In today’s world, the majority of people are aware of the exploitation of workers and the environmental impacts of the fast fashion industry (if you are still unsure you can read these articles that we published about these issues)
However, many people still continue to support these brands both out of necessity or by choice. Unfortunately, because fast fashion is so cheap and affordable (and size-inclusive) compared to other sustainable sources of clothes, a lot of people have no choice but to buy from these brands.
However, there is an issue that I have recently noticed on TikTok. Videos titled “€300 Shein Haul” featuring boxes and boxes of poor quality items made by exploited workers, being flaunted and shown off, showing a fairly new issue caused by fast fashion, overconsumption.
We're Burning Through Too Many Trends
Fast fashion has existed for years but before social media trends were only set two times a year, at the Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter fashion shows. Fast fashion brands would take their cues straight from the runaways and the season’s trends would develop from there.
However, social media and fast fashion brands have created a dangerous cycle of continuously changing trends, and they have basically brainwashed us as consumers into buying into it.
We all feel this need to follow the latest trend, and we couldn’t possibly do this if the clothes were expensive so we turn to the brands who can sell the style to us for in €20.
But, in reality, we’re are actually wasting our money on clothes that we don’t need. They promote buying large hauls of clothes that will be out of style in a week or two, ending up in an overflowing charity shop or in a landfill, and we will be back buying more because it’s so affordable.
Make Considered Purchases
It’s important that if you are consuming clothes in any way that you be mindful of the amount that you are purchasing, not just for your own bank account but for the planet and the workers involved.
Ask yourself, “if this was €20 more expensive, would I still buy it?”, and try not to impulse buy (even though a 20% off sale can be tempting).
Being a mindful consumer is an easy way to cut down on your environmental impact if you are not able to give up fast fashion completely yet. If you are looking for alternatives, Ireland has some amazing Depop sellers as well as some really great charity shops when they are allowed to open again (but remember to donate your clothes back to keep the cycle going).
Being sustainable means swapping clothes, repairing them, upcycling them, etc., things we can all do to make the planet better and safer for everyone!
No one is saying to never buy clothes again, just be more mindful of what you are buying.
Look for good quality pieces that will be worn numerous times. A good rule is to make sure that the item that you’re buying can be worn at least 30 times. This mentality will mean that you do cut down on unnecessary overconsumption of fashion, that you save money and that you’re being kind to the environment.