Last week I spoke about how hard it can be shopping for ethical fashion, this can be even tougher for those of us who love fast fashion. Making any sort of lifestyle change isn’t easy, yes I do consider giving up fast fashion a lifestyle change. You’re giving up your Saturday afternoon at the shops trying the find the perfect outfit for going out that night, you’re giving up a lunchtime trip to the shops to cheer yourself up, you’re giving up hours of online browsing in your favourite stores, you may even be giving up your favourite stores. That’s a lot of change and it isn’t going to be easy. There is a lot more to this than just changing where you buy your clothes.
Giving up fast fashion isn’t as simple as changing where you buy your clothes!
For one thing, you have to completely change the way you shop. If you want to start buying more sustainable and ethical pieces you may have to take your shopping off the high street. That is a lot easier nowadays with internet shopping, but still, it takes time to research stores and there is always the worry about ordering from a website you don’t know. We’ve all heard of Topshop and H&M so have no problem ordering from them. They’ve been part of our lives for years, we have a relationship with them and they have earned our trust. I bet most of you fast fashion addicts have your credit card information stored on your Topshop account (I know I do). These stores have played a massive part in our lives (whether we want to admit it or not) from looking in the windows as children when shopping with mum (and/or dad) to those first trips into town with our friends to becoming a firm favourite (including the monthly payday visit). I think we all have one shop in particular which feels like a familiar friend. For me it’s Topshop, it was the first place me and my friends went when we first had the freedom to get the bus into town alone, although I couldn’t afford to buy anything I loved going in and watching all the ‘cool girls’ and looking at all the clothes. As I got older it was the place we went on a Saturday afternoon to pick out an outfit for going out that night. My trips to Topshop helped me to escape the pressure of uni and was always somewhere I felt comfortable going alone. As I’ve gotten older Topshop has always been my first stop when out shopping, and I used to check their new in section on a near daily basis. I’m starting to approach the age where I’m maybe a bit too old for Topshop, but that doesn’t stop me having a look just in case. It feels a bit odd saying this since its just a shop but Topshop has played an important part in my life. Making the decision not to shop at these stores is a really big deal, it’s like ending a relationship – not easy.
For a lot of women, our lives have always revolved around shopping (I’m not going to get into the sexism and feminist side of this but it’s definitely there), a lot of our socialising involves shopping and friends are based on this activity. So if you take shopping away it leaves a big gap in our lives. Just think about how much of your time shopping and fast fashion takes up. If your anything like me you probably spend a good few hours a week checking the new in section of your favourite online stores, maybe a couple of trips to the shops in your lunch hour each week and a longer trip every weekend. It adds up to as much as a part time job (if only you could get paid to shop). It is difficult to cope when a big part of your life is suddenly taken away (even if it is your choice).
For me, the only way to give up shopping was to go cold turkey and create a capsule wardrobe (read how to create your own capsule wardrobe), for you, it may be to slowly reduce the amount of time you spend shopping. As I said earlier fast fashion and the shops that provide it, play a massive part in our lives and ending that relationship isn’t easy. There is also the issue of budget, not everyone can afford to give up Topshop and only shop designer (I certainly can’t, although it would be nice), so what if you can only afford to shop on the high street? Since started my capsule wardrobe challenge I have really come to understand the importance of quality over quantity. This means I would now rather buy one high-quality piece than 10 low-quality pieces. This has led me to start shopping at the higher end of the high street in stores like Whistles and Reiss. Yes, I understand that when you go to these places and look at the price tag it can be a bit scary. But try and work out how much you actually spend on clothes over the course of a month (£30 top here, £40 jeans there – it all adds up). Personally, I would rather have the Reiss dress which will last for years than another 5 tops which I’ll have to get rid of after a few months. If we start to focus on finding quality on the high street, we don’t have to give up our favourite shops just change our relationship with them.
I have included this Whistles dress in all of my capsule wardrobes, it is such a versatile piece and is so flattering (you gotta love a dress which covers your food baby). I’m wearing it here with a pair of black slip on trainers to dress it down but check out my Christmas party outfit post to see how easy it is to dress it up a bit. If it’s in your budget I highly recommend buying this dress – trust me you will get so much wear out of it.