Written by Shahed Ezaydi
In January 2018, I set myself the goal to cut my very bad habit of near-weekly deliveries of all things fashion. I would spend a significant amount of my free time mindlessly scrolling through websites and putting things into online baskets without really thinking about it. The increase in pay later schemes meant I often wasn’t processing the fact I had actually bought something.
After looking into the absolutely disastrous impact the fashion industry has on our fragile planet, I decided enough was enough. I couldn’t change anything on a large scale, but I could put a stop to my own persistent consumerism. So, I told myself no more fast fashion.
It hasn’t been a year completely free of fast fashion, I have had a handful of slip ups, but I couldn’t imagine going back to my old habits. Some purchases have been more of the investment type, like my Doc Marten boots or my Birkenstock sandals, which will hopefully last me years. Others were just impulsive decisions, like my M&S PJ set. Nightwear and lingerie are the fashion categories I have struggled with most and it’s certainly something to work on for next year!
Saying no to fast fashion has meant I’ve had to get more imaginative with how I shop. I’ve always been an avid eBay-er, but I discovered Depop (yes, I’m also not sure where I’ve been…), which is now my go to place if I see something in a shop on the high street and want to see if I can get it second hand instead. It turns out I usually can!
Charity shops can also have some gems in there, but it requires a certain approach, well for me anyway, to properly look through the rails and eye out those gems. The same goes for vintage shops. Here in Sheffield, I’m lucky that we have quite the range of independent and vintage shops that usually have an outfit or two (or three…) and who also carry the same environmental and ethical beliefs. There also some great online shops out there, with my favourites being One Scoop Store and The Salvaged Project.
Altering your own consumerism habits is not easy in a society that is utterly obsessed with THINGS. Consumerism is plastered anywhere and everywhere. We are constantly being influenced – both consciously and subconsciously. Even more so at this time of year. It’s not just about putting a stop to buying things, but also changing our mindsets. And to not allow room in that mindset for justifications for ‘guilty’ behaviour or purchases when it comes to fashion, which is something I’m definitely still working on. The power is truly in the hands of consumers. If we can say no to fast fashion, we can drive real change in the industry.
However, I recognise that I am in an extremely privileged position to even consider cutting out fast fashion and shopping elsewhere. As this is not an option for everyone at the moment. So, if the high street is still your port of call for your fashion needs because that’s what you can afford or because it’s the only place that is size inclusive, then it is absolutely and completely ok to simply reduce your consumption.
Christmas is the season of parties and festivities and so fashion consumerism will be shooting off to even higher levels with people searching for that perfect party outfit. Maybe open up your wardrobe this season and take a proper look to see if the perfect party outfit is already there. Saving yourself money and the planet!