By Sarah Scott
Fast fashion is an unethical way to produce and consume clothing. This industry is riddled with child labor, unethical wages, overproduction, and waste. These companies prey on consumer’s insecurities, plotting a new body type to be the trend of the week so that people will buy more clothes. Self-image and a sense of fashion identity is being deteriorated by fast fashion. It is becoming more difficult to stray away from trends and hold true to and develop your own sense of fashion when trends saturate the market. Trends are in our social media, in advertisements, and perpetuated by the people we talk to. While the companies are completely at fault here, to escape this vicious cycle, shopping more sustainably and mindfully can provide a solution from the consumer.
Thrift stores and buying second hand is a great way to reduce your environmental impact, be ethical with your spending, and develop personal style. Thrifting is cheap, but not always easy. You have to dig through racks of clothes to find something that you actually want to buy. Finding the right size, style, and cleanliness can be a challenge, but if you have the privilege of time, this is a great option for you. It can also be a fun activity to replace going to the mall with friends. The pieces you find at thrift stores are often more unique and higher quality than those bought from fast fashion, while paying about the same price or cheaper. It is more ethical and sustainable because the clothes have already been made.
Going off of the recommendation of buying secondhand, you could organize a clothing swap with friends and family. This is a great way to get rid of clothes that may not fit you or your sense of style anymore, or those regrettable online purchases. Something that is not for you may look great on your friend. This works best when everyone is around the same size, but you can also trade accessories like hats or jewelery.
Shopping from small businesses is the last recommendation for an alternative to fast fashion. While this might not be the most environmentally friendly option, it is still more ethical than fast fashion. Be sure that you do your research and trust the small brand or business you are purchasing from. Look for if they pay their workers fair wages, how they manufacture their clothes, and where they source their materials from.