There are times where cheap clothing is not a good thing. I was watching a video by Kristen Leo (which I’ve linked below) that motivated me to write this article. It’s very easy for some big brands to say they are socially responsible, when as Kristen says there’s no sustainable way for fast fashion to be done ethically. I really have to agree, as they are the industry that thrives off producing masses of clothing for consumption. As a result, it requires people who can make these clothings, at extreme low pay, in order for the brands to earn more. Many fast fashion companies, tend to be very ambiguous and unclear in the production of their clothing, and there is a clear lack of transparency.
I love fashion, however one of my issues with the industry, is the idea of consumption. This idea that we’re constantly needing more, and when it’s shallow in terms of enjoying what something looks like, but not going deeper to understand what our money is supporting. This goes for many things in life, in which we can turn a blind eye, because it doesn’t always directly affect us. However, fashion has a huge influence on the world, for the environment and so on. I think it’s encouraging to see more and more people recycling, rewearing and thrifting for clothes. As well as labels that truly have ethical actions, transparency and a genuine care for the environment and working space.
Buying cheap clothes, can actually be quite expensive. I think of the hundreds of dollars of money I’ve spent on clothing over the years of fast fashion, especially in my teens. These pieces of clothing are no longer in my wardrobe, and I now have a wardrobe of mostly second hand clothing that I’ve worn for years. However, I am more able to buy clothing that are good quality, and sometimes not super cheap, but I know I will wear for a long time. In a consumer society, we are told that a sale means we’ll save, save, save. But, truly it is actually making us spend, spend, spend. I think the fashion industry has many dirty secrets behind many companies, because we don’t always know if the clothing we’re wearing were created through child labour etc.
Most people shop according to how much something costs, and this is natural. I think of when I’m at the supermarket, and whether I buy a $3.5 cereal box or a $8 one. I’m likely to choose the $3.5 one. When it comes to clothing, I think of areas that aren’t very clear, because there are t-shirts that could be $18, and in another brand it could be $80. The clothing could be similar fabric, style and there can be confusion at how the prices is created. Op-shop’s, thrift/vintage stores and second hand shops reflect how we often wear something to throw it away. There are numerous clothing that are donated to these stores. Whereas we should buy something as an investment, through quality and value.
It’s very common that Youtube and Instagram, and other social media platforms encourage buying cheap clothes, fast fashion and consumption. Our insecurities lies in the need to have more, in order to fit in. But, to be able to wear something again and again, and embrace your personal style is important. If you see something you love, and know you’re going to wear it a lot, then it’s worth buying it. When I think of the dark side of the fashion industry, I think of landfills, chemicals, waste, profit, poor working environments and so on. Previous articles on ethical fashion, minimalism and consumption:
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What are your thoughts on fast fashion and cheap clothing?