In recent times, we’ve been given so many reasons to stop and think about our fashion choices. First up, there’s the environmental impact; the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of the world’s annual carbon emissions, yet 85% of textiles end up in landfill every year. Then we have the people impact, which should always be a concern but has come into the spotlight even more so with the recent exposure of slavery within Boohoo. The buy cheap, wear once and bin it culture is proving to be incredibly dangerous and I think many of us are getting the feeling that fast fashion is about to boil over.
And rightly so. Aside from the obvious negatives, I’ve felt a major turn away from my previous go-to brands for the fact that their quality just isn’t up to scratch. I think we’re all sick of seeing something online, getting it delivered and realising it looks and feels pretty disastrous in comparison to the model imagery (even if they make for hilarious expectation vs reality memes). Instagram culture has done us no favours either, with it somehow becoming embarrassing to post a picture in the same outfit twice. Thankfully, it feels like the penny is finally dropping for my generation that this lifestyle can’t carry on.
I’m rethinking my own spending habits and am going to make a conscious effort to buy things that can answer ‘yes’ to these questions. 1) Is it from a brand that has sustainable practises? 2) Is it good quality? And 3) Is the design one I can see myself wearing for years to come?
What I do realise is that this usually means spending more money. Sometimes, a LOT more. But I also think that this somewhat evens out if you’re buying clothes far less frequently. I recently celebrated my birthday and, as a present to myself, bought a Ganni dress in the sale. It cost me £105 instead of £175 and is part of their sustainable collection; it was made using 100% recycled polyester that would otherwise have ended up in landfill. The flouncy design is something I would’ve worn when I was about 15 (yes, I also look that old here) and I know it’s something I’ll grunge up with a leather jacket and big boots when I actually have social plans again (aka next year) so I’m pretty sure it’s got some staying power in my wardrobe.
My fashion spending has definitely dropped this year for obvious reasons, but going forward I’ll be saving up for better quality clothing and resisting those cheap impulse purchases as much as I can. I’m not saying I’ll be perfect, but it’s better to try than give into the vastness of the problem, don’t you think?