How I Cured My Fast Fashion Addiction
For as long as I can remember I’ve always had a love for clothing. There has been an infinite amount of pieces which have convinced me I just need that one, that one new item to make me appear cooler, more interesting and more fun than everyone else in the room. Yet, no matter how much I bought, this urge would just appear once again.
When I moved into my first rental flat with my partner at 21 it took us a whole day back and forth in my dad’s car just moving my one room’s worth of items from my student house. This was the shock I needed. From then on, I decided that if I’m going to shop I will only buy items I truly love at the highest quality I can afford: I was going to stop buying so much fast fashion. It’s easier said than done to step away from an irresistible good deal, especially when that comes hand-in-hand with free next day delivery. However, in a world where a t-shirt can cost less than a coffee, it’s not just our wardrobes that end up suffering.
So, why is fast fashion bad for the environment? The production of these items has a negative impact on the environment due to the intense level of resources needed to create various fabrics. Then, once we have decided these items no longer fit into our wardrobes for whatever reason, it is estimated by Wrap that £140 million worth of clothing goes into landfill each year - ouch!! Not to mention, if you’re only paying £3.50 for something that was made on the other side of the planet, how much do you think the garment maker was paid?
So, how do you stop buying fast fashion? I’m sharing a few of my personal top tips below...
Acknowledge The Problem
With my wardrobe bursting at the seams - and my monthly wage seemingly disappearing into thin air days after it was put into my account - I was finally face to face with my shopping addiction. The worst part? None of these items were made to last. Jeans would rip at the crotch, knitwear stretched out with a couple wears and t-shirts developed holes. So, I began clearing out my wardrobe, donating and recycling what I could and even repurposing those old holey t-shirts into cleaning cloths for our new flat. Next, I had to tackle my spending, tracking through my monthly outgoings in a budgeting Excel sheet. The total I’d spent on fashion made me feel a little sick, and turned out all those cheap items added up to hundreds of pounds every month. Enough was enough.
See The Bigger Picture
Sadly, the vast majority of us fashion-lovers are part of the problem. According to Greenpeace (in their article Timeout For Fast Fashion), the average person buys 60% more items of clothing and keeps them for about half as long compared to 15 years ago. Plus, Redress and FashionUnited claim consumption has almost doubled since 2002, and it’s only expected to continue to grow by 63% by 2030 (although the unprecedented times of 2020 may hopefully make a noticeable dent in this). If we want to avoid burying our planet under mountains of castaway old season pieces, we need to change how we think about clothing. Those of us who are privileged enough to be able to choose to give up fast fashion and invest in clothes that last, definitely should for the sake of our environment.
Contemplate Every Purchase
Now, of course I’m not saying I just stopped shopping overnight. Believe me, I wish I had that willpower! But an easy first step was to start carefully contemplate every purchase I was making. After a huge wardrobe clear out I already knew of some gaps I needed to fill, but instead of rushing out and buying replacements from fast fashion shops, I did some browsing online, added a few items to my cart but (most importantly) didn’t checkout. Instead I waited a few days or even weeks to see if I was still thinking about the item. More often than not I forgot about the vast majority and only picked up 1 or 2 pieces instead of the usual haul. Of course, this also freed-up more budget for each individual item meaning I was able to shop from more premium brands. If you’re an impulse shopper, definitely remove those auto-filled credit or debit cards from your phone and computer. I would also recommend starting to use a wishlist app to curate those potential purchases. Remember to also take stock every so often of the items you have within your wardrobe. For example, you’re looking at purchasing a dreamy vintage-style blazer, revisit your wardrobe to see if this would be a good fit. Do you already own something similar? Have you tried to create outfits and noticed this is a piece that would be missing? Or, the biggest red flag at all, have you owned something similar in the past that didn’t receive any love or attention? A capsule wardrobe doesn’t happen overnight, it takes months and even years of careful planning, consistently checking in with your style, taste, lifestyle needs and anything else which may affect your day to day life.
Buy To Keep
Now, I’m not suggesting anyone would really go out of their way to buy something to only wear once (apart from a certain dress for a certain day of holy matrimony) but how many of us go out of our way to only buy things we would want to keep for years to come? So hand in hand with your carefully contemplated purchasing, try and look towards more premium brands who would put more love and care into the production of each piece extending the longevity of both the fabric and design. The best way to do this is to shop premium brands (the brands we covet here at Twiin) where you get the perfect balance of ethically produced garments at a great bang for your buck. If you’re on a tighter budget we would suggest using that careful consideration and wishlist building to your advantage over sale season, cherry picking the best deals to fit those gaps in your wardrobe! We’ve rounded up our top investment pieces from our very own sale here so you can take a browse and see if there was anything you had been eyeing up at full price!
Don’t Stress The Slip Ups
If you’re anything like I was, going cold-turkey with fast fashion is a big ask, so there is a large potential for slip ups. However, this shouldn’t stop you from slowly working towards a life no longer ruled by a fast fashion addiction. Remember, the most sustainable clothing we have is that which is already in your wardrobe so remember to love everything you own despite its branding or price tag. If you do decide it’s time to let go of a piece, be sure it goes to a new home where it will be treasured for years to come!