 can't-pass-em-up fast fashion clunkers from Forever 21.  Jeans were purchased at a thrift store--a pair of just-barely-worn Old Navy brand (another person's discarded fast fashion).  Belt is from a discount retailer (Ross maybe?) but is already coming apart in the back, leading me to swear off cheap belts in the future.  Earrings are from a local artist/craftsperson who sells at Saturday Market, and were made from re-purposed computer chips.

Shoes (Naturalizers today) are the one area of my wardrobe that feels the best.  My bunion started insisting about 10 years ago that I not wear uncomfortable shoes, and I started paying attention.  Comfort brands became my thing, with my Dansko collection leading the pack.  I still have too many pairs of shoes (and sadly, am *always* drawn to looking at more), but at least they are quality shoes that are meant to last for many years.

What am I gonna do about this?

Sweetie reminds me that we, the little guys, influence our society en masse in 2 ways: our vote and our purchasing habits.  Well, my habits have gotta change.  I can't continue to buy clothes at this rate--even from thrift stores, even if I am getting rid of equivalent garments from my overstuffed closets.

I pledge no clothing purchases for the remainder of 2015.  This includes thrift shop purchases and clothing accessories.  Exceptions: underwear, athletic gear (if it is needed, like a new pair of running shoes), a costume for Halloween, and the possibility of a special need (like maybe a new belt?)

I also want to rid myself of those items that I don't really wear.  I feel like I declutter my clothing more often than any of my other belongings, and yet I know there are unworn items lurking in there.

Finally, I want to make my own clothes.  Garments that fit me, that are well-made, that are unique and flattering.  Sewing from my abundant stash!

How about you?  Do you have a "good closet"?  Are you a fashion gourmet...  or a fashion gourmand?

1 comment:

  1. Your post has me thinking. We are such a "throw-away" society these days. Nothing is built to last as it was decades ago. I do have too many clothes in my closet and struggle to donate them. I tend to wear my clothes forever as I do not like to dress trendy but instead timeless classic. When I do buy current the quality is not up to par for my budget. I used to sew all my clothes and my daughter's but now with the cost of patterns and fabric it is really easier and "cheaper" to buy ready-made. I think I shall continue to wear my clothes I have and only buy a few new pieces to feel part of our society. Thank you for sharing this information.