You walk into a restaurant that makes mediocre burgers and super salty chips that magically appear in minutes. What do you call it?
Fast food, right?
Not fast gastro. Not fast Michelin-star-cuisine.
So why don’t we call fast fashion, fast clothing?
You might think this is all semantics, but when we saw a post about this the other day, it really got us thinking…
Fast Fashion or Fast Clothing: Call It How It Is
“Don’t call it ‘fast fashion’, call it ‘fast clothing’”, says Nanna Sanom, Director at Splendid Stitches.
So does it really matter what we call something?
Yes, it’s why the biggest companies spend eye-watering budget's on marketing their products where every word on a billboard, TV screen, Facebook advert or even a podcast is carefully selected to maximise our desire for something.
When you think of ‘fashion’ how does it make you feel?
“The word ‘fashion’ instantly conjures up glamorous aspirations of luxury, beauty and quality. So what a stroke of genius it was by Zara to coin the term ‘fast fashion’ and thereby instantly trick the end consumer into thinking they are buying into something desirable, glamorous and exclusive and also to legitimise their speedily mass-produced de-spec’ed copies of actual fashion designers creations” says Nanna.
Does fast clothing go far enough? Do we need something like "horribly fast fashion"?
After all, we all know the dangers and vices of fast food, yet we still find it convenient and tasty as a one-off treat.
We want something fashionable, fast, right?
But perhaps calling fast fashion fast clothing is a way to at least deter people and make them think before they splurge on another fashion haul.
Fast Clothing: How Do We Make Fast Fashion Alternatives More Attractive?
Buy less, buy better
Call it fast clothing, call it exploitative clothing, call it how it is. We still are left with the issue that fast fashion is so alluring. It’s super cheap, with thousands of new styles available everyday to choose from.
So how do sustainable fashion brands compete? Well, in a way, it’s about NOT competing. The whole reason why fast fashion is bad is because the whole process of making and selling the garments is unsustainable for people and planet.
We’re always taken back to Patagonia’s don’t buy this jacket ad. Patagonia are a well-loved brand for all things outdoor clothing. So the last thing you’d perhaps expect to see in your newspaper is an ad telling you NOT to buy their product. Instead they asked readers to reduce, repair, reuse, recycle.
Patagonia are now reinvesting any surplus profits into a charitable fund to fight climate change.
It’s about creating much fewer, quality items that people can wear and pass on for generations.
Buy Second Hand Clothes
When clothes are built to last, then clothes can be passed on. But that only works when we all take part in this circular economy of shared fashion.
Got clothes in your wardrobe that never wear? Then move them on!
Similarly, when you need to buy some new clothes, are you looking on Depop, Vinted, eBay first?
The more people take part in embracing preloved fashion, the more we can share and move around quality clothes. Especially if these clothes are made to a better standard in the first place.
The problem with super cheap fast fashion is that there isn’t much value to reselling them. If you buy a £5 fast fashion shirt, then after a year of wearing it, it would have lost most of that value. You might try to sell it on Vinted, but honestly it is flooded even with £1 items that don’t shift. So they end up swamping charity shops, textile recycling banks, ending up in landfills or choking up second hand markets abroad.
Hold fast fashion brands accountable
Warm up those typing fingers or get your inkpot at the ready. Part of holding brands accountable is about asking them to change. You can do that from the comfort of your home by writing to those brands directly.
You could even just leave comments on their social media pages, or write a Twitter thread and tag them in.
Once a day, I think to myself “if folks put 1/3rd of the rage they put into arguing on social media about why they won’t change their shopping habits into yelling at corporations, we could change this landscape overnight.— Aja Barber (@AjaSaysHello) December 15, 2022
Keep Sustainable Fashion Affordable
One of the main reasons that anyone buys fast fashion is because it is so affordable. And for sustainable fashion, it’s the price that puts people off.
While brand new sustainable fashion is becoming more affordable it is still out of reach for many people.
What about second hand fashion? It really depends on where you shop and what you look for. After all, there are some jaw-dropping prices for preloved designer goods on Vestiaire Collective. Not to mention the price that some “vintage” streetwear goes for.
Yet you can also walk into a charity shop and find an absolute bargain that lasts you forever.
We feel it is important to keep the cost of preloved clothing fair and affordable. Everyone should be able to find quality second hand clothing on their local high street or online.
So long Fast Fashion. So long Fast Clothing. It’s time to slow down, wear things again and again and then keep them moving so we can all enjoy affordable quality fashion.
Not quite ready to start your second hand fashion journey?