I am aware the title of this post sounds like an oxymoron. But stay with me, I promise I’m going somewhere with it.
While I love a good thrift trip, I also love a good trip to H&M. As I was doing research for this post, I booked marked few goodies I may or may pick up in the near future because I have ZERO willpower sometimes. Become someone who’s 100 percent sustainable in fashion is a hard road to travel. It takes a lot of relearning habits, being more mindful about how you shop, and most importantly fighting the urge to buy the latest and greatest, especially when it’s all in your face 24/7. And sure, you could fight the urge to buy a fast-fashion piece by restyling pieces you already own or asking yourself if REALLY need it but sometimes you just want it and that’s ok. So today I’m sharing a few things you can do to be a bit more sustainable when your shopping fast fashion as you wean yourself off.
Editor’s Note: It is important to point out that practicing fashion sustainability is a privilege. Not everyone has access to second-hand stores or can afford to shop with sustainable brands, so fast fashion is all they have. While these tips can, and should, be used by anyone, I really want anyone who’s reading this and feels a tinge of guilt buying fast fashion because that’s all you can afford, you can be more sustainable despite your current circumstances.
- Buy it Secondhand
Fast Fashion items come and go so damn quick, it’s totally possible to find a current item you’re looking for secondhand. People who wear stuff just for the ‘gram; yes that is an actual thing people do, will list their items on secondhand selling sites such as Poshmark, eBay, or Depop. Be sure to check those places first before heading out to the actual store. And as an added bonus, you’ll save a few dollars!
- Stay away from trendy pieces, stick to classic ones
Nothing makes a piece more disposable than a trend that has come and gone. Fast Fashion retailers are the MECCA for the “two-second trend” and when the trend is over a lot of people just dispose of it to make way for the new one. But classic pieces will always be in style, even if it’s a bit elevated. A blazer with a unique cut or color is still a blazer so you’ll be able to get years of wear out of it versus a shirt with the June 2021 print that will be considered vintage by July.
- Take proper care of your items
Yes. We know a lot of fast fashion pieces are poorly made and after a few washes, they fall apart. But because fast fashion is so disposable, we tend to treat them as such. We don’t take the extra effort to care for them properly, leading to their lifespan diminishing even quicker and then we go out to replace it. So to keep your fast-fashion pieces lasting a bit longer be sure to pay attention to the care instructions and treat them well. While this should be a rule for all of your pieces, you want to take extra special care of your fast fashion pieces. Keeping them in good condition extends their lifespan.
- Spend a little more for premium
Fast Fashion brands like Zara and H&M carry premium lines that cost a bit more but are of better quality helping that piece last longer. Many pieces from these lines are made of materials like leather, suede, silk, and linen, all materials that will stand the test of time if cared for properly. And yes, you can get pieces with the same materials secondhand, but leather and suede can be hard to find in the wild, and going to a curated shop can be expensive. So if you’re thinking about getting a leather jacket style that only Zara carries and there is a leather version consider spending a bit more for the real thing.
- Resell Rework Gift Donate
When you’re ready to retire your fast fashion piece consider reselling, reworking, gifting, or donating the item instead of tossing it into the trash; yes folks do be tossing their clothes in the trash. By doing any one of those, you’re keeping the item in the fashion circle of life and not doing damage to our ecosystem by letting it sit in a landfill.
And that’s it!
Keep these tips in mind next time you have the urge to shop fast fashion.