Contributing to the Slow Fashion Movement, and in turn, taking a stance against the Fast Fashion industry is something that we can all do. Ultimately I think it's about trying to break the cycle of constant consumerism, and being more aware of how and where your hard earned dollars are being spent. However, only buying clothing from sustainable and ethical brands may be unrealistic for many people, due to cost, or availability, or any number of other factors. So I would like to propose some tips and ideas for us all to consider, so that we can start making a difference, one day at a time, one purchase at a time.
My first tip on how to contribute to the movement is to be conscious. Sounds like a bit of a no brainer, but what does it really mean? Well, it means to be more thoughtful regarding all of the purchases you make, in order to minimize frivolous or unnecessary purchases, and focus on the things that truly add value to your life. So here are some questions to ask yourself, when you’re feeling the urge to go out and buy something new:
Do I need it? This one isn’t actually as easy to answer as it sounds. Determining the difference between needs and wants can be tricky, but taking a few minutes to ponder the question can be very helpful. For example, I would say that getting a new job that requires you to wear a suit, and you don’t currently own a suit, would likely mean that you need it. Or, maybe you’ve gained or lost weight, and no longer have any jeans that fit, so that’s more of a need. One trick to determine if you need an item, is to go take a look in your closet, and see if you have any similar items. If you think you need a new pair of black pants, and yet you’ve got 17 pairs of black pants in your closet, you probably don’t need them. If thinking about what you really need results in purchasing 3 items instead of 4, you're making a difference, even if you're still making those purchases at a Fast Fashion retailer.
Will it work well with other items currently in my wardrobe, or do I need to purchase additional items to ‘make it work’? Making sure that an item will fit in with your existing wardrobe is extremely important, because I’m sure you’re all familiar with what happens when you buy something that doesn’t; it ends up sitting in the back of the closet, unworn. Even if you may love the item, if you can’t find the right pieces to pair with it, it is probably not a wise purchase. If you’re unsure if it will work, then confirm if there’s a decent return policy where you’re shopping, and take advantage of it. Take the item home, and try it with a few different outfits. If it doesn’t work, then take it back, and keep searching for something that is better suited to your wardrobe.
Will I still want it tomorrow? Sometimes when I’m really torn on whether I should buy something or not, I leave it for a day (or a week). Chances are, if you were just in the mood to buy ‘something’, then you won’t be thinking about the item the next day or week. If you are still thinking about it, then it’s probably an indicator that you truly want/need/love the item, and aren’t just trying to get the instant gratification high of buying something for the sake of it.
Bonus Tip: Try to avoid going shopping if you're just in the mood to buy 'something'. Often the urge to buy something can be related to something else, whether it's boredom, or a bad day at work, or an argument with your partner. We want that easy pleasure of something new. It's kind of like going to the convenience store when you aren't hungry; you're bound to get something you don't need, and likely isn't all that good for you. Try to retrain your mind to consider shopping an activity that is required when you truly need something, and not just an activity to pass the time.
Hopefully you’ll find some of these tips helpful to you when you’re thinking of making a purchase. And make sure to check back for Part Three of this Slow Fashion series, which will be posted next week.