What is fast fashion? Perhaps you’ve heard the term before, or you’ve experienced the process. Fast fashion is a term used to describe the process of trendy new styles going from the catwalk to the retailer’s shelves quickly. It is made possible by the rapid use of supply chains and automation in the clothing manufacturing industry. The clothes may sell fast and cheap but that is not always a good thing.
Sometimes, fast fashion is made from inferior, poor-quality materials. It is often the least expensive type of fashion you may find. Often, the material does not last, the fit isn’t proper for the size, or the clothing simply falls apart long before it should. In short, it can drain your wallet and may lead to looking anything but fashionable.
What’s more, this type of clothing often ends up in the landfill quicker. Because it does not last, most people end up throwing it out after a few weeks. That creates a negative environmental impact. It is made worse due to the types of materials used – they are often not natural blends and may, in fact, take hundreds of years to break down.
There’s more. Fast fashion comes at a price. In some situations, these clothing items are made in factories that don’t provide proper care or a safe environment for their employees. More so, they do not pay a living wage, putting people further at risk simply because companies want to get trendy clothing into the hands of the public quickly.
Why does this happen, then? Consumers want their trendy clothing available to them quickly. Instead of waiting for or spending more on the actual brand names, they go for inferior and off-brand replicas just to have the look. Who doesn’t want to be fashionable? The key is making the right decision about what you’re wearing for the bigger picture.
The good news is, you can overcome fast fashion by being more aware of the way you shop. At Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, we want you to love your clothes and always have access to the latest trends.
How do you combat fast fashion then? Here are a few key steps to take.
#1: Know Who Made Your Clothing
Before buying a new-to-you brand, take the time to check out who actually made the clothing. Where does the brand manufacture clothing (here’s a hint – if they do not provide these details rather easily, then chances are good the conditions are not ideal). The more research you do on your favorite brands (including those found on store shelves at the mall or big name retailers), the more likely you are to learn the ins and outs of who makes the clothing and the type of conditions they work in.
Knowing the working conditions behind these brands is important for making a difference. When consumers take a stand and don’t buy clothing that is made in poor environments like this, it forces companies to make changes. That is not always easy to do, especially when you want the cheap version of your favorite runway looks. Yet, when you consider the importance of doing this, that makes it worthwhile.
#2: Shop for Top Brands at Goodwill
For those who want to purchase the top brands and have the best styles, but don’t want to pay high prices for them, Goodwill can prove to be the ideal solution. Here, you will find a wide range of clothing options to choose from – including some of the top designers out there. The best thing about Goodwill is that it is easy to find top brands and fashionable names at prices that are often similar or lower to what may be found in traditional stores.
For those who want to fight fast fashion, Goodwill is a great place to shop. When you visit, you will find a wide range of clothing and accessories to choose from. What’s more, those items change every day. Many people donate their name brand clothing to Goodwill on a regular basis. You can take full advantage of this opportunity to save money and feel good about not contributing to poor working conditions and keeping clothes out of landfills.
#3: Buy Fewer Items But Buy Higher Quality
This is another reason to buy from Goodwill. When you want to minimize the impact you have on the environment, it is all about buying fewer items. You may not need to buy every piece of clothing that you love each season. Cutting back may be important to you as a way to reduce what ends up in the landfill.
One of the best ways to do that is simply to buy a higher quality product. When you buy quality, you can count on those pieces lasting a much longer time. They can handle the wear and tear because they are well made. The materials do not wear thin quickly.
Even better, when you buy high quality and want a new wardrobe, you can donate those used items (which are probably in good condition) to Goodwill. That helps other people make good decisions about what they buy.
Do not buy just for the name brand. Get to know the quality of the brand before you decide to buy. You can also feel and look at the quality when you shop for these items in store. Most importantly, know that spending a bit more on quality tends to be well worth it.
#4: Buy Something You Are Going to Use Enough
Another strategy for avoiding the fast fashion trap is to ask yourself how many times you will actually wear something. There’s something called the 30-wear promise. That is when you are comparing pieces of clothing or making a decision to buy, ask yourself a simple question. Are you going to wear this item at least 30 times while you own it? If not, then you shouldn’t buy it.
You may be surprised to learn that many people make the decision not to buy based on this. It is a good rule for those who want to have more control over what they buy instead of just buying something because it is trendy or stylish. If you do not love it enough to wear it at least 30 times, choose something else that you know you will wear more often.
#5: Know That Big Brands Are Not the Only Option
Another important strategy is shopping locally. Turn to local suppliers and boutiques. You do not always have to buy high fashion to look great. When you buy from smaller companies producing a higher quality product, and you shop with the knowledge of what they offer, it can be well worth your investment. The benefit here is that you are buying items at a much lower cost, and you are getting them from local suppliers who may be more conscious of the manufacturing process.
Fast fashion is not something to overlook the next time you head to the mall. Instead of making the decision to buy something that is on the racks because you saw a social media influencer wearing the exact one just a week or so ago, remind yourself of these tips. Buy for quality. Buy fashionable items you will wear often and shop for them at Goodwill, where the price is going to be more worthwhile. By doing these things, you are doing your part to support the environment and communities around you.