Our fashion-savvy friend Liz, of The Leggy Lady is attempting not to shop for an entire year. It is a feat so crazy, so awesome, so completely impossible for the KeyPulp editorial staff to comprehend ever attempting, we couldn’t possibly not invite her to guest blog on the topic! Here’s just the first of what we hope will be more of her keen fashion insight on KeyPulp. And of course, keep an eye on Liz’s site to see how her year of not shopping unfolds.
I want to talk a bit about fast fashion. Fast fashion, as it is traditionally defined, is retail clothing, based on the most current trends, that is made and sold quickly. The idea in itself is not evil; in fact, it sounds like a great business model (spoiler alert: it is). However, fast fashion, due to the nature of its production, is normally not the most long-lasting, well-made stuff. It’s wasteful. Right?
Well, mostly. People like to tell you that you shouldn’t shop at places like H&M and Zara. I’m not going to lecture you here. We need clothes, and we need them to not look like we found them in a gutter. Sure, some people have the time and energy to hunt through the racks of the local thrift store several times a week to find that one good piece, but I don’t, and you probably don’t either. It’s okay to shop at fast fashion retailers and buy the clothes that you want to buy. In reality, you shouldn’t be expected to wear the same little black dress to every cocktail event you attend. But I will tell you when shopping fast fashion is wasteful.
It’s wasteful when you buy things that you think you won’t wear for more than a year. Repeatedly. We’re all guilty of buying that dress, belt, or hat that we wore once down the shore or for that night out dancing. I’ve gone into stores and found cute shirts that I could tell wouldn’t last through the season. It’s a hard decision. It’s $20 and it’ll be great to wear all summer! Who cares, right? (Another spoiler: you should.)
Buying clothes—especially fast fashion—is all about common sense. For example, the hot pink dress I wore today (pictured) is made by H&M. I loved shopping there, and I probably always will. I bought the dress for a wedding, and after finding out that it would be too casual for that event, I decided to keep it. It’s surprisingly well-made, has no overtly trendy details that will be “out” in a year or two, and looks great on me. I fully expect for it to last me another few years. Hint: this is when you can and, dare I suggest, should buy fast fashion.
In direct contrast to the pink dress, I have several tank tops I also bought at H&M. You can find them in the basics section of most stores, and they are the epitome of fast fashion. Worse, in fact, because they’re not “trendy”; They’re just scraps of material haphazardly sewn together to make what barely resembles a tank top after a few washings. Do I even need to say it?
There’s a pretty distinct line between acceptable clothing from “fast fashion” retailers, and proper, shitty, and incredibly worthless fast fashion. Think about the clothes you buy before you buy them. How well is this made, how often will I wear this, and how long will it last are all good questions to ask yourself before picking something up. The good clothes do exist. Buy them!
Note that I didn’t get into any of the ethical issues of fast fashion. Frankly, that’s a whole other ball of wax, and it exists, in some form or another, for 99% of the affordable clothing retailers out there. Follow your own heart on that front.