Fighting Fast Fashion with A New Handbag?

Hello and welcome back to the blog! As summer has been quickly rolling forward, I’ve found myself adding more and more essentials to my wardrobe.  My desire to shop is sufficiently satisfied by second-hand shops, or thrift stores, which is where I found this Kenneth Cole handbag for a whopping $6 *queue jaw-drop*

In nearly mint condition, I had to add this adorable piece to my summer wardrobe.  I know for some there is a stigma attached to thrift stores; however the benefits of shopping second-hand far outweigh any stigma.  As a consumer, it is important to recognize where you stand in relationship to fast-fashion corporations to unsure you’re being a conscious consumer.  You’re vote is your dollar, so spend it wisely.

To give a little push to those who may be hesitant about shopping thrift, I made a list of 6 reasons to stop shopping fast-fashion and start shopping second-hand (and keep scrolling to see photos of the “new” handbag!):

  1. We all like saving money, right? At thrift stores you can score a $30 pair of jeans for $10; practically new shirt (sometimes with original tags still attached) for $5; and name brand active apparel for a fraction of the retail price. On your next shopping excursion compare prices and see for yourself!
  2. On the other hand, investing in your wardrobe is not the worst thing in the world! Although the sight of $27.80 heels and $8.80 leggings may look appealing in the store, it is important to think about how that item will hold up after each use and calculate the price you’re actually paying for each wear. For example, $30 jeans may sound great, but if after 3 wears and a wash they have shrunk and become faded, what is the likelihood of them being pulled out of your closet again?  It would be time to buy a new pair of jeans.  That means you’ve paid $10 dollars a wear.  Multiply that by how often you’d had to replace the jeans and you’re way over the $30 price. However, $80 jeans may look pricey at first, but even if you only wear them 10 times during the year, that cost per wear is still well under the price of buying and replacing the cheap pair of jeans.
  3. There are ethical problems with fast-fashion. This growing business exploits overseas workers.  In order for clothes to be cheap, and produced at a high value, chains want the labor to be cheap.  To learn more watch the documentary The True Cost.
  4. Chains such as Forever21 and H&M introduce new styles nearly every other week. This has led to a change in how we, as consumers, think about clothes.  Cheap clothing, although not explicitly, is not designed to last- we don’t expect it to last.  Instead of financially or emotionally investing in a piece, doing research about the item and scouring to make sure it’s right, we use cheap clothing as a “filler piece” (easy and fantastic read about fast-fashion:click here).  Consequently, this equals wasting a lot of time and money on clothes that won’t last and we probably won’t wear for an extend period of time.
  5. The environmental damages of fast fashion are outrageous. Viewing clothing as disposable has led to a huge added weight on the environment.  Donating unwanted clothing to a local thrift store is much better than straight up throwing the piece in the garbage, but it doesn’t completely clear up the problem.  Cheap clothing is often made out of inexpensive material that won’t easily decompose.  Buying clothing should be thought of in the same way as plastic bottles: we know plastic doesn’t easily decompose, we know it takes up space in landfills, and we know it’s disastrously harmful to the environment.  Well, the same principles apply plastic clothing.
  6. It’s difficult for handcraft artisans to compete against low-priced, mass produced goods.  This endangers not only the employment of artisans, but also the craft.  Searching the web for handmade pieces is insanely easy and Etsy is a great place to start your search!
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