For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, will know that I like my outfits to be unique and that I am not a big fan of following current fashion trends. I wear what feels most comfortable and defines me.
That being said, the primary source of shopping for me is usually malls or online stores which means that I am always surrounded by the latest trends and new clothes every single time. This can be tempting and I’ll be lying if I said that I haven’t indulged in impulsive buying in the past.
But, these latest trends (that come and go in a frenzy) are part of the “fast fashion” industry.
Fast Fashion, a concept that originated in 1980s, is a rapid change of high-fashion trends to low-priced, mass-produced garments that are made easily available to the masses. Most of the retail stores or brands that you know of, are retailers of fast fashion. Brands like Zara, H&M, Forever 21 are prime examples and some of the biggest players in the “fast fashion” industry.
There are quite a few controversies surrounding this concept including environmental consequences and labor exploitation. There has been backlash by the media and several documentaries showing the ugly side of the pretty picture.
To accommodate for the ever-changing trends, companies engage in mass production of clothes which leads to higher working hours for the labor, poor working conditions (to compensate for the lower prices), employing larger number of workers at minimum wage, exploitation of natural resources and so on. The companies in return are experiencing a higher profit margin than ever before with no real negative consequences.
Now, you would think “What has that got to do with me?”. Well, the entire concept of fast fashion makes you purchase more clothes at a cheaper price. That’s great, isn’t it? Umm, not so fast. How many pieces of clothing would you find in your wardrobe which you “absolutely loved” at the time but haven’t even worn once? That’s the power of Fast Fashion! In an industry where trends can disappear within months, we are always trying to keep up with the “current trends” (and that’s not just true for the fashion industry – fidget spinners, anyone?).
Previously, trends used to come back in 10-20 years. But given the dynamic world that we live in (and let’s not forget about the power of social media and fashion influencers), trends can now be in and out within weeks. No wonder, you always, always find new things to buy with every shopping trip. But when the trends are changing at a thousand miles per hour, what you end up with is a big pile of new clothes, sitting in your wardrobe, waiting for their turn to come and a confused you who always thinks they have nothing to wear!
Companies lure you into purchasing more with the idea that you will be the “cool” kid if you keep up with the trends. To add to that, the reach of social media and crazy discounts makes it impossible to ignore the impulse to shop. But while you are on a shopping spree for clothes that you might not even wear, the companies are making big bucks!
This realisation came to me a few years ago and that is when I started focusing on actually building a wardrobe that I can carry with me for years. I started planning my outfits which helped me to lay down the basics that I would always need and that’s how I tried to move away from the trends. Now this was never an easy task! Firstly, it was difficult to not purchase that cute little black dress or those five inch heels I knew I won’t be able to walk in but still wanted! Next, the quality of the clothes (even the basics) were not so great to last me even an year sometimes. This made shopping for clothes a tad bit difficult! But once I explored the markets and different brands, I was okay with paying a higher price for maybe two or three pieces of clothing which I knew would last me forever instead of buying ten clothes that were way more cheaper but of inferior quality. Another thing I started doing was getting my clothes stitched instead of buying ready-made ones. This way, I’ve more control over the quality and the design of my clothes.
I am still new to this “let’s build our own wardrobe” world and I do have moments of weakness :) But, I am really trying! When you look at the things that you’ve bought and how much value you are receiving from them, it makes the entire process a little less difficult. I still buy a few clothes online or from malls that I know are not of great quality but sometimes it’s okay to indulge in guilty pleasures :)
I could go on and on and on about this but that would turn this post into a novel :) Maybe I’ll write more in the future sometime!
How do you feel about ever-changing fashion trends? What are some of your go-to tips for shopping? I would love to hear from you in the comments :) Let’s have a chat!