In my 2019 goals, I shared that I wanted to continue thrifting for second-hand items, rather than buying new. This came from a recent change I made at the end of 2018, which was quitting fast fashion. I briefly touched on this in the blog post, but I wanted to go into more details about why I quit fast fashion and share some resources to begin your journey.
I want to make it clear, that this is a very new journey to me and I’m not completely educated on the fashion industry. That’s why it is so important to do your own research and decide for yourself what your stance is. This blog post is to share my personal reasons for no longer buying fast fashion and a few views based on what I’ve learned thus far. I know that this decision is not for everyone and that’s alright. We’re all in different walks of life and need to do what best for ourselves.
Another thing I want to note is that I haven’t 100% ended buying new clothes. When it comes to undergarments, including underwear and tights, swimming suits, and some specific items, I’m still buying new. The difference now, is that I’m being very mindful with my purchases to ensure they’re items I love and will wear long term. I also use the app Good on You to help determine the best option when it comes to buying new items. Purchasing from ethical and sustainable brands is whole other blog post in itself, so I won’t go too much into that.
Finally, now that I’m buying second-hand I’m in the process of going through of decluttering my closet. Specifically, I’m decluttering what is not my style and that does not bring me joy. I’m not declutting just to get rid of clothes that I may have purchased from a fast fashion store before beginning this journey. In my opinion, that is counter productive and not helping the cause. I already own the item and so long as I love wearing them, I’m keeping them.
With that, here are the top reasons why I quit fast fashion:
To save money
The number one reason that I quit fast fashion, and why I think it was easy to do so, was to save money. Over summer, I decided to start tracking my spending down to the dollar. I did this to pay off my student loans and to start saving money for the future (good thing I did since now I’m planning a wedding). After creating an itemized budget, removing a line for new clothes was one of the first things I did.
Instead of buying new clothes I switched to thrifting, something I’ve done causally in the past. During fall, I slowly beganpicking up new pieces for the cooler months. Then over Black Friday weekend, I discovered Sarah Hawkinson’s YouTube channel. She has great thrift store hauls and videos talking about her views on fast fashion. After that, I went down the rabbit hole and wrote off fast fashion pretty much overnight.
Since quitting fast fashion I’ve saved a lot of money, and time, while still being able to enjoy clothing shopping and adding new pieces to my closet. I set myself a budget of $100 per month for second-hand clothes and accessories, which can go a long way depending on where you’re looking.
To reduce my environmental impact
Like so many others that have set fast fashion aside, I watched the documentary The True Cost which goes into many aspects of the industry, including the environmental impact. According to the documentary, the fashion industry is the second highest consumer-led pollution industry. That means, by purchasing clothing from these stores and creating a demand for the products, there is support in the pollution it’s causing to the planet. Often this references, the dye used in the fabrics and water that goes into the production of the clothing, among others.
As stated above, I had already switched to thrifting my clothes when I learned about this impact. This made it that much easier for me to quit fast fashion completely. In addition to quitting fast fashion, I’ve started being more mindful of other aspects of my life that are impacting environment. I’ve now sworn off plastic bags, single use cups from coffee shops, plastic utensils (I brought silverware and a bowl to work that I leave at my desk), and purchased reusable straws for myself and everyone in my inner circle.
I’ve known about sweat shops for years – I think most of us do. But for some reason it never clicked until learning about the fashion industry, that it isn’t something that I want to support. As I said above, I’m not the most educated on this subject and I don’t want to post inaccurate information, but I know enough to have my personal stance.
To curate my true style
I’m so much happier buying pieces I truly love second-hand than I ever was buying new from any store. My closet is slowly filling with pieces that bring joy to my life and that I always want to wear. I realized this very shortly after starting over on my thrifting journey.
After quitting fast fashion this past Black Friday, I was hitting up the thrift store almost weekly. I went through all the racks, piece by piece looking for the perfect additions for my closet. I felt so inspired by the hunt for items I truly wanted and it’s made piecing together outfits so much more exiting.
A few pieces that I love from my recent trips include:
- low top, blue Converse for $10 – Converse are not only trendy, going with casual jeans or sun dresses, but they’re great for lifting because of their flat bottoms. I can’t believe I almost bought these new a year ago. So happy with this purchase!
- cable knit sweaters – At this point, I’ve found three including one from Banana Republic and I love them all. They’re perfect for quick, cute work outfits and can even be warn in the warmer months with bralette or over a swim suit
- basic tops – I love layering. I think it’s the best to begin creating your personal style. To do this, you’re going to need basic tops, and the thrift store has a ton, in all colors and styles. I personally like loose fitting, thin tees for layering under cardigans and my denim jacket. Add a scarf and you’re done! Don’t forget to check the men’s section if you like tucking in shirts to your jeans.
- bags & purses – I only have a few purses that I use on the regular – one for work to carry my laptop, a smaller weekend purse, and simple cross body purse for going out. I’ve invested in these so I know they last for years to come. As for more simple or special occasion bags, I like to pick out pieces from the thrift store because of they’re uniqueness. For example, we’re headed to Mexico for vacation in spring, so I picked up a nautical inspired bag to carry sunscreen, snacks, and a towel to the beach. I also grabbed a fun yellow purse that will be great for going out in Mexico and summer months! The best part is that these purses and bags are usually under $4 so you can’t go wrong!
To begin your steps towards quitting fast fashion, I recommend checking out the resources below and taking the time to learn more about the industry.
- The True Cost – documentary on the fast fashion industry and its impacts
- Sarah Hawksinson – fun lifestyle and fashion YouTube channel with great thrift store hauls for inspiration
- Kristen Leo – popular sustainable, ethical fashion/lifestyle YouTube channel
- Poshmark – second-hand shopping app/website
- eBay – another great website for shopping second-hand
- Good on You – referenced above as a resources on buying new
Thank you for taking the time to read about my thoughts on fast fashion. I hope you learned something valuable and will take some time to learn about the industry’s impact.