It's hard to always be environmentally and socially conscious when you're a young, poor, college student. Being vegan is expensive, using animal-friendly products is difficult and avoiding fast fashion can seem impossible. The most important thing is to do your part to the best of your ability and to try to make a difference in tiny ways. The good news is, avoiding fast fashion isn't as impossible as it seems.
Fast fashion is a term used for companies that mimic the latest designer trends and sell them at an inexpensive cost to the public. There's a reason you can buy shirts from a brand like Forever 21 for ten dollars. Clothes that fall into the "fast fashion" category are often made by exploited, underpaid workers. The production of these clothes has also been shown to have negative, harmful effects on the environment. In a time where it is so crucial to take care of our earth, we all need to do our best to cut down on the behaviors that contribute to global warming.
Although thrifting is a smart solution, it can be tricky to find a reliable, well-priced thrift store. So many second-hand stores price their "vintage" items just as high, or higher than the original cost. Turning to purchase items at cheaper places like the Salvation Army feels wrong, as those clothes are for people who are in extreme need. Thrifting also doesn't have the convenience of online shopping.
When you don't have much money of your own it can be hard to find the motivation to save money for expensive clothing and to stop shopping at the cheap brands that work well with your budget. Most young adults would prefer to save money by buying several, cheaply made articles of clothing opposed to purchasing one, high-quality article of clothing, even if they do care about the environment and the wellbeing of workers. However, there's a way to do both.
Apps like Depop and Relovv allow you to search a plethora of second-hand clothing that fits your personal style. The options are endless and the prices range from under $10 to more pricey, yet discounted clothing from designer brands. Depop and Relovv both employ an easy process on the app that allows you to sell your own clothing as well. A benefit to shopping on apps like these is a chance to find unique clothing that fits your look, while avoiding matching with five other girls who liked the same shirt as you at Fashion Nova. These apps are an example of sustainable fashion and are an easy way to circulate clothing and limit your engagement in fast fashion.
Sewing and altering your own clothing is arguably the best way to contribute to the fight against fast fashion. Donations that aren't purchased often make their way to third world countries and have adverse effects on the economies of these countries. Not everyone has the time to pick up a skill like making their own clothing, so while you wait to figure that out, pick up your phone and download a sustainable fashion app to make thrifting as easy and affordable as shopping at Forever 21.