I used to be a Lululemon fanatic and still have a lot of their apparel in my regular rotation of clothing. Most of it came from their “we made too much” section on their website or from lucky finds at Value Village. Kellan’s sister also gave me a butt-load of pants last year that have kept me adequately clothed so I haven’t purchased anything new in awhile, mostly because their quality has gone noticeably downhill and I find a lot of their new apparel too funky and unflattering for my potato shaped body.
Lately I’ve been noticing that a lot of the clothing I eyeball at stores is not holding up to my standard of quality. I’m not one to swaddle myself in cashmere and luxury velour or anything, but if I am spending money on a new garment, it shouldn’t already feel like wet questionable paper on the rack pre-purchase.
I like to ask Google questions like a lonely old person, so I passively typed in “why are clothes so shitty these days?” and promptly tumbled down an interestingly jagged rabbit hole where you come out feeling super shitty and suspicious at the other end. I read up on fast fashion, the people who commonly make our clothes, and then how much of it gets thrown away. It’s gross, it’s not fair, and it’s incredibly disheartening.
In a nutshell, fast fashion is the now common practice of companies shucking out large amounts of subpar clothing that becomes obsolete once that particular fashion trend is over. The clothes and accessories are sold cheaply enough as a way to give the customer an excuse that it’s not really hurting them financially but in reality they are spending more to keep up with what’s popular, cute and in “season”.
THERE ARE NO SEASONS ANYMORE HOWEVER! ONLY MICRO SEASONS AND PAIN!
All those clothes being churned out also means a lot more waste. Either from unworn/unbought items being tossed because they quickly fall out of fashion, or because their quality is such shit that you go to wear them once then rip the crotch out with an impromptu sexy leg lunge and toss them out that way.
Then there’s also the matter of who is producing this massive hoard of wayward apparel. Fabric has to be made, dyed, measured, cut and sewn not to mention other embellishments like buttons and zippers. To keep things cheap for the company and affordable on the consumer’s end, this means that the work is being outsourced overseas to areas where impoverished people will gladly work horrible hours in disgusting conditions in order to feed themselves and their families. Because of the standards set by both us, the buyer, and various company’s participation in fast fashion, more of these factories are gonna pop up, nobody is receiving fair pay or treatment, and we are literally being choked to death by our own patterned leggings.
It’s not just fashion either! The rampant supply and demand of consumerism is killing us all! KILLING. US. ALL.
Anyway, I’m a pretty passive human and I don’t really get overly excited or radiate activism, but the older I get, the more certain things bother me into taking them to heart and giving a sincere nod in their direction. Choosing where and when I spend my money is an easy way cause a little ripple on the sea.
Finding alternative clothing companies that promote an ethical and sustainable business model has been easier said than done, but they do exist! I’m also going to rely more on well made basics from the thrift store and try to be mindful of what I have in my closet already.
A friend of mine (who seems to be a bottomless pit of cool ideas and INSPIRATION TO ME) recently started up a rad company in my hometown, so I am gonna drop that link and buy a goddamn shirt when I get to Lethbridge because first of all it’s all about what I want to support, secondly the designs are cool as heck, and third – which is something I really want to stress about another time is supporting the little guy, your local mom and pop store, AKA A SMALL BUSINESS.
Do you make your own clothes or upcycle stuff in cool ways? Please let me know so I can admire you!