Unfortunately, with luxurious desires comes a hefty price tag – forcing us to settle for fast-fashion brands that offer similar styles to that of their designer counterparts. While that doesn’t sound entirely daunting, the harsh reality of cheap clothing does not lie in the unoriginal designs that they mimic, but in the production processes which are often based in poor countries. Due to the incomparable legal minimum wage in other regions, the fashion industry ruthlessly takes advantage of devastating working conditions in order to keep costs low and income high.
But not all is lost! While it may be easier said than done, there are options that allow us to save money, while reducing clothing waste as well as aiding those who are hired to produce clothing by fast-fashion brands.
1. DIY Existing Clothing Pieces
For some of us, it is inevitable to grow tired of our own clothing. It is incredibly tempting to run to the mall and seek out new pieces that, more or less, are similar to what we already own. In an era where originality strikes us as rare, vamping up an existing t-shirt or pair of jeans allows us to showcase our personal style and to ensure that it is 100% unique. Additionally, Pinterest and Instagram are excellent resources when it comes to DIY- with so many platforms available, the possibilities are endless.
2. Trash to Treasure
We’ve all heard that one man’s trash, is another’s treasure; this sentiment certainly reigns true in the world of fashion. That old Patagonia pullover you’re sick of, someone else has been dying to have. Although sites such as eBay may be presented as ‘too outdated’ for millennials, phone applications like DePop and Poshmark make the task of re-selling items a breeze. In fact, although Poshmark is a platform exclusive to fashion items, DePop allows for a wider range of products to be sold- from cameras to tennis rackets.
If you absolutely cannot find any other way to reuse your clothing, an excellent option would be to donate to your local Goodwill, or perhaps, to a cause that you are passionate about. Places like Buffalo Exchange, allow you to resell your clothes as well as donate them. They first assess the condition of the items that you plan to resell, and donate those unfit for resale to charity. Additionally, it serves as a second-hand shop where you can purchase mid-range to high-end brands for a friendly price tag.
4. Seek Sustainable Designers
While all the options above seem exciting, and beneficial to the community and environment, sometimes we just want that new blazer. Luckily, sustainable and affordable designers do exist! French sneaker brand, Veja, utilizes Amazonian rubber to create their trendy trainers and have opposed to partake in partnerships with the leather manufacturers of the area.
Due to the likes of retro fashion making a comeback, this trend essentially makes it even more effortless for us to swap clothes with each other, donate items, or shop from our local vintage stores. Any contribution at all has an impact on those working in factories, as well as the environment. To better understand the necessary steps that need to be taken in order to reach sustainability within the industry, Business of Fashion elaborates on Fashion’s 7 Priorities: https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/news-analysis/fashions-7-priorities-to-achieve-sustainability
Hypebeast also has published an article listing their top picks for sustainable brands, which you can find here: https://www.highsnobiety.com/2017/04/17/best-sustainable-fashion-brands/