Supersonic Fashion – The Ever Increasing Pace of Throwing Away Clothes

I recently read an article mentioning how the term “fast fashion” is problematic, because how fast clothes are being made doesn’t necessarily relate to how well they are made or in what types of conditions. The problem for me is definitely not how fast clothes are made (as long as they’re made in ethical conditions), it’s how fast they are thrown away.  Evidence of fast fashion is everywhere: clothes stores have sales almost all the time, landfills are filling up with clothes and charity shops are drowning in donations (which would be a good thing, if more people were buying more from charity shops, instead of just dumping their old stuff there) – I’m also guessing quite a few of us can see the effects of fast fashion in accumulating clothing in our own wardrobes. We’re bombarded with ads and articles about must-have clothes and accessories, so we run to stores to get them. In a month or two, those same clothes and accessories are featured in articles titled “Trends to forget this season” or “Things you should ditch from your closet already!”.

Fast fashion can also be seen in second hand stores and flea markets. One thing I’ve noticed becoming more of a phenomenon nowadays is the presence of trends from just a little while ago in second hand stores. One of the fleeting trends of 2016 was velour, and just two weeks ago I was at a second hand store where one of the stalls was all velour clothes. Clearly, the person selling these had gotten excited by this trend, upgraded her whole wardrobe, and gotten tired of it in a couple of months, ending up selling the clothes for almost nothing at a second hand store. Personally, I would be exhausted if I changed by wardrobe to adapt to the newest trends every couple of months, and I don’t know how so many have the energy to follow the fast pace of modern fashion. As a second hand consumer, I’m sort of excited about the fact that newer and newer clothes are appearing at second hand stores, and I can’t wait for those who buy lots of new clothes to start selling their tulle skirts or pleated skirts soon! But as a conscious consumer and someone worried about the environment, I can’t help feeling uncomfortable seeing so many new clothes discarded after such a short life in someone’s wardrobe.

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Last autumn I was seeing skirts like this one on Pinterest and Instagram all the time, and I thought that if I still bought new clothes, I would go buy one of these. But luckily, I found this skirt at UFF in Helsinki unused, with the original tags still on, only a couple of days after I had been thinking of buying one of these from a regular store. This just shows that you should check out second hand stores even for newer trends.

Fashion is getting quite exhausting, so I’m proposing a change that will save you from many headaches and many hours of pointless shopping – and as a bonus, it will be giving our environment a much needed helping hand. Instead of buying a whole bunch of new clothes at the start of every season, look through your wardrobe and try to think how you can adapt those to new trends. Fashion keeps going in circles, so if you hang on to something for long enough, you will find it will be back in fashion soon. Also, there’s rarely a trend that would be so new and never before seen that there wouldn’t be old clothes at second hand stores with elements of the trend. I’ve been checking out what the trends for 2017 are and there are such radical notions as stripes, colourful prints and asymmetrical cuts – I’m sure everyone has at least one or two pieces of clothing that fit into one of these trends.

An even better option is to have a classic style, or create your own style that doesn’t rely on the authority of fashion magazines or celebrities. It is by far the easiest way to look good and feel good in your clothes.

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According to multiple fashion magazines, stripes are back for 2017. My only question is: when were stripes ever out?

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Colourful, painted-looking patterns are apparently also in this spring. This shirt that pretty much fits into that category, and I got this second hand many years ago. And that asymmetrical trend that is now in can be easily created by just wearing clothes you already have in slightly different ways.

 

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