Have you ever opened your closet and wondered why you barely have enough room to store all your clothes, but also feel like you have nothing to wear? Fast fashion companies such as H&M and Forever 21 make their money by selling extremely large quantities of clothing. To get those large quantities out the door, they convince us to shop more often by encouraging a constant rotation of trends, so we want to buy more often. By creating clothes as cheaply and flimsily as possible, they can offer us clothing at incredibly low prices, so we can buy more often. That clothing wears out quickly, giving us another reason to shop more often.
The result is that most Americans buy more clothing than we know what to do with. Clothing is so cheap that we don't put a lot of thought into buying it - this shirt is only $10, sure, why not get it?
Obviously, this is unsustainable. When clothing is cheap, we throw it away rather than repair it, burdening the environment. And instead of enabling skilled tailors and seamstresses to make a living practicing excellence, we are encouraging companies to find cheaper and cheaper overseas labor, cutting corners in safety and quality whenever it can save a few bucks.
I was so impacted by this book that I was soon thinking to myself, "what do I do now?" I love shopping for clothes!
There are several ways to shop more purposefully, and I am currently working on a list of fair trade clothing and jewelry companies. But one simple answer is to just buy less. All of this mess is created because companies are simultaneously trying to meet and inflame America's bottomless appetite for stuff. They'll keep up the supply as long as we keep up the demand.
Buy less. In the book, Elizabeth Cline, the author, points out that even if we all continued to shop at fast fashion stores, if we just bought less than we do now, it would make a difference.
Sometime soon I'll post a list of fair trade clothing and jewelry companies, for those who are interested!