Thursday, 5 March 2015

How to Stop Indulging Yourself in Fast Fashion

As I've somewhat successfully kept the themes of the blog going on for the last couple months, I've decided to come up with another one this March. In commemoration of Earth Hour, which will be happening on 28 March this year - mark your calendars! - I thought I would go with the eco-friendly theme. As a start, I would like to update an old blog post that I wrote 3 years ago, this time focusing on the ethical side of the tips as opposed to the financial side - although it's also taken into account. 

Before I start, I would like to enlighten you on the side effect of fast fashion. In the modern world, fast fashion has become quite the norm, especially for retailers. Every year, in at least two fashion seasons, clothing stores exchange their products with newer ones, introducing brand new trends, styles and items to potential costumers. Needless to say, tens of thousands of people go to these stores to buy these new items, the need or lack thereof notwithstanding. Sure, you get to be on top of the newest trends and they make you look absolutely chic. But have you ever wondered about the old items that didn't get sold in the end? What happens to them? More importantly, what about all the clothes in your wardrobe, already bulging, ready to burst from the doors? What do you do with them? Now here are a few tips to prevent you from indulging yourself, start shopping smart and maintaining your closet.

Some people think of hand-me-downs as very embarrassing. But why? Here are 3 reasons why they rock big time: You save money which you would otherwise spend on clothes, vintage items with a lot of history adds to the aesthetics of the items, and you're helping press down the amount of waste the earth has to endure. If, say, the size isn't particularly perfect, you can always take it in or modify it to fit your style and form. Also, - let's face it! - sometimes there are items in someone else's wardrobe that we wish we had and, when they no longer wants the item, we could actually have it for ourselves. It's also a nice way to keep something "in the family" and turn an item into an heirloom. And, since fashion always goes back to previous trends anyway, you could get your hands on an item before it goes big because your older relatives or friends might have outgrown it or didn't see its potential. Why spend money on something someone has had all their lives for you to take over?

I call this the best method to acquire cute clothes. So, let's say nobody you know have anything that you're looking for/really want, you can always go to thrift/secondhand stores. It's usually cheaper to shop there than in retail stores with much better quality. If you're a bit on edge about wearing someone else's former clothes, you should really think about what retail brands are putting in the clothes that you own. Do you really think someone else's germs or sweat could be worse than all the toxic some brands inject into their products? Thrift stores tend to wash their items first anyway. Afraid I can't say the same for retailers. If you're unsure, you can just wash the items yourself. Also, there are tons of really unique items in thrift stores, so you don't have to be worried about wearing the same things as your peers. There are also certain secondhand stores whose ultimate goal is charity, such as Goodwill and Oxfam, which means you can shop while also helping those in need.

You know how sometimes you have an idea of a clothing item in your head but you go high and low in search for this imaginary item and the result is disappointing? When that happens, you can always rely on DIYs. This also helps when you see an incredibly adorable piece from a really expensive brand that you can't afford. Just make a replica yourself! Or, you know, when you get a really ugly number as a hand-me-down, just alter it yourself! If you don't know where to start, A Beautiful Mess and Annika of The Pineneedle Collective have very simple, creative and easy-to-follow DIY ideas. The best thing about DIYs is you can always make them just the way you like it and they will most definitely fit you. Also, some of them could be used to take advantage of old items. If you're interested, you could follow some DIYs of mine here.

Tell me if this sounds familiar: you go shopping all the time, your closet is filled to the brim with clothes and, when you sort through your wardrobe, you keep finding items you didn't know you had. Some of them are even still in their shopping bags! Yep, this happens to most of my girlfriends too. To prevent this from happening, why don't you try shopping your own closet (also known as remixing items you already own)? Take a minute to look at all the potentials of the clothing items that you own, see if they work well with items you've never considered pairing before, experiment with different ways of wearing. If you're clueless about remixing items, why not try out these Fashion Mixology tips from Emma and Elsie and Layering 101 tips from Marlen? They might open your eyes to new ways of wearing your clothes. For other inspirations, you can also see Rebecca's Sunday Remix posts and my own Mix It Up a Notch posts.

Now comes the hardest part, if I may say so myself. Let's rewind back to that last point there: when you have had too many clothes in the first place, what do you do with them? This might hurt but you need to listen to me: sort through them and throw your unwanted clothes out! Remember when you first saw that top or those shoes or those jeans? Didn't you love them so much you wanted to give them a good home? Well, in that case, wouldn't leaving them to rot at the back of your wardrobe negate that affection? So get rid of them! But not to the trash can - the earth doesn't need another pile of waste. There are some ways you can throw away your clothes without using the trash can. It gives you more much-needed space for clothes you'll actually wear and it reduces the world's overloading garbage. Also, this way, you get to come back full circle.

Now that you know these tips, I hope you guys would start to think twice before indulging yourself in the so-called retail therapy - which I think would actually backfire on you once you see your bills - and start considering where your clothes come from, if you could contribute to the goodness of the world and if you would actually need or keep whatever you're buying until at least another decade. Let us fight the fast fashion trend and willingly wait for good quality and great ethics. Because, really, why would we want to settle for something that can't even compare to the things we could get otherwise? There was a time where clothes could last at least three decades. Why buy new ones twice a year? Surely, we could use the money for better causes. Let us be more fashionable with a conscience.

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