I am very much aware that the amount of fashion content I have been producing for you guys lately has been limited. Actually other than the Box of Style reviews (catch up on summer and fall/winter in case you missed them), there haven’t been any fashion related posts. That can be attributed to a new stance that I have taken.
This may seem like the end of the world to some of you FF lovers, but honestly the outcome is a positive one. An ethical wardrobe full of fewer, better things.
In my re-brand post I mentioned the two main reasons for the lack of fashion on a blog that started as a fashion only account.
The body image one is a lame excuse because obviously I am still shopping to some degree and have plenty of advice that I could be providing.
The ethical fashion piece is legit. There are a healthy number of brands that produce ethical goods but most of them are small companies with limited product selection. So finding things that are my style and my budget has proven to be difficult.
My internet buddy Nicole aka Queen SCB turned me on to The Fashion Law, who talks frequently on her blog about the issues with Fast Fashion. As a result of reading TFL and doing additional research, I officially decided that my Fast Fashion days were behind me.
Most of these fast fashion companies (think Forever21, NastyGal, Zara, etc.) produce their clothing in factories that are seriously dangerous and not providing employees with adequate wages. I am not going to get into it in this post, but there is plenty of research out there on this that I am happy to share. If interested, here is a great place to start.
These companies are also notorious for copying the original designs that walked down the runway months earlier. Which frankly, most consumers see as a plus because who doesn’t want designer looks for less? But straight up knocking off exact designs is theft. Like that time NastyGal posted on Insta that TSwift was wearing their jumpsuit to the Billboard Music Awards but… whoops it was actually Balmain.
Safe to say it crosses the line from “inspired by” to piracy when even the FastFash co can’t tell their designs apart from the real thing.
My digging into the impact of fashion on the environment actually stemmed out of my research into the meat and dairy industry. Over the past year I have been vegetarian, vegan, vegetarian and now trying to move back to vegan (turns out breaking a cheese addiction is v. difficult – I will go more into my dietary decisions in a different post).
As I was looking into how this might only effect my diet but also my fashion choices, I learned that the fashion industry has a huge impact on the environment far beyond anything relating to leather and fur. Again not going to go deep into this, but The Reformation is actually a great resource with has a ton of info on the impact of fashion, so it is a nice starting point (plus you can shop after).
I can’t un-know everything that I have learned and I wouldn’t want to. As an active shopper and someone who is using their digital presence to promote fashion that I love, I believe that I have a responsibility to only support brands that hold themselves accountable for the impact that they have on the world around them. I am so sick of seeing influencers, celebrities, fashion magazines and the media promoting fast fashion. At the very least, a warning label should be required.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still a believer in high-low shopping and style without breaking the bank. Often that means fewer, better things. But dressing fashionably without maxing out your credit card should not come at the expense of factory workers, design integrity or the environment. And it doesn’t have to.
Now not every brand will meet my criteria – humane, original designs and environmentally sound. At a bare minimum I will only be looking at brands that protect human rights. That is non-negotiable for me. I have found that such brands value their integrity, so typically they also don’t have any issues with design piracy. Environmental impact is still important and I will continue to seek out brands that are actively working to make a positive impact in this area. But at the end of the day I would chose a brand with ethical factories and unique designs over someone like H&M who now offers recycling initiatives but ignores the rest.
“WE BELIEVE IN STYLE OVER TRENDS, IN QUALITY OVER QUANTITY, IN LOVING YOUR CLOSET. WE BELIEVE THAT FEWER, BETTER THINGS LEAD TO A FULLER, BETTER LIFE.” YES. THIS.
I plan on posting more about ethical brands I love (including deep dives into the ones listed above) and the best tips for shopping ethically, but LMK if you want me to go into more detail on the impacts of Fast Fashion. I am happy to have additional conversations and share more research!
P.S. do you know what song inspired the title of this post? Hint: it was in the movie inspired by my life