Why is it so hard to breakup with Fast Fashion?
Fast Fashion is like a toxic relationship, you just have to get out of it
It is difficult to deny, that while many of us acknowledge global warming as a serious global issue, we still find the ecologically destructive fast fashion industry attractive and accessible. It appeals to our needs - low cost, momentarily functional; and to our desires - trendy, Instagram-worthy. But it creates bigger problems not directly experienced by us, and we conveniently dissociate from that reality.
We face a constant barrage of media from clever and creative sources dictating how we should dress to be perceived by society. Huge billboards and targeted adverts draw our attention to fragments of memory implanted into our minds by the very media we see. Advertising is really no different from propaganda and brainwashing. It shapes our thinking, influences us and eventually affects the choices we make when we consistently submerge ourselves in this alluring, seductive world of fashion.
Beyond media, data analytics and algorithms have also made it even easier for fast fashion to penetrate into our psyche. We've unknowingly given companies access to how we think, and our purchasing patterns, allowing them to scour through our browser histories to "create a more customized experience for us", manipulating our human tendencies for over-consumption and selling us more things we thought we needed. Ad blockers are never enough, we need built in ones in our brains.
There's a saying that goes "you're the average of the five people around you". Most people don't want to admit to it for fear of being seen as similar to other people. But the reality is that influence happens whether we like it or not, and and most of the time its invisible and people are unaware if its presence. But as much as we could surround ourselves with the 5 friends we want to be like, social media bulldozes its way into our lives, creating a phenomena called micro-influencing. If you could reach out to millions of followers with their eyes glued screens, in search for readily available content and entertainment (because somehow we like to stick our noses into other people's lives), why wouldn't you do it? Companies caught on to this and use these influencers for marketing everything under the sun, and being an influencer is now just like being the most popular kid in school, but with a wider online audience.
Now everyone wants to be the influencer, to work with the brands, dress like them, live like them, because you deserve it all. This seems so attainable but in reality, did we really need all this excess? What are we self-glorifying and "influencing" for? Brands benefit, and fast fashion is fueled with a daily renewed stream of shoppers following the latest trends on Instagram.
All these new advanced methods to improve advertising are only engines to drive the message further and faster. But the reason why advertising is so successful is because it ties the consumption of a product with the message that your needs will be satisfied if you have it. This message that consumption can solve problems in your lives is particularly dangerous because nothing really gets solved, and we eventually end up living poorer by spending money we don't have on things we don't need. Fast fashion in particular has really ballooned out of proportion because it's priced so low, that people treat it as a perishable product that can be simply disposed after use, resulting in devastating ecological and social consequences and further fueling this destructive fast fashion monster.
Fast fashion only exists because the consumers demand it. With changes in attitudes and shifts in the demand away from these products, we can personally be involved in trying to negate the effects of the fast fashion industry. There are many many fair trade and sustainably sourced clothing options which will add real value to your life by being long-lasting and safe to wear. These benefits to the communities making the product, the environmental protection and consumer health should be important considerations when purchasing fashionable wear, because looking good just for a moment is not worth it anymore.
I'll be showcasing environmentally conscious and sustainable brands in my future posts, stay turned and follow @Curiously.Green on instagram for updates!