4 Tips For Quitting Fast Fashion

For the past nine years I have worked part-time in retail.  More specifically fast fashion. Until this week.  This week I quit my fast fashion job, and as of this Sunday I will (hope to) never work in retail again.

I should say now that it was not the specific retailer that I was working for that made me quit, but instead the idea of fast fashion itself and the effects it has that pushed me to quit.

Over the years more and more quick and cheap brands have become available that offer consumers a surplus of items, made quickly, with the intention to be replaced by a new fashion trend in just a matter of weeks.

But while cheap fashion may benefit our bank accounts in the short term, in the long run it has environmental and economic consequences for consumers, the labourers making our clothes, and the environment.

Fast fashion is having a devastating impact on our planet.

The majority  of our clothing is now made overseas with fast paced turn around times.  Mass production of cheap materials, made for by underpaid labourers in poor working conditions, under short deadlines leads to poor quality products, being shipped to the West, putting a strain not just on those making the clothes, but also the environment.

fast-fashion

Like I said earlier, I’ve worked in fast fashion for nine years!  Again it isn’t this particular company that has made me want to quit but rather the industry itself.  I had been thinking about it for a while, and even while in America, discovering the minimalist and zero waste lifestyles, I had promised myself not to return to my comfortable retail job when I returned.

But returning meant returning to all the things I had to pay for, like food and bills.

But last week, after a combination of things, including needing to make more time for my university work and this blog, I decided once and for all, my time had come to leave my comfortable job.

1. Quit Your Fast Fashion Job

If like me you work for a highstreet clothing shop, a step you can take to remove yourself from the industry is literally remove yourself from the industry.

This is a lot easier said than done, I know.  This isn’t the first time I’ve quit my fast fashion job, its the third.

Yes, this job is what puts food on my plate and pays the bills every month, but I’m also in a position to be able to survive off of my student loan, especially when implementing the next three steps.  I do not advise anyone to quit their job if they do not have the financial means to do so.  You need to eat!  But in the mean time search for jobs within companies who have a sustainable brand ethic.

If you are not working and are searching for jobs, think twice about the shops you’re applying to.  Things to ask beore applying are how are their products manufactured, where are they manufactured, and by who?

Again, I know this is an extreme step and isn’t an easy step to take, especially for students and young people, and I am in no way advising anyone to quit their jobs and put their finances in jeopardy.  Only do so if your in a position financially to do so.

2. Buy Second Hand

Thrifting is fashionable right now, so take advantage of it!

Visit your local thrift stores, second hand markets, charity shops, and apps like Depop for those previously owned, well loved pieces that will not only reduce your carbon footprint, but will also keep your bank account happy.

Plus charity shops are great places to find all your highstreet favourites, as well as many items that still have the tags on them!  And if you’re still keen on keeping up with the quickly changing fashion trends, buying second hand does not mean you have to give that up either.

Check out below YouTuber Kailee Mckenzie’s tips for thrifting fashionable pieces.  Kailee thrifts most of her wardrobe, and then sells many of her items on Depop after she no longer finds use from within her personal style.

If you’re still not sold on the idea of buying second hand then think of it this way – every time you buy one brand new piece of clothing from a fast fashion retailer, the piece has been made cheaply and quickly, in another country.  The material it is made from, unnatural polyester, wastes gallons of water to be made, producing harmful by-products in the process that is then returned back into the local water, soil and air in the area it has been produced in.  It is then shipped over to your country, and then placed onto a lorry to be delivered to your local store, creating more harmful pollution.  Between the completion of your item of clothing and you purchasing it, it has been placed in a plastic film protecter and then placed into a box, both of which are disposed of as soon as it reaches the store.

Lets jump to two months into the future – you loved your piece of clothing and you’ve worn it several times, but you’re now noticing that every time you wash it it shrinks a little more, unravels at the seams, and even has a hole or tear in it somewhere.  You may be thinking to yourself, “well that’s okay because it was so cheap anyway, I can just go buy another.”

But should you?

Or should the clothes you buy last longer than a few weeks?

3. Buy Lasting Pieces

If you still can’t quit your favourite shops, then limit yourself to the amount of items you buy.  Instead of buying whole outfits every time you hit the shops, instead buys lasting pieces that will stay timeless and keep you looking fashionable all year round.

Although you could end up spending more for one item, buying a more expensive, better quality pair of jeans or shoes, could save you money for years to come.

Recently I have been wanting a pear of suede ankle boots and found many cheap options, but knew that after a few wears they would become scuffed or ruined by the weather.  Instead I saved of for a few weeks and purchased a pair that although cost more, would last longer.

Creating a capsule wardrobe, like many minimalists have, of around 30 pieces that are simple but stylish in design, can save you money, and keep you looking good all year round.

It’s no coincidence you’ve noticed black and grey clothing items becoming staples in everyones wardrobes this year, they are timeless colours, that are stylish no matter the fashion trend.

Creating a capsule wardrobe can also limit you in the amount of clothes you purchase, again decreasing your input in fast fashion, saving you money and lessening your carbon footprint.

4. If It’s Broke, Fix It

This makes the most sense.  If a button falls off, a seam comes undone, or a zip gets stuck, repair it, don’t replace it.

Not everyone is handy with a sewing needle, but that’s what Google is for.  There are endless amount of tutorials and videos online that can show you the basics in clothes repairing.

And if you still can’t repair, pay for someone else to.  It will be a fraction of the cost you would be paying to buy a brand new item.

The fashion industry isn’t going to change anytime soon, so it’s up to us.  If we cut off the demand for cheap, mass produced clothing, these brands and companies will have no choice but to change how they produce their clothing.

Ethical Clothing Brands

Everlane

People Tree

Bibico

Asos Eco Edit

Ethica

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20 thoughts on “4 Tips For Quitting Fast Fashion

  1. Great article. I am trying to teach my brain to do exactly what you’re talking about here when it comes to buyin clothes. They suck you in with marketing sometimes they really do!

    You said you haven’t named a specific store that is ‘fast fashion’ and unethical. With H&M, I’m curious if they’re still considered unethical and fast fashion because I know they were doing that clothing recycle program etc. I am just wanting to double check as I started buying more clothes from them than other retailers for that fact. But I’ll stop if they’re not ! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it! I thought so too with H&M and when I was packing to leave America I at first considered recycling my unwanted clothes with them for the reward you got, but all it would do is justify me buying even more fast fashion which was what I was trying. To avoid, and I instead took my clothes to good will where I knew they would be useful

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  2. This is so important! I find that thrifting usually gets me the same or better prices for better quality goods. Plus its nice to be able to look through all of the clothes. It’s kind of like a scavenger hunt. 🙂
    Would American Apparel also be on the list for ethically made clothes? I might be wrong but I know their clothing is made the USA.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. American apparel could be considered ethical as far as where their clothes are made, but the company as a whole has other ethical problems that I personally wouldn’t be comfortable being a consumer of

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      1. Yes, American apparel is a tricky one. I own many aa tshirts that have lasted years so their actual quality is good but the people behind the business and the marketing make it hard, but if I saw an aa item while thrifting and I liked the item I would purchase it as that way I know the item will last and any profit is going to the thrift store and not aa

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  3. This is true. I’m always on the lookout for aa at my local goodwill but I never find it! I just must not be at the right store.

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  4. Pingback: Goals for 2017
  5. We need a reset on how we do a lot of things. While we are awakening to that, it’s prudent to take things one step at a time. I liked that you advised caution before quitting a job because people need to have their money together because that is how it works right now. And by the way, the concept of money is also something that needs to be reset but like I said one step at a time. It’s here so we have to make the best of it.

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  6. Charity shops have such good finds these days! It’s great that you can get a little back from helping great causes!

    If you’re interested in Charity shopping, I’ve just written a review on Octavia Foundation, Tooting. Have a read and spread the word on the good work that they do: tootinghustle.wordpress.com

    I was just talking to a follower about fast fashion in the comments section and I 100% agree with you. Especially when we have to many cute and quirky clothes that are available.

    Happy blogging x

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