“How to Break Up With Fast Fashion”
“We can only do the best we can do. But we can probably do better than we are.” ~ Lauren Bravo
In the past month, I have read over four (yes, four!) books on decluttering and simplifying one’s possessions. To motivate me further minimize my prize collection (or rather pile) of clothing, I took a deep dive into Lauren Bravo’s new book, How to Break Up With Fast Fashion. The book is a delight to read. It gives a good chuckle as it shows how impossibly human we all are, as we strive to be more mindful in our purchases. Her anecdotes and advice indeed confirm the old adage - “Two steps forward, one step backward.”
So, how does one “break up” with fast fashion? Bravo’s advice is as follows:
Become a mindful consumer. Know your facts about the negative impacts that the fashion industry has on planet and people. Part of this also includes understanding what motivates you to shop and self-analyze what other activities can capture those feelings. Have also self-compassion, for marketing is designed to seduce you to buy things to make you "feel better." But resist and over time, you'll discover freedom from this toxic relationship.
Love what you have. Keep clothes that you appreciate even if it is out of trend (which will shortly return due to fast fashion cycles.) Take care of your pieces by washing properly, mending, and spot treating them. You can even alter pieces to fit your body! Learn to style to create wardrobe capsules and novelty. Finally, donate or sell any clothes that make you sad or ugly or don’t fit anymore!
Shop for only clothes which you need. There might be gaps in your wardrobe that you can fill in. However, don’t bring friends who enable you to spend money and only shop when you feel great! One should also only buy quality pieces that will remain durable many times over.
Shop secondhand whether it’s through thrift and consignment shops or clothing swaps or rental programs. Clothing brands are increasingly offering options to shop their brands secondhand, and vintage clothing (at least 20 years old) is predicted to take off in popularity.
Keep the pressure on clothing brands to become more environmentally and socially responsible. No clothing manufacturer (or person or business for that matter) is perfect. They can always improve in some aspect whether it’s paying workers a living wage, provide safer working conditions, using renewable energy, stop polluting during production, or provide more inclusivity and diversity in their line-up. Your purchase however is a vote and a nudge. Use it to demand better from your favorite fashion house.