Why I’m saying NO to fast fashion.
Why I’m saying NO to fast fashion.
I used to buy those magazines, you know the ones, with airbrushed ‘perfect’ models that told me I needed to buy this/that and the other. The ones that show what we should and shouldn’t be wearing, what’s ‘in’ and what’s ‘out’.
I’m not quite sure when exactly I woke up to the negative impact these magazines were having on my self esteem, my bank balance and the my impact on the environment. I know it’s been a good few years since I’ve bought or read one though.
Breastfeeding and my post partum body helped me to disassociate with them. There’s no way I was going to be able to feed my kids in public wearing a dress with no buttons or nursing flap. I mean you can lift your top up and not raise too many eyebrows but a whole dress… not sure that’d go down too well in the middle of M&S!
As I navigated my new path as a mother, I found cloth nappies and they started me on a journey of awareness. Awareness of my impact on the planet. Awareness of reusing and reducing waste. I also fell into some rabbit holes (with some enabling from fellow cloth bum parents) of new brands and new ways to live. Cloth bums don’t fit into most high street clothing brands and so even the kids clothes had to be purchased with more thought & consideration.
So that leads me to where I am now.
Over time I’ve drastically reduced my wardrobe by donating/selling/passing on the items I have rarely worn or those I was saving for a special occasion or for when I got back to my pre-kids size. This has taken the pressure off and made dressing such a more positive experience - I no longer have reminders hanging there telling me I’m too big to fit into xyz.
The items I now own are all items I wear regularly and feel comfortable in. I won’t call it a ‘capsule wardrobe’ as I’m just not that organised or put together. My style is more eclectic than classic. BUT I can easily put together outfits and grab things I know I love to wear. Pre-kids me had a wardrobe so full you could barely see what was in it let another find an outfit to wear. I’d have bought items from fast fashion high street shops not because I liked them on ME but because I liked how they looked styled on the model in the magazines.
After decluttering my wardrobe and really stripping it back, I’m now so much more conscious about buying more. I buy only what I need, know will last and know that I’ll actually feel good wearing. I spend a little more on each item then I used to, but that’s because I know quality over quantity is better for the environment and my bank balance longer term.
I now look for qualities in clothing brands that I honestly had no care about before ( I’m ashamed to admit this but it’s the truth). Some of these are: are they a small brand, are they ethical, what are their values, do they use organic materials. A lot of the really great ethical brands are more expensive so if you’re on a tight budget try looking for organic cotton items from high street brands like H&M or find a small wahp (work at home parents) brand as these have much lower carbon footprints and obviously being handmade by themselves you know they’re not exploiting labour elsewhere.
I will also happily wear secondhand clothing, although this isn’t new to me as I’ve always loved ‘vintage’ clothing and actually used to have my own vintage clothing stall. Secondhand is an even better option than buying ethically produced new. Secondhand shopping means you’ve not had to use any resources to manufacture another item. Even better if you then pass it on when you’re no longer wearing it. I also love that with secondhand clothing, as it’s usually no longer available in high street shops, you’ll have a piece that is unique!
There are many benefits to saying no to fast fashion (I’ll list some facts at the bottom) but the one I’m thankful for on a personal level is that’s it’s encouraged me to dress exactly as I want to, to express my personality and not give a blooming hoot about whether it’s ‘in’ or ‘out’ of this months trends.
Fast Fashion Facts:
- The UK is the epicentre of fast fashion in Europe, with each person buying an estimated 26.7kg of clothing every year, compared to an average 15.6kg for people across Germany, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden.
- When we buy polyester clothes, we’re wearing fossil fuels The proportion of synthetic fibres, such as polyester, in our garments has doubled since 2000, rising to 60% in 2019. These fibres are produced from oil.
- Every year, global emissions from textile production are equivalent to 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2, a figure that outweighs the carbon footprint of international flights and shipping combined.
- It’s estimated that more than two tonnes of clothing are bought each minute in the UK, more than any other country in Europe.That amount produces nearly 50 tonnes of carbon emissions - the same as driving 162,000 miles in a car.