By Rhiannon McGovern (she/her)
As a society, we’re becoming more aware of the dangers of fast fashion and its detrimental
impact on the environment. It may be easier to sit behind a screen and preach about how to develop healthier shopping habits, but it’s harder to put these into practice.
When faced with the influx of information about the impact that the fashion industry is having
on the planet, we might be tempted to ask how we ended up here. It wasn’t always this way,
but the concept of fast fashion isn’t exactly new either. Since the 1960s, brands have been
frantically trying to keep up with the increasing demand for the trendiest items to appear on
their shelves. With it being estimated that fast fashion brands are producing twice the amount of clothes today than in the year 2000, it’s frightening to think about the future of fashion. Can things get any worse?
Admittedly, I’ve fallen victim to the pull of fast fashion at times. We all have – sometimes it’s just
too easy to give in when you see that perfect item. This symptom of capitalism, a microcosm of
a grander issue, has spilt over into all areas of life. Social media is increasingly pumping out hyper-specific content from a surveillant algorithm – We’ve all witnessed the emergence of the niche micro-aesthetics over the last couple of years originating from the self-identified alt-cottagecore-downtown girls – But what have we gained from this, apart from the debilitating pressure of feeling like we need to fit ourselves neatly into a box all of the time?
My first piece of advice is to ditch the aesthetics. It sounds counter-intuitive, but the limitations
they put on us can often be a hindrance to curating your wardrobe. Aesthetics can be beneficial
when used as inspiration, but we limit ourselves when we pick just one of these labels and allow
little room for digressing. In reality, most of us can’t define our style as just one thing, so instead,
it’s worth researching the common components of a capsule wardrobe and learning how to use
these wardrobe staples in innovative ways to create many outfits out of fewer pieces.
One of the most obvious yet effective ways to curb the over-consumption of fast fashion is to buy clothes second-hand. Not only is this more sustainable as it gives pre-loved clothes a new life, but it is much healthier for your bank account too. On top of the charity shops that can be easily found, Glasgow has its fair share of thrift stores – Mr Ben and Minted in the centre and The Glasgow Vintage Co out the West-end to name a few – And for those who find that online shopping is more accessible, sites like Depop and Vinted are a must.
Although it often feels like the internet has become oversaturated with new trends and fashion hauls, there is some useful content that can be found regarding how to nurture your own personal style. Videos on colour theory have made their way to the mainstream, with users looking to find out which season they are based on their skin undertones and contrasts. Alternatively, the three-word method is another popular tool worth looking into. These can be useful, and with a little searching around you might find a technique that works for you and your environment.
It’s important to remember that the whole point of fashion is that it’s supposed to be fun.
Sustainable shopping doesn’t mean that self-expression and creativity are lost, I would argue the opposite. Is ‘finding your personal style’ really this goal that we all reach once we’ve learnt a certain amount about ourselves (will we ever?), or is it the acceptance of all the different things that encompass our varying fashion desires and aspirations? Inevitably, the latter. Ultimately, being true to your unique tastes will never go out of style.
Edited by: Haneen AlEid