The Trouble With Fast Fashion
With Black Friday fast approaching, I've started thinking about the effects of Fast Fashion on not only the economy but also the Fashion Industry in general. Not to mention the effects that Fast Fashion has on the environment but that's another topic. Fast Fashion is responsible for vast amounts of waste and major pollution.“Fast Fashion” refers to fashion that is produced very quickly in order to get new trends to the market as quickly and cheaply as possible. What used to be four distinct seasons in retail has now turned into a new collection or look every week instead. It also exploits the workers in the industry. Fast Fashion is just like its counterpart Fast Food; fast, cheap, and really bad for us.
Every year it seems like Black Friday sales start earlier and earlier with companies advertising their sales the week before even. I realize that companies are trying to compete for sales in a crowded online world and in the malls so they do whatever they can to start earlier than their competitors but its getting ridiculous. This year the Halloween aisle seemed to disappear before October even started and then was taken over by the major money making holiday, Christmas, instead. To be honest, I just don't like the whole season of Christmas. Too many years of crappy retail jobs killed whatever joy I once had for the season. Too many angry customers complaining about having to shop for things they don't want or need. I always felt that Christmas was just too commercial and stressful. I dreaded it every year. Bah Humbug!
Now that I have my own business, its still difficult for me to get in the spirit. I know I should be excited and doing lots of shows this time of year but I didn't sign up for a single one! Halloween came and went so fast this year that I felt the post holiday blues really strongly. I wish I had gotten out to more events. But enough about that!
Lets talk about Fast Fashion now. Recently I took my Hubby to the mall to pick out a few new suits. While we were there, I checked out a few stores to see if there was anything I might like to buy for myself. I remembered that in the past, Fall and Holiday seasons were the best shopping for gothic dresses. Holiday season is usually full of lace and velvet dresses.You could shop nice gothic looks at the mainstream stores easily. However, I was really disappointed in what I found this year! The quality of clothing has gotten so poor that I didn't find anything worth buying, which is really rare for me! I love to shop! The velvet dresses were cheap and too short or the lace was just crappy fabric and plain. I left the mall empty handed. My Hubby did very well though.
I then found myself at a few local vintage and thrift shops. I found multiple items that were perfect for me. Good quality pieces and good prices as well. Now thats the type of clothing I was looking for! And by the way these stores don't accept fast fashion for resale because the quality is too poor. What does that say about the products at stores like H&M or Forever 21? Basically Fast Fashion stores had taken over my local mall. There aren't even any middle of the road type of stores. It seems to be either cheap mass produced crap or expensive over priced brand names and nothing in between. The Department Stores are almost gone too. Sears used to have a brand called Jessica that was decent quality and cute velvet dresses around Christmas. It went bankrupt this year. I saw that some bloggers were talking about Zara and Asos online, so I checked them out too. Boring! So my question is where does this leave the fashion industry? Is true fashion dead?
Now lets talk about Gothic Fashion. Once upon a time you had to either make your own goth clothes or thrift them and alter them. There were a few mainstream stores that had decent stuff to alter or add accessories to and dress up. You could buy nice velvet dresses and lacey pretty tops every year. Or if you were lucky a nice velvet dress from an upscale department store. Then along came the equivalent to Fast Fashion in the gothic world, Killstar. It isn't even that cheap but it seems to have taken over gothic fashion world as the brand to buy. That makes me just want to run the other way to be honest. I have ordered a few items from them and the quality is decent but not great. Sure they are cute but every other goth girl thinks so too. So what I'm seeing now is that instagram is full of Killstar clones. A sad state of affairs! And even sadder still is that the handmade clothing brands that were once so popular are starting to disappear one by one. They just can't compete with the fast fashion brands.
All of this makes me think that the future of retail is going to be very different. Vintage and thrift stores are very popular already. There were always lots of thrift shops in the past but now there are tons of boutique style resale shops everywhere. Proving that customers want affordable but good quality clothing. I love to shop at these stores too. You don't have to dig in a thrift store anymore because they are very selective in what they bring in and this saves time. However, I can't help but feel sorry for all those future Fashionistas that will only have Fast Fashion brands in thrift stores in 20 years. Those clothes will never hold up the way the 90s and older clothing did. True vintage fashion will become really expensive soon. Even the 90s stuff. Don't believe me? Try looking up the price of a vintage Laura Ashley dress now. So collect it while you can!
I think from now on if I don't make my own clothes, I am going to commit to buying only handmade, vintage, or thrift clothes from now on. Or at the very least, small brands that aren't trying to take over Instagram one blogger at a time. What are your thoughts? Where are we heading on this runaway train?