People say breakups are really hard. You cry a lot and question yourself whether it was the right choice, but in the end you will end up stronger than ever and inspired to conquer the world. It has been one year since my break-up with fast fashion, and I have never been happier.
It came naturally. I was never shopping like crazy because of my anxiety from shopping that I have explained in an older post. However, when I moved to England two years ago I went to Primark for the very first time. It was during our first Fashion Journalism task in Eldon Square where we had to find a piece of clothes and beauty product we liked. I saw all those pretty clothes and they were so cheap. I ended up buying black tie-waist wide-leg trousers in New Look. I fell in love with many other pieces but as I was funding my life in the UK I had to think carefully where I am going to spend my money. An average person in the UK spends £526.50 for clothes a year.
My first Halloween ever has arrived (November 2018) and I needed a new costume for the party. I was talking with my friend and she wanted a new one as well but she said she didn’t want to spend a lot of money but at the same time, she wanted to be unique. So we decided to make our own costumes and went to charity shops to get some pieces that we can remake. I got a midi baby blue polka dots skirt and went as a Snow princess.
Honestly, the charity shops in England are much better than those in Slovakia, where I am from. The number of shops, the variety of clothes or even shoes, the low prices and feeling that you’re helping someone else with your purchase is priceless.
Since Halloween I have been mostly shopping in charity shops, but the following summer in 2019 I went to the USA and it was difficult to not buy anything. Considering the fact I was working there in a camp, my clothes were destroyed very easily and I had no other option than buying something cheap in Walmart during a day off. I didn’t have time searching for a charity shop and then for another one in case I couldn’t find what I was looking for. Also, the outlets shopping centres are insane. You can buy your favourite brands for so cheap. I brought home Victoria Secret sets, Calvin Klein pants and a dress from an LA designer and I didn’t spend a fortune.
However, back in my mind I still saw the scenes from the movie The True Cost which shows unbelievably low wages of seamstresses and bad conditions they work in, and the terrible impact fast fashion has on the environment. Each minute in the UK, more than two tonnes of clothing is bought which produces nearly 50 tonnes of carbon emissions, the same as driving 162,000 miles in a car.
My last purchase from fast fashion was a pair of black fax leather slim trousers and a pencil mini-skirt from the same collection of H&M. Actually, I didn’t buy it myself, it was my mum who got it for me as a Christmas present last year. Since then, I’ve not bought a single thing from a fast-fashion brand.
I was repeatedly slowly falling in love with all the clothes I already had in my wardrobe. Studying Fashion Journalism gave me a chance to look at clothes every day, analyse styles of celebrities or fashion of different decades and gain inspiration for restyling clothes I already had.
Furthermore, I’ve rearranged my wardrobe so I got a better idea of what is already there. I also had a look at my mum’s closet and got few things from her, which are mostly from the 90s. I was lucky enough finding old coats of my passed grandmother, so I’ve just brought them to a laundry shop and they were like new ones.
There are so many benefits of breaking up with fast fashion. I saved a lot of money. I re-wear all the clothes I have. If I need anything, I first have a look into charity shops, if I cannot find what I need or I want something brand new I shop sustainable brands. Yes, they are more expensive like the clothes we can find in fast fashion retails, but when you think about the quality of material, impact on the environment and the fact that people behind the clothes are paid fairly it is a great investment not only for one year but maybe five or more. If you’re in this mindset, you don’t shop every week for trends, therefore you save money which you can then spend on some unique timeless sustainable pieces.
I’ve never been happier, shopping locally in small businesses, knowing that my purchase is making someone else happy as well and making their dream real, instead of supporting huge corporations that don’t care about not even their customers but also their core employees.