Let's Start a Fashion Revolution

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Since the 1920's, mass consumption of clothing has increased rapidly. People began to buy things because they had the money to spare, incomes increased, and much of the Western world became a robot of consumption and waste. The higher demands for clothing have resulted in extortionate amounts of material waste. In fact, the average American throws out 27 kilograms of clothing every year. The facts explain the problem, but how can we solve it? 

High-street shops such as Forever 21, Primark, H&M, and Zara are examples of brands which use the fast fashion industry to translate runway trends to shops for the everyday consumer as quickly as possible. For those seeking to be on top of trends, it seems like the most realistic option would be to buy clothing from these storesyou can buy the trendiest clothes without breaking the bank or having any significant dent in your spendings. It seems like the shopper’s dream. The term ‘shopaholic’ has only become popular since consumption rocketed upwards and outwards. But does the shopaholic realize the impact they have on our planet?

The ideal option would be for people to only consume what they need rather than what they impulsively want. Although many people do this already, for someone who is only beginning to try and reduce their consumption amount there are a few options: thrifting, buying second-hand, buying vintage, or not buying at all.

Thrifting does not require a manufacturer to produce more clothing, as the clothing has already been produced. Yes, some may argue that it is still consuming. But there is a clear difference between people buying from companies that produce a constant flow of clothing, and buying from a shop where the clothing has simply sat in a warehouse or stockroom for many years. If we all consumed vintage clothing, would there be such a demand for fast fashion brands to manufacture such high masses of clothing every day? 

It is the brands themselves that must change. Creating 52 weeks worth of trends only results in the consumer constantly wanting more. Advertisements tend to lure customers into thinking they need the new top or new style of a skirt when in actuality, the majority of these customers would survive perfectly fine with the clothes they have purchased already. 

Customers need to start questioning brands about how their clothing is made so quickly. Why do factory workers in developing countries have to work 16-hour work days for the sake of the hypnotized consumers controlled by advertising and the constant inner voice telling them they need more? Some argue that the fast fashion industry provides jobs for millions of people, which it does. But are they working in safe conditions, or are they risking their lives in order to feed their families? 

If brands increased the prices of their products, it would create less waste as consumers would not buy as much clothing, but also, the factory workers would not have to spend their lives sewing thousands of clothing pieces. They could produce better quality clothing for a higher wage, therefore having to work fewer hoursgiving them more time to rest and spend time with their families.

A fashion revolution needs to occur. People need to be cleansed of their brainwashed selves and realize that ‘retail therapy’ is not the answer to their problems. They do not need to consume on a regular basis. We need to buy things that are timeless, leave the fashion trends to the designer brands, and take inspiration from them rather than instantly consume the exact designs. There is something exciting about thrifting and finding something that fits a designer trend, but for only a fraction of the price. 

It is all well and good buying clothing ethically, but if you don’t donate or recycle your clothing once you no longer need it, it defeats the goal of buying second-hand in the first place. We need to begin a cycle of using clothing to its full potential. Borrow clothing from your friends or do a clothing swap for a month. That way, you can switch up your style for free.

It is you that will help to start a fashion revolution. Make it happen.

By Ella Jones
You can keep up with her on Instagram and her website.

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