MY LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH FAST FASHION
This blog post is one I’ve thought about writing for a few years, but I was never entirely sure how to approach the topic.
Does anyone else have a love/hate relationship with fast fashion?
From news articles to documentaries, the problematic nature of fast fashion is being reported on more than ever. What once was touted as a genius business model that minimized risks for retailers is now widely criticized for harming the planet.
Having worked in the fashion industry and spent time educating myself on sustainable fashion, I know that fast fashion isn’t great for the planet. However, at the same time I know it can be difficult to consume sustainably 100% of the time whether it’s for price or size reasons. Many times the sustainable options are not offered in petite sizes. For example, while Reformation carries some options the number of styles they offer in petite sizes tends to vary from season to season. I hate to admit it but often times fast fashion brands like ASOS and Topshop do they best job catering to my size.
One could make the argument that I could just get sustainable clothing pieces tailored, but that results in an extra cost on top of an already more expensive purchase. It’s a cost that “regular” size individuals do not have incur every time they shop. Not to mention, there are some items that don’t fair as well through the tailoring process like jeans and jersey/knit materials. Furthermore, there’s something gratifying about being able to buy an item off the rack and know that no other steps are involved.
Another reason I love fast fashion aside from the petite-friendly sizing is the design aesthetic. I generally find the styles they carry are more modern and on trend than other retailers. That being said, even though I’ve found some amazing pieces that I absolutely love from a style and fit perspective, what has frustrated me is how widely the quality varies between items. Some pieces I’ve bought have lasted me for years (like this H&M skirt I’m wearing in the picture above), while others have worn out after legit two washes (like this Zara top below). As result, I recently got rid of it. Not sure if you guys feel the same way, but I personally find it hard to know which fast fashion items are going to last and which ones are not.
Even with brands that I wouldn’t necessarily categorize as fast fashion, like American Eagle, I’ve encountered the same issue of items wearing out. I love American Eagle’s jeans because they offer short inseam lengths and they are generally curve-friendly. However, I’ve found they tend to wear our after 1-2 years. Either they stretch out or start falling apart. The zipper busted on one pair so I bought Everlane jeans to replace them rather than going back to AEO. So hopefully these ones last me longer. Side note, I’ve also been frustrated with American Eagles because they’ve changed the fit and fabric of their leggings over time. And I’m just like I want to buy the exact same thing I bought before because it worked!
So where am I’m going with this rant? Basically, I feel like it’s difficult to quit fast fashion cold turkey as a petite lady because these brands offer better sizing and chicer style options. On the flip side though, I want to consume fast fashion less is because the pieces don’t last as long and often times I end up spending more by having to replace items more frequently. Not to mention, I’d like to try being a little kinder to the planet too.
So I guess the moral of the story is: I’m in a relationship with fashion, but it’s complicated!