A mere whiff of social media and you are bound to be exposed to some sort of sustainable / slow fashion philosophy, and with good reason. With fashion production accounting for a staggering portion of all polluting industries, there is cause for concern. Add to that the inhumane working conditions of fashion factory workers in countries such as Bangladesh and China, and yes there needs to be change. We simply need to buy less.
What I beg to differ on is the way in which we should make a valuable and positive impact on this worldwide calamity. Yes buying sustainably sourced clothing is a good idea, vintage also seems to be gaining traction, but the truth is, the variety of styles available at such accommodating fast fashion outlets such as Top Shop, Zara and Bershka make it extremely tempting, regardless of how responsible we are.
The general association seems to be, the lower the price of an item, the more you will buy of it. Hence the concern over the large amounts of clothing produced and then dumped by such High Street brands as H&M. But what if we didn’t need to buy more.. What if we didn’t feel like the clothes we bought from these retailers were almost disposable.. What if we respected them more, and treated them to the care we afford to our luxury purchases.
I am an extremely picky shopper, and although I would love to consume everything I see, like a triple cheese pizza, the truth is, size, fit and price play a large role in my decision making process. So when I do find something that ticks all my boxes I tend to purchase it in minimum of two colors. Due to my painstakingly difficult shopping process I tend to treat my acquisitions, regardless of where they are from with equal care and attention. My Fendi sweaters (I haven’t got that many 😉 are folded right next to my Zara ones. They are all hand washed, allowed to air dry, and then carefully folded in their designated spot. It is for this reason that they last so long. Remember the Zara v neck knit winter tops with the four buttons on the cuff, I still have them, because nothing happened to them, so there is little reason for me to replace them. Try as I may to throw out, my 6 year old Mango winter cargo coat (which I receive plenty of compliments on till this day) there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, so it remains proudly displayed in my closet along side Monclers and what-not.
The bottom line is.. sustainability isn’t just about buying slow fashion only, but about buying the ‘perfect item’ and caring for it, regardless of its price tag. Could it be that we careless purchase inexpensive pieces and end up throwing them out, just because we can afford it? What if we gave a little more attention to the purchasing process, regardless of its price tag, we wouldn’t be buying as much anyway.. And that in and of itself is a commitment to a cleaner future of fashion.
Economic times are tough, so trying to convince people to buy slow, significantly more expensive items is a hard sell. I say, ask them to disregard the price all together, and ‘pay’ more attention to the quality, fit and after-care of the pieces. If it takes you longer to buy it, you will by default appreciate it and care for it better… As they say, easy come.. easy go.