Have you ever heard of fast fashion? If not, try thinking about fast food. With fast food, meals are made constantly at increasingly fast rates and with very little variation. Similar to fast food, fast fashion is a kind of fashion that moves on and off the runway very quickly. Think about all of the trends that have cycled through fashion in the past year. A lot right?
What you may not know about many fast fashion brands is that many of them use nasty chemicals that pollute the Earth to make their clothing, or use major factories that cause pollution but also hire workers for ridiculously low wages. These are just a few of the major problems caused by the fast fashion industry.
We can easily opt out of supporting these issues by adopting a more ethical and sustainable wardrobe. It's not hard, it's not as expensive as you think, and it's certainly the right thing to do. Here are six ways to get started today:
1. Start thrifting!Giphy
If you're a college student, you probably already get most of your clothes from a thrift store and that's great! Buying second-hand clothes is a good way to completely remove yourself from fast fashion cycles and patterns. While you may not be able to keep up with all of the latest trends, you can certainly cultivate a unique look of your own.
Look into which thrift stores are near you and make a habit of only buying second hand. The good news: it's cheap!
2. Do your research.Giphy
If you're willing to spend a little more money than you would thrifting, it's important to do your research about which ethical and sustainable brands are out there for you. You might think, I won't be able to find anything, but that's not the case! When I first started researching myself, I was surprised by the number of brands in the United States alone that offered ethical and sustainable options for my wardrobe!
3. Stay away from cheap trends.Giphy
If you've ever walked into any shopping mall ever, you've probably noticed stores like Forever 21 or H&M. While their surprisingly low prices are tempting, you have to train yourself not to give in to the numbers! Low prices almost ALWAYS mean the clothes were not made ethically.
It's easy to see the low prices and immediately grab all of the cute items in the store, but these items add up. Not only are you supporting brands that most likely employ child labor and carelessly pollute the atmosphere, you're also wasting your money on something that will no longer be a trend within a month. If you have a bad habit of shopping at cheap, "hip" stores, you probably also have a closet filled with clothes you never wear anymore.
4. Don't get caught up in the hype.Giphy
"The hype" is exactly how brands trick you into spending money on clothing items you won't appreciate in the long run. Fashion trends are constantly changing so quickly that it's almost impossible to keep up. You might like a particular shirt one week, but what about next week? Or the week after that? What happens when it goes "out of style?"
The best way to avoid getting caught up in this endless cycle is to just stay away from the hype altogether. I promise you'll start to notice all the money you've saved just from ignoring the trends in only a few weeks.
5. Shop with your brain, not your emotions.Giphy
Have you ever gone shopping because you're sad or angry? Have you ever bought tons of clothes simply to make yourself feel better? We've all been there and it sucks. The worst part is the feeling of regret you get afterwards because you just spent way too much money.
Here's how to stop: be aware of your emotions and stop yourself before you do something stupid. Sometimes it's easier said than done, but that's all it takes. Make sure that the only time you're shopping is for good reason. Make sure you're being smart about it. Use your brain!
6. Only buy what you need.Giphy
More often than not, we find ourselves purchasing clothing items we don't really need. We buy something, we wear it a few times, and then we need to look at it again. This causes a lot of clothing to go to waste. On the other hand, when we only buy what we need, we save a lot of money. This also saves times and encourages us to spend our clothing budget on items we really care about. When we have that kind of time and money, we can spend it on brands that are dedicated to ethical and sustainable practices.