With Black Friday and Cyber Monday looming over us, fast fashion companies are already putting up sale boards while the rest of us have started to add items to our carts. Though named differently, these sales aren’t exactly a rare occasion – you’ve got your 1.1 sales, 2.2 sales, 3.3 sales, and it goes on and on. And as much as you wouldn’t like to admit it, you’ve probably bought clothes online at least once a month, if not more. With how casual fast fashion has been integrated into our lives, is it even possible to quit it at this rate?
Fast fashion is defined by mass-produced clothes that are inexpensive and follow the latest trends. The global fast fashion market grew from US$91.23 billion in 2021 to US$99.23 billion in 2022 and is even expected to grow to US$133.43 billion in the upcoming year of 2026. This is made possible through the rise in the youth population and their desire to adopt affordable yet trendy clothing. As clothes are made quickly in order to keep up with trends, companies like these don’t care about the pollution or waste that they are contributing. These clothes are also made with cheap materials and quality, which means they wear out easily. Thus, putting us in a loop of purchasing new clothes every season.
Albeit destructive to the environment, it’s not hard to understand why we’re so drawn to the fast fashion industry. Imagine scrolling through Pinterest and seeing stylish and aesthetic outfits all over your feed. Instantly you’ll think of recreating the look for your next day out but quickly realise you won’t be able to afford the Bottega Veneta bag or Valentino dress. Well, where else to look than Shein?
For a fraction of the price, you’re able to find similar-looking items on the site and with a click of a button, you’ve added it to your cart. A few clicks later and two weeks in, a parcel arrives on your doorstep. How easy – you’ve just recreated the look you saw online for a few bucks and now you’re hooked. With pop culture feeding new fashion trends every month, from e-girl to y2k, you find yourself switching out wardrobes often.
When it comes to quitting fast fashion, we personally think it takes a certain level of commitment and a whole lot of control to do so. We’ll admit that we too have given into the culture of fast fashion, frequently buying clothes according to the latest trends. But it wasn’t until recently, we adopted the ‘buy what you need, not what you want’ practice. And it has helped us reduce in our contribution to the fast fashion industry.
We also tried our very best to find clothes that are versatile and able to be styled or combined in many ways. Casual tops that we own can be paired with maxi skirts or cargo pants, or even be worn under a sleeveless dress. At the same time, long sleeve crop tops shine on their own or double up as a cardigan. Although we understand that this doesn’t completely take us out of the equation when it comes to fast fashion, we recognise that it’s a step forward.
So when it comes to quitting fast fashion, we think gradual lifestyle and mindset changes can help make it possible. For example, unsubscribing from social media influencers and learning to identify your own style can help curb cravings of shopping for new items and eventually help you stop entirely. Whether the fast fashion industry would ever see a downfall, well, that’s really up to us as consumers to decide.
Photos by Unsplash.