Ok we all know by now that fast fashion is BAD NEWS. Bad for the environment, bad for the people making it, ironically bad for the consumer who’s getting tricked into spending a greater percentage of their earnings on clothing because they’re buying so many more “cheap” garments then they used to (true story there’s like studies on this and everything). But like what’s the alternative. Slow fashion, right?
BUT WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?!?!?
This is like, kinda my big thing that I won’t shut up about and Even * I * have a hard time explaining what slow fashion actually is. So, instead of writing a post trying to explain the theory and ethos, I’ve put together a helpful list of practical alternatives to buying fast fashion so that we can all slow down our wardrobes and create positive change in consumer trends with tangible actions instead of arguing about concepts. Sounds good? Good.
Love the clothes you already have.
Look, I’m willing to bet that you already HAVE clothes. probably even more than you actually need. So wear those!. Read the care labels so they can last longer! Experiment with different combinations so it feels like you have more of them! Tbh I think most of us could just stop at this step and be set for a very long time.
Make do and mend.
I don’t know about you but I used to get rid of a LOT of clothes because of small problems like stains, holes, or missing buttons. Taking a few minutes to learn how to replace a button, patch a hole, or properly treat stains can exponentially extend the life of your garments. Take this a step further, and small changes to necklines, hemlines, and closures can take a garment lingering in the back of the closet to a new favorite.
Swap before you shop. Im sure I don’t have to explain the concepts of “hand-me-downs” to you, and this is a GREAT way to update your wardrobe without creating any new clothing OR spending any money. If you don’t have local friends with similar style and size as you, don’t give up! Swap Society is a great (local, and woman-owned!) that takes this concept ONLINE and lets you swap your clothes with other ladies (and kids!), all across the country.
Shop secondhand first.
Ok so theres something you DON’T already have and theres no one around to beg, borrow, or stay from. What do you do now? Thrift stores are an obvious choice, but, depending on where you live, your options might be limited. Thankfully there are tons of online options. Ebay is great if you know EXACTLY what you’re looking for (I have a friend that’s an absolute WIZARD at this), Thredup lets you filter by size, category, brand etc. very easily (and you can sell clothes back to them as well, also we both get a $10 credit if you order through that link), and apps like Poshmark and Depop let you easily browse other peoples closets. I’ve even had pretty good luck with local facebook buy/sell/trade groups!
I mean, whats slower than literally MAKING your own clothes. But real talk, if you’ve got some basic sewing skills (or are willing to learn, I offer custom private lessons in LA/OC) you’d be amazed at the things you can avoid buying (I haven’t bought underwear in years!), and by buying ethical, secondhand, or salvaged fabrics (I talk about this a bit more in this post) your makes can be super affordable AND eco-friendly.
Ok so maybe you need something thats beyond your abilities to make and you just cant find it secondhand. Do your research and see if you can find it from a small business, preferably one with an empasis on ethical practices and sustainaiblility. This SOUNDS expensive, but I’ve found that isnt always the case! I’ve been wanting a new leather jacket for a long time, and at first I was going to save up for one like this from Madewell, but through Instagram I came across a brand called Pelechecoco and it turns out that their recycled leather jackets are SIGNIFICANTLY lower priced than Madewell’s.
Buy well, make it last.
Sometimes we just need to buy stuff. I’m super picky about shores and don’t always have good luck finding the EXACT THING I want in my size secondhand (though sometimes I do like those beauties from Depop up at the top of the post). So, when I do actually NEED shoes (or jeans, or a leather jacket), I make sure to choose something neutral, high-quality, ethical if possible and then WEAR IT TO DEATH.
I know that we are SO conditioned to think that fast fashion is the only affordable way to dress. But trust me, if you just keep your eyes and mind open, there are OPTIONS. I don’t know if a 100% perfect slow fashion exists, or that any one of us can singlehandedly end all of the horrible things happening in the garment industry, BUT I really do think we can create major change just with consistent baby steps in slowing down our wardrobes.