Christmas is approaching, and if we don’t plan gifts in the form of clothing or fashion accessories, some of us will want to complement the wardrobe with Christmas Eve or New Year’s creations. This is a truly unique opportunity to get interested in the ethical aspect of your shopping and just like Saint Nicholas, Bishop Mira, take care of the needy in the simplest possible way – buying responsibly. By spending money on clothes, we can at the same time support ethical fashion and to throw the gauntlet to fashion companies that don’t care about disastrous effects of their business. But what exactly is this fast fashion?
What is fast fashion?
Fast fashion – a term coined by organizations dealing with combating social inequalities. It refers to another term describing the sales model disseminated in the 1950s by the McDonald brothers. Speaking of course about fast food bars. They gained popularity thanks to busy clients, whose service took only a fraction of the time that was necessary for this activity in traditional restaurants.
Just like in fast-food bars, also in fast fashion the idea is to accept as many customers as possible, so that they buy as often and as much as possible. Bars and clothing stores, however, are two different branches of industry. We go to bars to satisfy the physiological need, we visit clothing stores to protect ourselves against weather conditions. Theoretically.
The history of the attire goes back to times as distant as the first tribal communities. Even then, the outfit did not only fulfill a practical function, but also expressed a social status or role. It could be influenced by religion, culture, art and even politics. It expressed belonging to the group or emphasized individuality. Tens of thousands of years of conditioning, in a result of which our exterior is often regarded higher than our moral values. No wonder, that fashion has become one of the means of communication.
The problem is that this language has more dialects than we are able to know, understand and start using. Speaking about, of course, the style that draws inspiration not only from tribal ancestors, but also from pop culture, technology and customs. Clothing companies do not have an easy task. If they want to break through with their offer to the customers, they have to satisfy a wide range of their needs, and these change every season, in line with what fashion capitals catwalks present. For some reason, we let these few people at the top of the fashion ladder dictate to us what is trendy and what is passé.
Even if we realize that the unsurpassed image of beautiful and elegant billboard characters is a photomontage, it feeds our eye and our ego. In the flood of information noise, everyday routine or gray weather, this impeccably beautiful content appeals to our sense of aesthetics. That’s why we buy things that sometimes will never be worn outside the dressing room. That’s why we fall into shopaholicism, we succumb to sales mania or we increase debt on credit cards.
How to strive for a client in such a dynamic industry? How to convince him to come back, and even become a brand ambassador – so-called NPS (Net Promoter Score)?
That’s right, there is a factor that measures consumer loyalty towards a given brand in the industry. Each of our reactions to the product is evaluated so that manufacturers can adapt their services and products to our requirements even better. Because the factors determining the purchase of a given item include not only it’s quality, value or usefulness It’s also all the rest, and thus the way it will be presented, the level of service or satisfaction from associating with the brand. It makes sense, everyone likes to be treated with respect and attention, especially when shopping. Hence, it’s just one step away from manipulating and inducing us to buy products that we do not need, but ones that will make us to feel good.
Break the circle
We could endlessly demonize the garment industry, but in a closed circle of needs and corresponding offers, we are the fuel for the entire machine. Can we blame any industry for using our weaknesses to generate profit, which in turn will give work to millions of people? Should we blame ourselves for the fact that after years of pushing consumerism conceptions on us we are receptive to advertising and marketing, which is in fact a science based on a study of individual’s response to stimuli?
Or maybe it is not at all important to blame either sides? Maybe it’s not about the blame?
Conscious consumption is not just a fashion, it is foremost a methodology of getting out of a closed circle of imprinted behaviors. Ethical fashion is it’s indispensable component.
There are many factors that have led to the situation in which ethical fashion has emerged as a counterbalance to the fast garment industry, and yet this model has been the norma until recently. However in going beyond the scheme, the most important is the awareness that:
- the current model is inefficient and cruel, and there is exploitation hidden under the cover of luxury and style, one that no one should tolerate;
- there is an alternative which is equally accessible but less advertised;
- changing shopping habits can make us feel happier than ever with our choices.
This article is the beginning of a series in which we will describe all possible aspects of ethical fashion. If the topic is close to you, you want to know more, but above all, you want to learn practical tips and solutions that will help you break your habits and make responsible shoppings, be sure to subscribe to the newsletter or follow us on our social networks.
However, if you do not have enough patience or would like to start acting now, below you will find few tips prepared by the Buy Responsibly Foundation.
Buy Responsibly Foundation
And what can you do now?
- Buy second hand stores.
- Buy responsibly: take a look around, find the brands you trust and know that they treat their employees fair.
- You are not sure if the brand you have found is OK? Ask your friends, look for stores selling certified products.
- Next time you’ll search for new shoes and clothes, ask in the store where they were made. Show that you want the company to publish a list of its suppliers, and employee rights to be respected.
Also read the article „Presents for vegans, minimalists and environmentalist”