Spend any time reading about ethical fashion and you will quickly find the decided antagonist is fast fashion. But is slow fashion really the solution if the price point is just too expensive for most people? Here's how you can slow down fast fashion if you have the heart for people on an H&M budget.
The Original Heart Behind Fast Fashion
If you go back to the beginning, fast fashion wasn't a money-hungry, exploitation machine. It actually started as an attempt to bring beautiful unattainable style to the masses at a price they could afford. Fast fashion allows the single working mother to buy new clothes for her growing children. It enables the cancer survivor, after months of chemo and a mountain of insurance bills, to buy a dress that makes her feel beautiful again. Huh, that doesn’t sound so bad...
Where things went wrong was in the need to grow and increase profit, they began cutting cost and those with the weakest voices (cough...garment workers...cough) got exploited. But not every fast fashion chain is synonymous with this exploitation. Our founder has personally been to an H&M factory in India and marveled at the level of ethical and environmental standards they were setting. So what are we to do?
Houston, we have a problem
The overarching problem with any fast fashion chain, regardless of their potential ethical manufacturing standards is the amount they are encouraging customers to consume. CNN has found that we purchase 80 billion pieces of clothing each year worldwide. That’s up 400% from 20 years ago. Americans alone toss out 82 pounds of textiles annually, and even when that goes to a resale shop, only 10% of donated clothes typically get resold.
The Capsule Wardrobe Solution
Slowing down fast fashion can be easily achieved by all of us making more conscious decisions with our shopping.
Start by implementing these 2 steps before making any purchase:
1 | 30 Wears Challenge
Will I wear this at least 30 times? (Once a week for 7 months, Twice a week per season)
2 | Put Back & Buy Later
Place that puppy back on the rack, leave the store, and if you’re still thinking about it tomorrow (or the week it takes you to return to the store) then go buy it.
By making more conscious decisions as shoppers we can be better stewards of our money as well as our impact on the environment without really altering our life too greatly. Want to learn more about being a conscious consumer? Come to our Fashion Revolution Day NYC event on April 24th! If you aren’t in NYC, then tune into our Instagram live that evening @THR3EFOLD.