SO YOU WANT TO QUIT FAST FASHION?
A little guide to making your closet more ethical, sustainable, and slow for the new decade!
By Sally Garcia @callmeflowerchild
STEP ZERO: ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR PRIVILEGE
First and foremost, we must acknowledge that it is a great privilege to choose to switch to a more conscious wardrobe. We all have a different socioeconomic background and choosing to shop for clothes in a more conscious manner might not be a priority when our basic needs aren't being met.
STEP ONE: WRITE IT DOWN
Ask yourself why you want to make the switch and write down a couple of reasons. This can serve as a reminder every time you're about to put that fast fashion item in your cart.
STEP TWO: RESEARCH
Research the negative effects of fast fashion. There are a lot of articles regarding this and even some documentaries. This can help you write down your reasons to why you want to quit fast fashion.
• The True Cost
• The Machinist
• Bitter Seeds
• Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price
• An Analysis of the Fast Fashion Industry by Annie Radner Linden
• Sustainable and Ethical Practices for the Fast Fashion Industry by Jennifer Back
STEP THREE: LEARN THE LINGO
Here are some of the basic terms everyone should learn
• Ethical: "usually refers to the treatment of people. Are the workers paid a living wage? Are they given proper breaks?"
• Sustainable: "refers to the effect that production of a garment has on the world around us. How is it taken from the earth and how will it return to the earth? How much waste is involved in the manufacturing process? If it never biodegrades, it’s not truly sustainable."
• Slow fashion: "is the antithesis of fast fashion. It is high-quality garments that are designed with a long-term lifecycle in mind. In a perfect world, every item we bought would be slow fashion – but that would require us to no longer subscribe to a trend- driven market."
• Conscious Fashion: is often used synonymously by the fashion industry with “ethical”, “sustainable” or “eco” fashion. It’s a bit of a catchall phrase that ends up being popular with brands that greenwash
• Fair Trade: "is a partnership that refers to marginalized producers getting a fair wage for their product when it is sold in more affluent countries. Prices for fair-trade materials must never fall below market price."
*Definitions used from article written by Aja Barber "Conscious, ethical and cruelty-free: a guide to the language of sustainable fashion" https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2019/dec/19/conscious-ethical-and-cruelty-free- a-guide-to-the-language-of-sustainable-fashion
STEP FOUR: DETOX & FIND NEW INSPO
Cleaning and detoxing your feed and inbox will prevent you from FOMO and temptation.
Go through your feed/inbox and unfollow:
• Fast fashion brands
• Fast fashion influencers
• Greenwashing Influencers
• Unsubscribe from junk emails from fast fashion retailers
• Once you have done that, its time form some new inspo. Find influencers who advocate for ethical and sustainable fashion. Create a Pinterest board. Look and follow ethical and sustainable fashion brands.
• Dominique Drakeford from MelaninASS has a blog post called "47 BADASS WOMXN OF COLOR INFLUENCERS UNAPOLOGETICALLY CHANGING THE LANDSCAPE OF SUSTAINABLE FASHION" that you should definitely check out!
STEP FIVE: EVALUATE YOUR CLOSET
Time to look at your closet and ask yourself the following questions:
• How would I define my style? (If you can't define it, what patterns do you see in your day to day outfits.)
• What fabrics do I gravitate the most to?
• Why haven't I worn this item?
• What colors do I wear the most?
• Do I shop, just to shop?
Answering these questions can help you avoid buying things that are going to sit in your closet, unworn for years! These will also help you be more strategic when adding new items to your closet.
STEP SIX: GET CREATIVE
While you might feel inclined to throw away your entire wardrobe, DON'T! The most sustainable thing you can do is shop less and use and wear what you already have.
• Challenge yourself to create new outfits with the items you already have. I like to search an article of clothing I have on pinterest and see how others have worn it.
• If you're crafty, you can make something shorter or alter the look of it.
• Like a top but maybe not the color anymore, dye it!
• Don't throw out that top that has a hole, fix it instead!
STEP SEVEN: CHOOSE SECONDHAND
Shopping secondhand is not only one of the most affordable ways to shop more consciously, but it’s also environmentally friendly. By shopping secondhand, you are:
• Preventing textile waste
• Using and wasting less resources
• Some thrift stores give back to the community or support a great cause
• You can find some unique and amazing pieces second hand
• You don't always have to spend money to "shop" second hand. You can also host a clothing swap with your friends!
Don't let the cheap thrifting prices get to you though. It can be easy to overspend and buy things you don't need just because they're cheap. Always make conscious and very picky decisions at the thrift store!
Check out my highlights section for my mini L.A thrifting guide!
STEP EIGHT: INVEST IN WELL MADE PIECES
When you're finally ready to invest in your closet, look for brands that are ethical and sustainable.
Some of my favorite brands are:
• Two Days Off Clothing
Many of these brands are pricey, so think long and hard and don't shop aimlessly. Make sure that these pieces will be a functional item that goes with the rest of your closet and can be worm multiple ways. Thankfully, some of these brands offer Afterpay which has helped me to be able to afford some of my investment pieces.
STEP NINE: TAKE IT DAY BY DAY
The switch to a more conscious closet won’t always happen overnight. Don't stress yourself out too much and don't feel guilty for wearing those fast fashion items you bought years ago. Remind yourself why you made this conscious decision and how positive these choices are.