Fast Fashion: I Bought [into] It

Oh sheyat, what have I done!?! I just finished watching, “The True Cost” on Netflix. Go ahead, check it out. In fact, I think it’s so important you watch it that I encourage you
to leave this post and see it … right now. Just don’t forget to come back afterwards to read the rest of this exposé on me.

1 hour and 32 minutes later

 So, if you’ve ever wondered why it looks like I’m wearing something different each time you see me (over the course of let’s say – the past 6 years!), it’s probably because I am. Since 2009, I’ve been particularly addicted to finding good deals on fashion items from hair to feet. I’d come home with bags upon bags (and even bags inside of bags) feeling so proud of my ah-mazing finds. Seriously, any time I’d feel down, upset, confused, overwhelmed, or even happy, I’d float on over to the nearest shopping center and prowl around for an ‘Ikea start the car!’ kind of deal. The best part was organizing all of the goodies on hangers or in special containers when I got home. I felt uplifted … encouraged … in control. This of course, has lead to an exhaustive collection of everything (ahem, hoarding, maybe?).

Fortunately, I live in a pretty spacious 3+ storey home, so storing all of these items has been somewhat manageable – though honestly, it often seems that what I have isn’t enough and thoughts of, “I wish I had another closet in addition to the 4 I already use … or more storage space would be nice” has crossed my mind on many occasions. Trust me, it’s an excess of everything. Just look at the below infographic. It’s only an inventory of some of my stuff and doesn’t even include things like bracelets, sweatpants, shorts, bathing suits, blazers, and purses to name a few. But, I’m sure you get the picture. A week ago someone asked to borrow a blue scarf from me. So, I scurried off and very happily returned back with 4 in hand. The response was, “why do you have so many blue scarves?” I shrugged it off and continued on with my day. Two days later, my mom asked to borrow black nail polish. Of course I brought her 3 bottles and of course the same question came about … why so many of the same thing. Again I shrugged it off and reasoned that they aren’t the exact same. One was jet black, one had sparkles, and one promised to dry in 60 seconds, duh!

Honestly though, as I begin preparing for my upcoming wedding and thinking about moving from my house (3 storeys, remember!) to my fiancé’s 1 bedroom condo, I’ve time and time again been overcome with anxiety. Someone find me a paper bag! Merely a kind suggestion by him that we’ll both need to reduce the volume makes my eyes well up. I’ve stored up all of these little “treasures” that I’ve worked hard to get over these years – how can I relinquish any of them?! When this topic comes up, things I haven’t used in years (or ever) suddenly become ‘favourites’ and I quickly put them into wardrobe schedule for this week so as to say, “see, I use this!!”

Little did I know that all of this thinking and questioning was just a preamble to the ‘slap’ … like, I mean serious wake up call … I’d get while watching The True Cost documentary. Fast fashion. I’ve been a sucker sold to this concept for so long without even knowing it. Not withstanding the issue of too much stuff and not enough space, there’s another more serious problem at hand. There’s no telling what the human and environmental cost is of each piece of clothing, shoes, and jewellery I so tightly hold on to. The words of Shima Akhter, a Bangladeshi clothing factory worker, who was interviewed in the documentary echo in my mind.

With all the hard labour we make clothing. And that’s what people wear. People have no idea how difficult it is for us to make clothing. They only buy it and wear it. I believe these clothes are produced by our blood.

– Shima Akhter

Suddenly, I’m not so proud of my collections. Don’t let the nice graphics and colours in the infographic fool you – this is embarrassing. But now what? Well, small steps but steps, none-the-less, in a better direction hopefully. I’m going to document my actionables here and I hope that you will check up on me and help to keep me accountable. It isn’t a perfect plan but I need to start somewhere.

First Step: Reduce

Remember, the documentary explains that giving clothes away to charities isn’t always better. A few months before I move out I’m going to go through all of my clothes and accessories. Anything that no longer suits my taste or fits  I will put in a box and give away to family and friends in need. Trust me, there are more people than you think who are in your social circles that are in need of clothing. Any leftover items I’m going to bring to Scott Mission because I’ve personally seen how well they use donations.

Second Step: Stop

Like the vlogger at 36:51 says, “I need to stop!” I won’t ever be able to fully make use of the stuff I have if I keep adding to it. So, *gulp* this is the more challenging of the steps but I’d like to make a pledge that from now until October 1, 2016 I will not be purchasing any clothing, shoes, or accessories for myself that aren’t related to my wedding or that aren’t necessary (I’m sure a few undergarments will need to be replaced). 

Third Step: Think

The next time I’m tempted to get ‘just one more thing’ I want to remember what I learned in the documentary. Hopefully I’ll return back to it from time-to-time to keep the gruesome facts at the forefront of my mind. I also want to be transparent with you, my beloved followers, so you can expect to see updates from me including stories of my temptations. I hope that I can also get some of your encouragement along the way. I know I’m going to need it. In October of next year we can think through the next plan together.

So, what do you say? Are you willing to take this journey with me?


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2 thoughts on “Fast Fashion: I Bought [into] It

  1. Way to go! Good on ya for making that commitment to stop. I haven’t watched the doc, but will soon. I’m sad to admit I’ve chosen (or feigned) ignorance for the bliss of purchasing far more than I should have. When I really ask myself what I know, I’ve known for a long time that my sweet deals finds weren’t without cost. Lately, almost all of my clothing consumption has been second hand –and I’m really enjoying it! Admittedly, this has been more budget than conscience induced. But this post has re-inspired, or reminded me to stop feeding the materialism monster inside me, so thank you! Also, you’ll find that purging the closet down to what will actually be worn, and then using creativity to rework and fully wear those pieces you already have, can be super fun and freeing! At least, that’s what I’ve found.

    Oh, and really great infographic!

    1. Hello mamajaneinthecity, thanks for stopping by and taking a read. When you get the chance to watch the documentary please do. It’s incredibly powerful.

      You’re awesome for being so honest. I think we all need to be really honest about this stuff. I knew about the disaster that took place in the Joe Fresh factory in Dakha. But I was unmoved … perhaps because I was so far removed. Sure, maybe I subconsciously avoided Joe Fresh for a few weeks, but once the news was bombarded with other things, Dakha was out of sight, out of mind. That’s a pretty sad reality.

      Thankfully, since publishing this post, I haven’t had any urges. But I suspect the main source of my commitment might be that I’m not working right now. I wonder how I’ll do when I start making money. Hopefully, in this time I’ll build up some strength to resist.

      I love your tips. Thanks for sharing them. I’m going to try little things at first. I’ve already started making a small pile of things that I’ll try to sell at a garage sale before I move out. We’ll see how it goes …

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