Fashion is an ever-changing industry.
Trends come and go rapidly. What was popular yesterday will quickly fade, replaced by some new fashion statement that catches fire and engulfs everything.
While this is exciting and fun, it also leaves many people with closets full of outdated clothes. They wind up having out of fashion items that they don’t want to wear anymore.
There’s a simple solution to this problem. You can easily just dump the clothes in the dumpster, or better yet, donate them or sell them to a second-hand store.
But there’s a second, more insidious issue that fashion trends can bring. They can leave you with a closet full of expensive clothes that you no longer want.
Depending on the quality and type of clothing, this can mean you have thousands of dollars sitting in your closet that you’ve hardly worn.
You can spend tons of money trying to keep up with trends, only to have the trends pass and your finances shot.
Brands are aware of this and have stepped in to try to solve the problem. Enter fast fashion.
What is Fast Fashion?
Fast fashion brands are brands that are designed to keep you on-trend without having to spend insane amounts of money.
These brands sell extremely trendy clothes. They constantly release new items, creating pieces that capitalize on the fast-moving nature of the fashion industry.
The items are very cheap. They are designed to make you look trendy, but they aren’t meant to last.
This is because the brands know these extremely short-lived trends won’t be in style shortly after they create the clothing. They know you aren’t going to want to wear the pieces ten years down the road.
As a result, they focus on making the product as cheaply as possible so you can buy new clothes as frequently as you need to to keep up with trends.
Should You Buy from Fast Fashion Brands?
Many people love fast fashion brands. They love the freedom of self-expression they gain from being able to change their look every month.
They also love the affordability. Fast fashion makes some of the cheapest clothing around, making it feel like you’re saving money each time you buy from them.
But the reality is, fast fashion is rarely worth the money. These brands make a profit by constantly encouraging you to buy new clothes.
Even if the clothes are cheap, buying new clothes every week is a bad financial move. These little purchases add up quickly.
What’s worse, the fact that these purchases are so small often means people don’t account for them.
If you buy a 200-dollar coat, you’ll probably be pretty aware of your spending to try to compensate. But that same 200 dollars spread over 7 different purchases may not feel significant enough to warrant adjustment.
Perhaps more importantly though, fast fashion is terrible for workers and for the environment.
Fast fashion brands rank quite low on ESG compliance. They use tons of resources in the constant production of clothing, meaning they are quite harmful to the environment.
They also tend to use the cheapest labor possible to save money. This means they often cut ethical corners to save money, harming workers and exploiting people to make a profit.
They cover this up with branding. Small business branding tends to be quite honest, but big fast fashion businesses brand themselves as trendy and fun while ignoring the problematic underpinnings of their operations.
For these reasons, it’s almost never worth it to buy from fast fashion brands.
What to Do Instead
If you want to stay on-trend while saving money, there’s a much better way.
Thrifting and buying second-hand can provide the same benefits as fast fashion without the downsides.
Thrifted clothes are often older, meaning they fit in with the revolving retro trends.
They’re also very cheap, meaning you can afford to buy new clothes frequently.
But unlike fast fashion, these clothes don’t require unethical labor, and since they already exist, they don’t require any additional resources.
If you want to keep up with the breakneck pace of fashion on a budget, turn to the thrift store, not to fast fashion brands.