Why I'm Keeping my Fast Fashion Clothes | Cropped Tee and Checked Midi Skirt
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes
Top: H&M (old, similar here) || Bottoms: ASOS || Accessories: Angela Roi Eleanor bag, Kate Spade necklace || Shoes: Zara (old, similar here)
Almost everything I’m wearing in this outfit post is fast fashion.
You may be surprised to read that, considering my commitment to sustainability this year (and the end of last year) but it’s true - I’ve kept a lot of my Forever 21, H&M, ASOS, and Zara pieces and until they completely become unwearable, I plan on keeping them, though I don’t intend on purchasing from them ever again. It may sound odd that someone with a sustainable wardrobe mission would have this attitude toward brands that represent the opposite of this but allow me to explain.
Currently, my closet consists of about 70% fast fashion or unethically/unsustainably produced clothing. I made an honest attempt to rectify this and someday I do hope to have a 100% sustainable wardrobe but for now, this is where my closet stands. How did it get this way, you may ask? Well, when I was fresh out of college, I was really into fashion but had the budget of, well, a recent college grad. Fast fashion was my gateway drug into blogging. First, I just wanted to have pictures of me wearing a cute outfit. Pretty soon, I was buying clothes just to wear on the blog, and since that became an expensive hobby, I started buying almost exclusively from places like Forever 21 and H&M. If you go back to the early days of this blog, almost everything I wore was fast fashion. It got a bit better as I got older though. Thanks to getting raises and promotions, I was able to buy better quality pieces but I still had a lot of fast fashion pieces, and now I had the money to buy from slightly more expensive fast fashion stores like Zara, ASOS, and J.Crew. Last year, I started reading more about the impact fast fashion has had on not just the environment but on the global market. Fast fashion is inherently exploitative and I didn’t want to be a part of it. I started purchasing far fewer clothing and if I did buy clothes, they were second hand or made from a sustainable/ethical brand. Yet, that only brought my closet to where it is today - only about 30% sustainable brands and 70% fast-fashion.
Why I’m not evicting fast fashion from my closet…yet
At this point, if I were to take every single piece of clothing that was from Forever 21, H&M, ASOS, and the like, and throw them away, or even donate them to charity (who would, inevitably throw them away), I’d honestly be doing more harm to the environment than I did already purchasing those clothes. Most of those pieces are made from synthetic or plastic fibers which take hundreds of years to decompose. Just because my cropped tee has “H&M” on the label, doesn’t mean it stops being completely useful to me. I still like the tee, and I obviously still wear it so until its usefulness drops to 0, throwing it out would be the epitome of wasteful. I realize that quitting fast fashion is difficult (believe me, I know), but buying clothing with the mentality that it’s all “disposable” is equally as harmful as it is purchasing from the company that promotes that message in the first place. If you have already made a lot of fast fashion purchases like I did, treasure them. Learn to take good care of them and make them last longer than they’re “supposed” to. Before fast fashion existed, most people had very few clothing but each piece was meant to last and was well taken care of because it was expensive to purchase more. If everyone treated clothing like it wasn’t expendable and there wasn’t an abundance of alternative options, we would get a lot more out of our clothing. It would even be more cost-effective too. Buying $7 tops over again because they weren’t well-cared for will add up.