Sustainable fashion is the new veganism
I have a confession to make. I used to shop away my feelings. Whenever something went wrong, I went to the right place. Shopping mall. Especially Zara, which had became my „Tiffany´s“. A place full of things that make me happy, near my reach, for not that cheap price. And the worse I felt emotionally, the more time I spent browsing through stashes of clothing. Considering the fact that Zara gets new stock twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, rarely have I seen the same stuff twice.
I used to make fun of my ridiculous shopping habits. I took pride in being so up to date with knowing what´s new in 7 different clothing stores. Fashion was my hobby, anti-depressent and distraction. Wearing the clothing is satisfactory itself and gives me the boost of oh so sweet dopamine.
„ April Lane Benson, a psychologist and the author of To Buy or Not To Buy: Why We Overshop and How To Stop, specializes in treating compulsive shopping. When she describes the reasons for people constantly browsing as entertainment, she makes it sound like an existential crisis.
“I think that it has something to do with the pace that we live our lives at and the paucity of time that so many of us spend in pursuits that really feed our souls,” she says. “Shopping is a way that we search for our selves and our place in the world. A lot of people conflate the search for self with the search for stuff.” Shopping therefore becomes a “quick fix,” as she puts it, for other problems. „ (1)
But something has changed. I no longer want to shop at Zara, or any other fast fashion chain, unless neccessary. I like to call it fashion-veganism. I have a completely new midset about clothing and fashion in general.
„Fashion should never be thought of as a disposable product.“ (The True Cost)
I have always knew that the clothing I wear is made by people who work and live in horrible conditions. I have watched many documenteries, read tons of articles. But my response tended to end with me saying „so what else am I supposed to shop? I have no other choices.“.
I don´t think that it´s possible to change this problem globally, at least at the moment. The fast fashion retailers are making way too much profit out of suffering of others, and it completely ruins their rational thinking. I once read, that after the collapse or garment factory in Bangledash, the clothes made in there still reached the stores, and the owners of clothing brands cared only about the lost profit. People in these countries do not get minimal living wage, spend hours and hours behind a sewing machine, sewing the same pattern over and over again. While we buy the product for, let´s say – 30dollars, they get get a few cents.
There is, of course, a sustainable, fair trade clothing, but while it´s really great, it´s also really expensive for a high school student like me. One simple dress can cost up to 200euros. So I tried to research some more, until I found a term called „capsule wardrobe“. The main idea is to have around 37 pieces of clothing for one season, that are the perfect fit, material and are adored by the owner of the product. The main goal is to shop wisely, value the clothing already owned and avoid the trap of fast fashion chains as much as possible. For example, instead of buying three low quality t-shirts for forty euros, one can buy a quality sweather that lasts much longer than those shirts.
I love the idea, because it is ideal remedy for my shopping addiction. I can learn how to value my clothing and save money on something more meaningful. But still, it isn´t about money, as much as it is about not supporting horrible working conditions of people that create my clothing.
image – www.brandchannel.com