Fast Fashion Fan or Just a Fanatic?
My excitement and heart rate soared with the latest announcement from Target about its fall collaboration with Altuzarra. But it got me to thinking, “Why so jacked, SGS?” My first response is togush on and on about his great designs at an affordable price. My second response is more along the line of, “Here we go again, SGS. Your appetite is insatiable.” While I hope the desire and excitement about great fashion never goes away, my rat race instinct to get it now or else the world is going to end is alarming. Am I a fast fashion fan or just a fanatic? Let me state that I have many fast fashion items in my closet that I love. Not just collaborations but everyday stores like H&M, Zara, Topshop and Forever 21. I pride myself on getting a stylish deal. I also pride myself on having quality-crafted items in my wardrobe for years and years. So it should not be a surprise that often the two statements are more mutually exclusive than the Venn diagram of closet awesomeness I was hoping for. I want to have the cake and eat it too.
So being a somewhat rational person on a self-propelled journey of enlightenment, I decided to weigh the pros and cons of fast fashion.
- Accessibility – both in price to purchase and retail locations. Not much to discuss about the price. It’s affordable for most shoppers. Moving on to location commentary, the fast fashion stores have multiple locations in most major Canadian centres and available online. For some of the collaboration collections it is an early morning mad dash to an actual store, rural fashion seekers must make a trip which can be a fun activity in itself. But if you want it, and act fast, you should be able to get or at the very least see it.
- Exposure – For many folks, they may have not heard of or, gasp, care about high fashion brand collaborations. It’s great that these people get exposed to these designers that they may not have otherwise. Or at more common fast fashion retailers, the cuts and colours are heavily influenced by what’s going on in the fashion world.
- Fun – The thrill of a piece that you love is exhilarating, intoxicating, addictive to some, maybe. For me, bringing that beautiful, affordable piece home and getting to wear it at little financial loss brings me joy. And if I don’t like it after a couple wears, no biggie, I didn’t break the bank. I can totally get down with that. But it is a natural lead into the cons.
- Voracious Consumer Appetite – Myself included; there is this notion of must-keep-up-with-the-trends-and-get-a-piece-everytime-all-the-time. It’s indulgent and exhausting. Further, likely not good in the long term. Presumably, designers and manufacturers all across the board are pressured to create more and more and faster and faster. Upon reflection, it seems so temporary and crazed to me.
- Environmental Impacts – Frenzied paced buying adds volume to wardrobes and eventually people purge only to refill again and again. In the simplest terms, it’s hard on the earth and its resources to create and destroy all this stuff repeatedly.
- Quality – Fast fashion rarely stands up to the quality, craftsmanship and fabrics of its higher fashion counterparts. There’s nothing new or shocking there. There are some exceptions of course but for the most part they don’t compare.
That said, many fast fashion retailers have more sustainable options available like H&M's Conscious Collection. On the website, one can read up on the efforts of the brand and decide if it’s cool by them. Or not.
I find that regardless of how I personally feel about it, I acknowledge and respect that others may feel different. That’s part of the beauty of shopping and style to me. It’s personal. One size does not and should not fit all. Individuals can choose how to spend their money and how informed they want to be. I say do whatever you desire, just try to be aware of the choices you make and the impacts they may have. Purchase with purpose.
For me, I’m going to try and approach it a bit more like how I approach fast food. It’s okay every once in a while but it should not be the go to everyday. And more is not always more. I am aiming more for the borrowed concept of portion control. After all, some say variety is the spice of life and in my world of shopping and fashion brands it rings true.