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Ethical Fashion: Why I Stopped Buying Cheap Clothes

Ethical Fashion: Why I Stopped Buying Cheap Clothes

I know for most of us, nothing is more exciting about winter than the post-holiday clearance sales. However as a blogger and a consumer, I’ve started questioning the role shopping has taken in my life as I constantly find myself giving into endless consumerism, especially when it comes to clothing.
As much as I love fashion and its dynamic nature, something just doesn’t settle well with me when I think in terms of fast fashion and its dangerous effects on us individually and society at large.
When I say fast fashion, I refer to retailers such as H&M, Zara, Forever21, etc. These are retailers who produce and sell trendy items for relatively low prices and profit limitlessly.

It can prevent us from being hungry consumers that corporations love to target and reel in with schemes — buying ridiculously cheap product at the hands of impoverished factory workers.

That being said, it’s time for us to become conscious consumers, whether that means understanding the sly business tactics that somehow convince us that we so desperately need these seasonal items in our lives or researching the conditions in which some of these items were crafted and its effects on the lives of people who created them.
I strongly believe that being a conscious consumer is an inherent aspect of our faith, we should understand what we are putting on our bodies and the excessiveness we seem to be purchasing it in. Let’s not give into this epidemic of excessive consumerism that seems to surround us daily.
Here are some steps we can take to become conscious consumers:

1. Reflect.

We should be able to take a step back, put our credit cards down and reflect on our current wardrobe and the potential it already seems to have. When we realize how much we can stretch our closets creatively, we come to see that sometimes we really don’t need to spend exorbitant amounts of money on clothing on a monthly basis.
Often times, I find myself browsing Pinterest or Instagram getting ideas and most of the time, I realize I actually have that outfit I just scrolled past, in my closet, waiting for me to put it together.
Do a thorough cleaning and remove items you know you won’t wear and replace them with ones you definitely will wear, repeatedly.

2. Buy basics!

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We have heard this time and time again but it is certainly time to invest on some solid basics that can be mixed and matched excessively. Sometimes I find myself buying multiple colors in one style shirt that I wear excessively which works well in mixing and matching.
Instead of purchasing trendy one-time-wear clothing items, we can spruce things up with shawls, jewelry or lipstick color. Most of the time I wear the same general outfit: Plain top, plain bottoms, boots or sneakers — but with a different shawl.

3. Hold back on clearance items.

We shouldn’t give into buying items simply because they are ridiculously cheap! I know we are all guilty of doing this, don’t even front!
After blogging for quite some time, I would sometimes find extremely discounted items and simply purchase them because they were so cheap despite knowing that deep down, it would probably sit in my closet collecting cobwebs.
Of course everyone loves a good bargain — but we should be smart about what items we choose to include in our wardrobes. Hoarding clothes is not cute.

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4. Research.

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We should be researching existing brands that are conscious themselves which will then ensure us that the hands that produced our clothing was paid a fair wage, in fair conditions and ensured their rights.
There is a reason why fast fashion retailers are able to sell clothing for ridiculously low prices nowadays.
H&M comes out with yearly sustainability reports. Look for dope local brands that have clothes made with organic material and fair labor.

5. Thrift.

Thrifting is certainly not for everyone — however, I do encourage those who love to work a little for a good bargain to go browse through a thrift or second-hand shop.
Not only can we find some unique items for a great price but it can also prevent us from being those hungry consumers that corporations love to target and reel right in with schemes to buy ridiculously cheap product at the hands of impoverished factory workers.
Thrifting will push your creative limits, save you some extra bucks and prevent you from unnecessary retail consumption. If you like a hot trend, odds are, with a little bit of effort, you can find it in a thrift or second-hand store.

All in all, we know deep down we can take these baby steps in becoming conscious consumers not only for our own benefit but for society at large.
Fashion affects more than just ourselves — so let’s put a pause and simply reflect. Let’s take that saved money and treat ourselves to a night out with the girls to create memories that are far more special than perhaps an embellished blazer we see at Zara. And let’s be real, we’ll probably only wear that blazer once after posting pictures of ourselves in it on social media.

Image: Flickr

View Comments (3)
  • I absolutely love this article for sure!!! Thank you all for posting relevant articles, humorous articles, emotional pieces, but all very beneficial!!

  • My issue is that I get bored of repetivness and need something fresh and new in my closet. The issue of shopping is an even bigger issue for people who live in 4 season places like NYC- where you need a jacket for the variety of temperatures in different styles that can go with diverse outfits. For instance- i need a dressy coat for the winter/fall , a rain coat for spring, a heavy coat when its freezing and a lighter winter coat for mild winter days, a fitted jacket when I’m tired of looking frumpy, a casual jacket that goes with my gym outfits/sneakers and a leather jacket that u can wear with almost anything. When it comes to shoes you need – chic boots, rain boots, gym sneakers, fashion sneakers, special occasion shoes, winter snow boots, flats and sandals. Then to bottoms- you need jeans, boot cut pants, slim pants, gym pants, skirts etc. The list goes on and on. If you’re a hijabi its even more complicated because you have to have a hijab that will go with all of this- summer/winter hijabs, abayas, bonnets, pins, etc.

  • I’ve recently become conscious of this as well. After I read another blog that encouraged watching “The True Cost” as well as Jon Oliver’s coverage on fast fashion, I couldn’t find myself to purchase at fast fashion retailers anymore.
    I do a lot of thrifting in the sense of used or regifted items, like Poshmark and ThreadUP.
    Also, from another blogger’s review, I’ve subscribed to Le Tote. What I like about this is that in my pursuit of purchasing better quality clothing, I can wear the item for as long as I like as a rental before deciding to purchase it at a discounted price. This way, I don’t get buyer’s remorse on higher ticket (for my budget) items.

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