The short answer? Yes.
Scrolling through Instagram, we are constantly bombarded with new trends to follow, and clothes to buy. Cow print one day, groovy 70s the next. How are we meant to keep up? Even worse, is our mass consumption of clothing ruining the planet?
It’s a tough question as for a lot of us, fashion is an escape rather than something we do to follow the trends. Micro trends are pieces, styles, patterns, etc. that come into style and very quickly go out of style again. Think cow print pants, or “BBL” fashion (FashionNova, we are looking at you).
This type of clothing isn’t made in the most ethical ways, usually being sewed by people who don’t make enough money to live off, in horrible working conditions. Fast fashion is a huge problem that the human race is facing. Terrible working conditions, coupled with the astonishing carbon emissions and goods ending up in landfills, fast fashion is one of the main things killing our planet right now. So, as people who love clothing, what do we do about this?
Try shopping at thrift stores. Usually, especially if your style is more on the eclectic side, you can find some snazzy pieces here. They are usually prices really fairly as well, and don’t contribute to more fashion waste. These pieces are usually one of a kind too, since there’s not likely to be two of the exact same pieces at the same store. That being said, ignore places like Plato’s Closet. These types of consignment stores really take advantage of the people that are selling to them. $6 for a brand new pair of jeans, that they turn around and sell for $35? Of course, this is better than sweat shop clothing but it’s not the best choice.
Carve out your own style. Define how you want to look, and stick to that, whether it be 70s hippie or Y2K. Then, build a wardrobe with sustainable pieces around this vibe, which means you’ll be wearing the pieces for longer and might start a trend of your own. Micro trends are not the be all and end all, and TikTok isn’t going to become the new Vogue with them.
Donate your old clothes. So many people shop at thrift stores, and there’s something for everyone. When you’re going in to check out the new stuff, take some of your old stuff in! Avoid donating anything ripped, faded, or stained though. A closet clean out every month is really useful for this. (I’m going to look the other way because I haven’t cleaned out my closet in forever)
The backwards hangers hack. Hang everything in your closet with the hangers going one way. When you take that piece down to wear it, flip the hanger the other way when you put it away. This shows you what you’ve been wearing the most, and what can be donated. This is also a great way to develop your personal style. See what you’re reaching for the most and how it makes you feel.
When you can, and budget allows, choose high quality pieces over the cheaper ones. This *usually* means that they’ll last longer and you’ll have to replace them less frequently, which lets you wear them more often and have less go to landfill.