In order for you to have made it here you must have at one time asked the question, “what am I doing?”. I first asked this question myself in my second year of university studying fashion. As long as I can remember I wanted to be a designer. The allure of the fashion industry pulled me in with the magazine spreads and the glamor of models walking the runway. It all looked so posh, I felt I had to be a part of it all in some way.
Sitting in my Fashion Industries class at the age of 19 I started to question the glamorous nature of this industry. I learned about fashion through the ages and its evolution through time. I began to understand the tactics behind brands around trends and gender segregation. But what caught my attention the most was the boom of production. The introduction of mass- produced clothing to the world was the beginning of all of this. Advertising worked against second hand to create a taboo around the industry coated in shame. Peoples closets doubled than tripled in size over a matter of 10-20 years. Skill was lost and what was once viewed as precious as water became nothing more than a new source of junk that emptied people’s pockets.
I began to feel a bit sick to my stomach about it all. I didn’t know if I really wanted to be part of it all any more after learning what I had. I turned it in on myself and questioned my role in all of this not just as a career path but also as a consumer. My closet was overflowing with “stuff”, most of which I justified purchasing due to the low price-tag. Most of It I didn’t touch on a regular basis and hadn’t in years. I wish I could say that’s when I stopped completely and turned it all around for myself but that just wouldn’t be true. I was in this viscous habit of purchasing because I had no idea who I wanted to be or what I wanted to dress like.
It took about half a year for me to finally challenge myself to stop buying fast fashion. I committed to only buying ethical clothing for one year. This included any brands/ companies that I had enough research and proof of transparency to shop at along with second hand items. I stopped going to malls to shop and looked mainly online for brands or hit up thrift shops when I really felt the urge to brows.
I wouldn’t say it was hard. It was different though. It wasn’t as easy to find specific things that I wanted. It took time to look and the convenience of a physical store was no longer an option. I could still easily find things I liked, they just happened to be different than what everyone else was buying. It really forced me to figure out my personal style separate from what other people were wearing. I feel like it helped me find myself with my clothes. Once the year was up I couldn’t stop. I had conditioned myself to ask questions about clothing. I felt guilty walking into a fast fashion store knowing what I knew about their production practices. When I picked up a piece of clothing I thought about the hands that made it and the journey it took to get to that very moment. I couldn’t ignore it anymore, my eyes were forever opened.
Like I said, it took time to get to this point and where I am today. There was no quick fix or easy steps to take. It is work and it should be work. If it's easy, you may not be doing it right. But for me, I think the extra effort makes it that much more rewarding to find pieces that I truly love and want to wear knowing the hands behind those who put it together weren't harmed in the process.
So now I'll turn this to you, how will you start to make the change?