Clothing and fashion are categorically different things. One serves a practical purpose, while the other, subsisting primarily on runways and in Instagram feeds, is a popular or latest style of clothing. Somewhere in between, however, just outside the inner rings of the fashion world, you’ll find another industry entirely: fast fashion.
Fast fashion has changed how we shop and resulted in us not valuing our purchases. Enter 'throwaway' culture, where clothing has become disposable. God forbid we post the same outfit on Instagram twice.
The problem isn’t that you can buy a dress for less than the cost of an oat milk latte and vanilla scone — the problem is the environmental and social impact of being so cheap. Workers producing clothing for these fast fashion brands are poorly paid and work in unsafe conditions. There is a real cost to being able to sell a dress for €8, it is a human cost. So let’s explore some ways of breaking up with fast fashion for good!
Sort out your Wardrobe- This might sound counterintuitive, but you can't see what clothing you have if a bomb explodes every time you open the wardrobe. By sorting through your clothing you can clearly see what items you have and what you may need to buy. The most sustainable clothing are the ones you already own. Plus, you might find an old gem or two that you've forgotten about.
Know Your Style- Did you ever wear that sequin rainbow party dress that you just had to have? Try to avoid impulse buys. Knowing your style will help you make purchases you will continue to wear and love, while also helping you avoid purchases that you’ll abandon to the back of the closet.
Make a List- Having gone through your wardrobe, make a list of the items you would like to buy. If possible, buy items that will match the clothing you already own. This will help you to create a ‘Capsule Wardrobe’, this is collection of clothes that can be paired with one another to create many outfits. These clothes can be matched and paired in different ways.
Wear and repeat- #30WEARS The movement, created by EcoAge founder and sustainable fashion pioneer, Livia Firth, simply challenged consumers to ask themselves one question before making a purchase: “Will I wear this at least 30 times?” If you are dedicated to wearing a piece at least 30 times it will actually save you money and support a better fashion system entirely.
Borrow- If you know you’re unlikely to wear an item more than once, don’t buy it – borrow it. There are some amazing clothing hire companies such as https://designerroom.ie/, https://www.borrowerboutique.com/, https://www.covet.ie/ .
Find a More Sustainable and Ethical Alternative- If you identify something that you need to buy, choose a brand by their ethical and sustainability practices.
Before making a purchase ask yourself:
Do I need it?
Do I have something similar?
Is it my style?
How long will it be ‘on trend’? / Will it go out of fashion quickly?
How many of my existing clothes will this pair with?
How long can I make it last?