How To Shop Mindfully In A Fast Fashion World
With fast fashion at our fingertips, it can be so difficult to pass up an opportunity to purchase such stylish clothing for a bargain price. However, it's important to consider how our shopping habits can affect the world and humanity.
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When I was younger, I used to purchase clothing items almost every week. There was always something that I felt compelled to buy and then wear once or twice and move on to the next popular trend.
It wasn't until I got to college that I realized how my actions were contributing to the world. Did you know the fashion industry is the second major world polluter, right behind the oil industry? Yikes.
How did we let this happen?
You may be surprised to know that fast fashion became a trend back in the 1800's. It picked up speed during the Industrial Revolution when sewing machines were introduced. This dramatically reduced the price in clothing and allowed for people to make a higher quantity much more quickly.
"However, it's important to remember that not everything about innovation is good. On March 25, 1911, a fire broke out in New York's Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, which claimed the lives of 146 garment workers, many of whom were young, female immigrants. This also brings to mind recent examples such as the 2012 fire at the Tazreen Fashion factory in Bangladesh that killed at least 117 people, proving that history often does repeat itself." (FASHIONISTA, SARA IDACAVAGE)
What is mindful shopping?
Think about where your clothes came from. Were they made ethically in a safe working environment with fair pay? Did they have to travel from truck, to boat, to plane, - just to get to the destination at the warehouse - only to be shipped again to you?
Keep track of how often you shop. If you notice yourself impulsively buying clothes or other products online that are not essential, it may be time to readjust your shopping habits. Create a weekly and monthly budget to keep yourself in check. Ask yourself before making a purchase, "Do I really need this item? How often will I wear or use it? Do I already have something similar in my closet?"
Support small businesses. If you're going to take the plunge and purchase a new dress, blouse, skirt, shoes, etc. - reconsider the source. Are you constantly purchasing from big chain retailers? What about checking out some local small businesses? They are just as important and also will appreciate your purchase so much more than any big retailer ever will. Not only are you changing your shopping habits, but you are making a positive impact on a small business. Your sale could make or break their monthly budget, and allows someone's dreams to continue being a reality! (Someone really does a happy dance after a new purchase is made)
Clean out your closet every 3-6 months. I personally try to clean my closet every 3 months because it forces me to pay attention to the clothes I've been wearing constantly the last 3 months, and what has just been sitting in my closet unused. If I haven't worn a certain top for the last 3 months, I know for a fact I will most likely not wear it anytime soon (this doesn't include seasonal items like turtleneck sweaters in the middle of summer). Cleaning out your closet not only helps clean out your space, but you can also donate your used clothes to someone who may need it more than you do.
Pros & Cons of fast fashion
more affordable version of the latest fashion trends and fads
a variety of retailers to choose from
can make it feel exciting to always see something new in the stores
fast fashion is the #2 polluter in the world, right behind the oil industry
not ethically made
increase in textile waste
My favorite vintage clothing stores to shop on Etsy
One of my favorite online platforms to support small businesses, find unique items, and feel good about my purchase is Etsy. Etsy is the marketplace for all handmade goods and one of a kind products. You can literally find everything you need, from children's toys to kitchen supplies to vintage clothing to handmade jewelry. All the vintage stores listed below are ones that I have purchased from in the past and absolutely love. There are so many vintage stores on Etsy, it can feel overwhelming, which is why I wanted to narrow down a few that I think you will also enjoy shopping!
"I love older things that people have used and cherished. They have personality, character, and soul." - Anna Hillegass