By Courtney Jones
My journey into slow fashion started almost two years ago. I got the push after I got my first purchase from Krochet Kids. Never before had a company told me who was making my clothes. This made a lasting impression on me, as many of you can tell, and started me on a slow and continuing road to buy and support slow fashion companies.
In grade school I was your average teen who was very concerned about wearing brand names and keeping up with the trends. As I got older, I started trying to find my own style outside of the brand names. My mom and I were huge Kohl’s shoppers and nothing made me happier than leaving the store with a great deal. One time I got five pairs of earrings for $20 and I told every single person I saw about it. Then Krochet Kids entered my life and I began learning what slow fashion was, and finding other brands doing similar things. I was excited about these brands but it didn’t stop my Kohl’s shopping. It has only been this past year that I started becoming more conscious of where I shop, but I still slip up. Just last week I ordered a bathing suit and bralettes from AE. These were things I had needed for a while and kept putting off, and items that I struggled to find ethically that didn’t break the bank. I’m not trying to justify my actions, I’m merely trying to show that there will be times that buying fast fashion is easier and we shouldn’t feel guilty.
It is not realistic to completely wipe fast fashion from your life. No one should be throwing out their closets and replacing it with slow fashion pieces. Not only does that take some serious cash, but you are also just wasting the clothes you already have. If fast fashion is all you can afford (although I am a big supporter of money shouldn’t be a factor. And yes I recognize that I just told you I made a purchase because I didn’t want to spend a lot, I’m not perfect and I’m still learning) ask yourself this, “Will I wear this 30 times?” If the answer is yes, and you can’t find an ethical company who sells a similar item, go for it. Pivoting one’s life to slow fashion is a gradual change, and one that will include educating yourself, saying goodbye to brands you once loved, and shopping less.
Here are some tips for how to help yourself buy more slow fashion that has helped me in the past.
- Don’t go out shopping if you don’t have to. I hate typing this as much as you hate reading that. But it is the most simple solution to avoiding fast fashion.
- Avoid doing online shopping as well. We all know this can turn into a deep dark hole fast. So if you want to be online looking at clothes, look at slow fashion brands. Keep track of ones that have styles you like. Shameless plug: check out our tab of slow fashion companies to help you find your new favorite brand. We try to add new brands every month.
- Obviously you’re going to need items, or get the urge to shop, so check out your local thrift shops. If you need a good bargain shopping trip, this is the route for you my friend.
- Tell your friends or mom or whoever you shop with, that you don’t want to go into large fast fashion retailers, or stores that will give you too much temptation. Use them to keep yourself in check. The other day I showed my mom a pair of jeans for the sole purpose for her to give me the wrinkled nose so I wouldn’t be tempted to buy them.
- Try to enjoy the shopping trip with friends and help them pick out outfits, but avoid trying on too much yourself. Just like in Say Yes To The Dress when they tell the bride not to put on something over her budget, don’t put things on your body that you know you are going to want to buy.
- Save up money for items that you really need/want. This is a lot easier said than done and something I struggle with, but it’s important and at the end of the day you get more bang for your buck when you shop slow.
- In our world today which is very political, fashion is an outlet to support what you believe in. Buy from companies working with the homeless, empowering women, or giving back to the environment. Whatever social issue you hold dear to your heart, there is a good chance there’s a fashion company out there who shares the same value.
- Remind yourself what is really behind that fast fashion item. Is the item worth buying if it will negatively impact its workers and environment?
- Take a look in the closet and be real with yourself, do you really need anything?
- Finally, buying slow fashion is fun! Each piece comes with an awesome story of how it was made, and feel free to shout about it from the rooftops. Much like I couldn’t shut up about my $20 earring deal, I now can’t stop talking about the ethical pieces I own. I take pride in them, and I feel better wearing them.
And who says wearing slow fashion can’t be super cute? Here’s some of my favorite slow pieces. Striped shirt from Krochet Kids, Denim jumper from ASOS but bought from a thrift store, Pink shirt from Thread Co.
My slow fashion journey has been a short and gradual one so far. It’s gone a little something like this: recognizing my power in buying clothes, educating myself more about this idea, waning myself off fast fashion, having some slips, feeling guilty, educating more, being real with myself and realizing I have plenty of clothes in my closet, searching for slow fashion brands, making another slip, forgiving myself, educating myself more, and continuing to strive to buy slow.
If you are someone who has made a conscious effort to buy only slow fashion, I wish you little temptation. If you are someone who is new to this thing called slow fashion and is ready to make a change, I encourage you to educate yourself. This road will be tough, and it will be full of slip-ups but that’s life and it’s nothing that should stop you. So best of luck to all you slow fashion shoppers, you’re going to change the world!