This blog is aimed at those who are caught within the fast fashion spiral, like I was and probably still am in some ways. None of us are perfect, but if your goal for 2021 is to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, then shopping more sustainably is a great way to do this.
For those near and dear, you are likely to be acquainted with my old fashion blog “Molly Rachel” in which I documented my intrinsic love of fashion and airing my thoughts and feelings on relative emotional subject matters that pervaded my life.
Whether you are familiar with it or not, a quick glance at this page and it gives you all you need to know, that I loved shopping, and I loved affordable clothes. I easily fed upon the saccharine girl gang marketing from Nasty Gal, Missguided, Topshop, and Pretty Little Thing, as well as lusting over pieces from Zara, ASOS, and Mango. Shells of plastic polyethylene bags littered my floor at university, new outfits crumpled up next to them, drunkenly discarded after a night out. But as I loved clothes so much and that “feeling” that it can give you, I didn’t recognize what impact I had on an environmental scale and on a human rights scale.
I was very ignorant to the toxicity of these corporations, only thinking about what I could get my hands on next, how I could be in the “in” crowd of fashion influencers, and what would score a few extra likes on Instagram.
I know right?
The one thing I wish I could say is that the change happened over night. But it didn’t, it was very slow, almost too slow as the world and my bank account played catch up to my relentless consumption. If there is something I have learnt about myself in the past few years is that I am very good at shying away from information, being ignorant, naive and turning a “blind” eye, rather than immediately confronting the situation. Some of my more environmentally and socially aware friends would tell me how and why they didn’t shop at these places. So, the sad thing is, is that I knew the facts, but at the time I subconsciously chose to ignore it and was just continuously seduced by the sales.
Yet, evidently knowing just how bad these companies were did make a difference, as the seed was planted. The initial germination was admittedly at snail’s pace but as I was more exposed to more and more information as time went on, I did start to make the habit of choosing to not shop in a few of these places. For instance, I remember at first not choosing to shop in Missguided and Pretty Little Thing purely because of how cheap their garments were. But, these were only baby steps, as I still was an avid browser and buyer of other companies like with ASOS, Zara, & Other Stories and Topshop being my main culprits. Still though, every now and again I would be seduced by one garment at these fast fashion stores, whether it was the free next day delivery or one of their pieces just taking my heart. My fast fashion fan to fast fashion phobe journey would usually consist of slow small steps, then a big step, then small steps once again
My journey would usually consist of slow small steps, then a big step, then small steps once again. The small steps would be like the above, not choosing to shop with companies like Missguided as much as I used to, only buying one thing that I absolutely loved that I know would last a long time rather than lots of things I just “liked”. This developed into a momentous change for the way I shopped, no longer as privy to impulse shopping, well-thought out purchases soon became part of my fashion language.
The 2019 Stacey Dooley documentary also created another momentous change. From this one documentary alone, I decided to only buy second-hand denim because of the amount of water that is used to produce just one pair of jeans. I have to say though, this year itself was the biggest step of all when social media was used to its greatest good. Both the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the BLM movement brought swathes of information to light about how toxic the current fashion industry is. Not just the environmental impact, but the plethora of human rights abuses that it commits. It sort of slapped me in the face, and I think, left a permanent mark once and for all.
With my spare time on weekends, I undertook the London College of Fashion short course on Sustainability which gave me so many invaluable statistics. I also followed and shared lots of accounts on slow fashion and environmental justice on social media which quickened the pace and turned me more away from fast fashion.
But the journey isn’t over yet, I still buy the odd new thing here and there, but honestly, it is truly a ghost of my former self. I no longer do huge klarna-bought hauls then return half of the garments, I truly consider and think through every purchase I want, I am going to start using the beauty of fashion rental when my social life properly resumes, and I now largely shop vintage, second hand and from small sustainable brands. Most importantly, it’s not that I have just “gotten out of the habit”, but I no longer want to shop the way that I used too.
One day, I know in my heart that I will be greater than I am right now, and the Merz is going to help me on my sustainable journey, as well as helping others too.