There is something really powerful about a killer outfit. A killer outfit will set you up for a good day, and a day from hell can be better managed when your outfit is on point.
That’s probably vain, and perhaps I need to dig a little deeper to access a more sustainable source of self-worth, but in a world where creativity and independent thinking is oppressed, the clothing you wear on your body is the ultimate form of self-expression.
I buy the vast majority of my clothes secondhand, that much is obvious. In fact I have a hard time not buying my clothes second hand due to the genuine guilt I feel if I don’t (Bar bra’s and undies thanks!)
But it can be really hard to NOT shop at fast fashion giants, with the usual suspects of course being H & M and Zara.
I am not alone in saying that when I enter an H & M (which is very rare these days), my brain enters meltdown mode. Maybe it’s the white blinding lights and the carefully placed fedoras, but everything within me is convinced that I need that paisley print jumpsuit on the size 6 mannequin, and I need it now.
One major difference between slow fashion and fast fashion is convenience. We are slaves to convenience and H & M couldn’t make it any easier. All your favourite outfits are mass produced and handed to you on a silver platter for neat a $19.95, and that my friend, is Saturday park hangs sorted, right there.
My recent and exhausting trip to H & M really cemented my desire to ‘shop with purpose’ We can’t buy everything second hand, but shopping with purpose is a very realistic way of life and your wardrobe will thank you for it!
This is what shopping with purpose means to me –
Buying good quality – You get what you pay for.
Spend generously on high quality staple items that you know will last more than one season. Items that you’re not just going to fleetingly throw away once the next fast fashion trend emerges. If you ever needed an excuse to spend more money here it is, in the long run you’ll end up with less shitty throwaway clothes, more money in your pocket and good quality clothing that you can be proud of.
Do your research – Know what your money is supporting.
Author Anna Lappe hits the nail on the head, “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” If you are going to make the decision to spend generously on your clothes, or even if you aren’t, at least know what your money is supporting. Do your research, only shop with brands that are transparent about where their clothes come from.
Ask yourself these questions –
- Does the brand pay a living wage to those who make their clothes?
- Does the brand allow for humane and safe working conditions for their workers?
- Does the brand support organic cotton farmers?
- Is the brand environmentally conscious? i.e. How do they deal with chemical waste?
- Does the brand use animal products, and if so, is it sourced ethically?
Ultimately, we all just need to stop buying shitty ass clothes and shop with purpose because there is no truer statement than Anna Lappe’s. The money you spend is your vote. Cast it into something you are proud to get behind. Demand change, demand transparency.