The real cost of fast fashion

  • Opinion
  • June 11, 2015
  • Rose Hope
The real cost of fast fashion

I am loving #theconsciousdresser conversation that has been discussed as of late. For me, this is such an important conversation, and one that I have been passionate about sharing for a while now.

For those that are interested, my #consciousconsumer and #styleandsubstance story started with a news article I read around 18 months ago. It brought me to tears, and I just had to screenshot it as a reminder.

This handmade label sewn into a cheap dress was asking for help. The message wasn’t about no/poor pay, child labour, (though, no doubt those are massive issues), but about the **amount** of work.

When I’m buying for the store, I am seeing racks upon racks of secondhand Glassons, Supre, Cotton On, The Warehouse etc, and it is actually scary. Not only for the workers, but also for our generation. As epic as that sounds.

I wanna know; who among us has like a casual $49 or whatever to throw around on something you’re not sure about? I know I sure don’t! Some of these items were in their respective shops a month prior, some even still have their tags on!

Also, have you ever seen SaveMart Napier? They have an even bigger warehouse with hay-bails of compacted clothes stacked to the roof with extra clothing. What is going to happen in 20 years as fast fashion continues? The amount of pollution and waste is literally going to consume us. And, I tell you what, cut outs and mullet dresses aren’t gonna make a come back any time soon, so it rules out their re-purchasing.

And, I know it is possible that the people who purchase fast fashion are people who don’t have direct access or time to achieving a ‘personal style’ which it is good for, buuuut I gotta say, I see hundreds of girls each week that come through my store for affordable vintage, who dress absolutely amazingly in a combination of both vintage and designer clothing. If you think about it, the money equals out, and those who buy either second hand, hand make, or buy NZ made, aren’t contributing to a problem uncontrollable in its masses.

Now, I’m not perfect, and I struggle with essentials like undies and socks, and I need to find an ethical place who produces these. But what I am proud to say is that I am constantly assessing my motives with each purchasing decision.

I want to encourage all of my beautiful friends to think about the larger consequence of fast fashion. To enjoy taking time shopping to choose items that could be worth a bit more, but will be thrashed season after season. To essentially have a more long term view on what clothes us.

Hope and her business partner Sarah Firmston held a clothes swap on May 20 at the Pitt Street Methodist Church. Hope estimates that more than 3600 items were exchanged by the 450 people who attended. The dollar-entry event also raised money for those affected by the earthquake in Nepal. The next clothes swap will take place on September 23.

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