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5 ways you can put fast fashion out of style

Ananya Sahai

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Jakarta  /  Tue, February 18, 2020  /  01:41 pm
5 ways you can put fast fashion out of style

Sustainable fashion has been gaining traction as of late, with some fashion bloggers introducing the concept of the capsule wardrobe. (Shutterstock/tartanparty)

You enter the shopping center and there it is: a mountain of jeans in all the stylish cuts, rows filled with the most "in" shoes, racks upon racks of the trendiest shirts and an unbearable frenzy of people rushing to fill their shopping bags; this is the image of fashion that we all know to be true. 

Brands realized their needs to maximize profits, which led to the advent of fast fashion: cheap, trendy clothing that samples ideas from the catwalk or celebrity culture and turns them into garments in high street stores at breakneck speed.

Due to fast fashion, the fashion industry has become the second-largest polluter in the world and, on average, has its factory workers toiling 96 hours a week. With all its grave environmental, social and economic impacts, it is time to bid farewell to fast fashion. Here are five ways that you can say no to fast fashion and put the trend out of style:

1. 30 Wears 

Initiated by Livia Firth, founder of sustainability initiative Green Carpet Challenge, the 30 Wears campaign is a simple idea. Before you buy a new item of clothing, you should always ask yourself, “Will I wear this at least 30 times?” If the answer is yes, then you already know that you are reducing the amount of clothing that ends up in the landfill. The campaign asks consumers to be more aware and thoughtful in their shopping habits, and to consider how impulse buying affects the future of our planet. 

2. Capsule wardrobe 

Although the term was coined in the 1970s, capsule wardrobes are more relevant than ever before. The concept is that you maintain a collection of essential clothing items that can be mixed and matched and are eternally in style. By working with essentially 30 pieces of clothing that transcend trends, consumers decrease their demand for fast fashion items, which promote disposability over quality. 

A capsule wardrobe does not necessarily mean that you have to be "out" of fashion. Rather, the concept is based on having a smaller collection within the capsule wardrobe, which can be changed out for seasonal trends from time to time. Think about it: on a daily basis, most of us opt for our signature outfits, no matter what the trends are. A capsule wardrobe allows for experimentation in style, while reducing our consumption of fast fashion and creating a sustainable closet. 

3. Thrifting 

Of late, thrifting has become a viable alternative to consuming fast fashion and with good reason. In layman’s terms, thrift stores are shops that sell second-hand, refurbished clothing. These preloved pieces are in good condition, cheaper and most importantly, break the culture of disposability created by fast fashion.

In fact, Instagram has become a popular platform for second-hand stores. From Thrifted Gems Indonesia (@thriftedgemsindonesia) to Non Basic Basics (@nonbasicbasics), the options are endless and frankly, very exciting in the age of social media. Vintage is in right now and what better way to explore this trend than by finding some treasures in a thrift store? 

4. Seeking sustainability 

That fast fashion has negative consequences on the environment and the economy is not breaking news. Yet this fairly recent rise of awareness has led to responsible citizens creating sustainable but accessible clothing brands. A sustainable brand means that the production process is eco-friendly, like keeping water usage in check, and fair to the workers, in terms of working conditions and wages. Locally, there are brands such as SukkhaCitta, which ensure that their artisans receive a fair wage. On a larger scale, Everlane is a model company. Its core philosophy is to work with ethical factories, which they audit for fair wages, reasonable hours and environmental friendliness. 

5. Awareness

Awareness is always the key step to address any problem. To tackle the issue of fast fashion as consumers, we must understand how and why the production side of the business is going wrong. Under the pressure to produce trendy products at breakneck speed, fast fashion brands heavily compromise on ethics. This includes exploiting workers and creating grave environmental impacts. If we, as consumers, are aware of a brand’s business model, then we are equipped to make sustainable decisions. 

Often, ethical fashion is rejected by consumers because it is equated with inaccessibility. However, we live in a creative society where brands like Reformation are considered sustainable even if they have new drops twice a week. How? Their model is to drop frequently, like fast fashion brands, but in small quantities. This way, they can maintain product desirability while remaining eco-friendly – a quality that fast fashion desperately lacks. What many may assume to be fast fashion is actually a sustainable, profitable and trendy business model. 

The options for ethical clothing are abundant. We as consumers need to be aware of how our shopping practices impact the environment and economy, and to be committed to support brands that eschew fast fashion in favor of more sustainable approaches. (wng)

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The writer is a student at the Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS).

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.