Ever look at someone walking down the street and think, “hey… I have that jacket!”? I know for a long time the olive green anorak could be counted on numerous bodies walking past me in the school hallways. It was the latest and greatest at the time, and it had to be from Aritzia. I bet every female or male, no gender bias here, owns one in their closet right this minute. Is it just me, or does it seem like fashion is no longer a creative way to express yourself? We all look up to some sort of influence to get style ideas, and if you don’t… well then props to you, you can stop reading this article right now. What I’m trying to say is: we let celebrities like Kendall and Kylie Jenner influence how we want our image to be portrayed. Since we all can’t get plastic surgery and butt implants, I guess stealing their style will do. As soon as one of those sisters wear something, it blows up. For example, wearing your lace bralette over a tee. Who brought that old 90’s look back? Kendall did. What about the corset trend? You guessed it: Kylie. Fashion isn’t about showing off your personal style anymore, so take off your bomber and unclasp your choker because, reality check: you’re basic.
It’s okay! I’m basic too. I just want to bring up some thoughts that my brain has been brewing up. Stores like Forever 21 and H&M make it so easy to latch onto a trend. For example, I wonder how many of us purchased fishnet tights when they resurfaced on our Instagram feeds. I know I did. Fast-fashion retailers make it so easy to buy into something that’s trending, because it’s so cheap! Nowadays people get bored so quickly and retailers need to keep up with our everlasting need to have the latest look. Because of our fast turnover rate, we fallback on the stores with cheap and affordable prices. Especially we students (unless you're loaded, then please fast-forward to the end of this article). Where do we draw the line? When will we stop letting celebrities tell us what to wear and what detox tea to drink? What happened to the good old days when fashion was a way of expressing your personality and not someone else’s?
Fast fashion can be easily described as catwalk designs reinvented by retailers and moved quickly in order to get into the customers’ hands. At an extremely affordable price, might I add. I’ve mentioned two of the most popular fast fashion retailers, but there are so many more. Stores like Zara, Topshop, Bluenotes, and the Gap all fall into this category. Some American retailers that you might recognize would be Rue21, Wet Seal, and Charlotte Russe. All of these retailers aim are to deliver fast-moving trends at budget-friendly prices. I must admit, it’s very addicting shopping fast fashion. I love the fact that I can put a whole outfit together under $100. But as much as we love these stores, there’s a lot of negative aspects that we are neglecting to think about. First of all, these famous retailers are neither ethical nor sustainable. There is a reason why these garments are so cheap. Bare with me now; things are about to get a little morbid. A lot of these retailers manufacture their clothing in places like Bangladesh, where the average garment worker’s income is about $73 a month. What’s even sadder is their income used to be about $30 a month according to a Global Labour Rights article on the Rana Plaza Tragedy. After a factory collapsed causing over 1,100 deaths, their wages went up. So now you see why these retail prices are so low; the garment workers only make about 20 cents an hour.
So, what do we do? How do we break our fixation on keeping up with the Ks as well as the latest trends that we “must” have? Well first of all, we need to start spending a bit more money on the basic pieces that need to be in everyone’s wardrobe. Yes, spending a considerable amount of money on basics can be a tough pill to swallow, but you’ll thank me in the long run. The quality of these garments will last you a lot longer than the cheap garments you used to buy. Some retailers that can make you feel better about spending your money are: Lacausa and Everlane for your basic necessities and Reformation for your fancier outfits. These three retailers are sustainable, eco-friendly and trustworthy brands.
Fast fashion needs to be a part of the past. Women’s Wear Daily polled a large amount of designers and asked them their opinion on fast fashion. Karl Lagerfeld said something that really spoke out to me, he said: “Fashion is a sport now: You have to run.” It feels like there is a constant need to keep moving, we can’t stay on one style for too long. However maybe its time to take off our running shoes, focus less on being basic, and more on our essential fashion needs.