Tuesday, 21 September 2010

You Tell Me... Is Fast Fashion Still Fun?

Image thanks to yvette

Hello. This where I introduce a new feature and challenge an old one. I recently realised that I hadn’t completed one of Monthly Must-Haves in ages, and I questioned why. Rather than simply never mentioning the series again, however, I thought I’d start a conversation on just what was behind my subconscious renouncement of the posts.

Wrapped up with that, I introduce to you: ‘You Tell Me...’ a semi-regular series where I will grope for your opinions on topics that I think will interest everyone, especially moi.

Here’s the story:

Several weeks ago, I made an oath with myself, an oath not to buy any ‘new’ clothes; go completely second-hand with my fashion buying habits. I didn’t announce it on the blog because I wasn’t sure how well I could stick to it, but it’s actually worked out brilliantly so far: I’ve completely refrained from any brand-new style purchases (and, yes, I have put myself in the path of temptation many times). The concept arose from my growing eco-consciousness and dreamy ideal that, if we all simply stopped producing and consuming stuff, there would still be so many beautiful things in the world we could pass around, share, recycle, and enjoy.

So, when I thought about whipping up a neat little set of desirable ‘must-haves’, well, it felt kind of hollow. It felt like I didn’t want to encourage you to rush out and buy new things on hype, or tell you that you ‘must’ buy something, however jovially. I’d rather you made clearer, more conscious decisions when it comes to what you wear and consume in general. I don’t want to be part of the problem, I want to be the change, even if only in a very small way.

All of that aside...

I know many of you really enjoy my Polyvore sets, and in the past I’ve enjoyed putting them together. I still have a love for dressing up, that hasn’t changed – so can I really have a fashion blog without mentioning bargains from Forever 21 and the other cheap-chic giants?

I certainly don’t want to seem as though I’m putting myself on a pedestal, then be labelled a hypocrite if I buy a new bikini from H&M. I want to be honest with you about the choices I’m making, even if they aren’t slip-up free.

And, of course, I still think clothes are beautiful; I still think they have value in society; they represent art and creation and splendour – so perhaps my Polyvore sets can still serve as inspiration? Perhaps I could use them to promote customisation and re-working of your existing wardrobe? Or have I, perhaps, gone totally overboard: is there a place for fast, throwaway fashion?

You tell me!


Harriet said...

This is a great idea for a new section on your blog - I am looking forward to partaking in it and reading everyone's comments! While I completely agree that we need to try and cut down on needless consumption and buying for the sake of buying I read an interesting tweet the other day which got me thinking about actually if there *is* a place for fast fashion after all:

'Would love just one article on 'ethical fashion' to acknowledge that being able to care about it in the first place is a middle class luxury' (@sequentially)

I think a lot of people (myself included) forget that for so many the idea of being able to buy something new, which fits and which noone has worn before, which is affordable and fashionable is actually a pretty new thing. And a very empowering thing too.

I think there is a place for cheap clothes, but they have to be clothes you love and you will treasure, not things you slung in a basket without bothering to try on becasue it cost £2 and you probably won't wear.

Fast fashion and cheap clothes give people who never had it before the luxury of choice. And I think that is a good thing.

ps sorry for the ramble!

❤Cate❤ said...

I think once people forget about trends and fast fashions they start to develop their own personal style.

I must admitt over the past few years I've been conscious of where I spend my money. Instead of throwing my money at say Primark or somewhere I look for independent designers and boutiques. Etsy is a haven of talented seamstresses and vintage shops there are so many beautiful things on there which deserve some attention. Forever 21, H&M, Zara etc. get enough attention don't you think? and it's not the only place to get a bargain!

You don't have to mention the big names to have a fashion blog, take the opportunity to shed some light on the independent designers, vintage stores and semstresses there are plenty out there and they would be happy for the exposure xoxo

Zmaga said...

I think you should continue making Polyvore sets if you like doing that, it can really help us re-invent our outfits. As a reader, I appreciate your honesty about your shopping habits. Don't worry so much about leaving the wrong impression because we are human after all, and you are not pushy and arrogant in sharing your views. The decision how we're going to spend our money is ultimately up to us, and you can give us new ideas. Don't stop doing that.

laura said...

(I'm from Germany and I have problems with bringing some structure into my thoughts, but I will try to express my opinion anyway.) (:

I really liked this post! I absolutely understand the way you feel about fast fashion, I've been feeling the same way for some time now. When I went to H&M after a long while some weeks ago, I was so shocked at everything: the clothes were so terribly-made and cheap and some garments were lying on the floor as if they were waste. And it's the truth: they are so worthless that it doesn't matter if H&M or the customers have to throw them away at the end of the season. Somehow, these fast fashion-clothes have lost all their character and personal value. Just as you, I think thoughtless consuming isn't the right way to behave in a time of eco-consciousness. I personally prefer making things myself (I'm a tailor), but even if you can't do that, there are lots of opportunities: buying at small local boutiques and vintage stores, taking a look at indie designers' shops online, asking your local tailor or your grandmother to make something for you... Actually, the possibilities are endless! I also did a clothing swap party with some friends early this year which was fantastic.
Actually, I think it's great that you want to concentrate on other things than fast fashion - there are way too many blogs about that out there already. I'm looking forward to reading your posts! And I do think you could still use Polyvore-sets, for instance on putting things together (this could be restyled with the clothes people already have), accessorizing, playing with clothes. It's important not to use the fun in dressing - you could still steal things from your boyfriend's or mother's closet, swap with your friend, buy funny accessories from the flea market and so on... Which is far more individual than buying something at H&M anyway. (:

Maria K. said...

I think there is a place for both in the wardrobe. I love shopping for secondhand suits, jackets and skirts, especially those from the 1950's. First of all, the cut suits me very well, second, those things were built TO LAST. A couple of years ago, an elderly friend was cleaning out her closet and let me have a few of her mint-condition, exquisitely made and perfectly tailored dresses from 1950's and 1960's. A royal gift!

Things to buy new? Stuff that wears out easily and needs to be replaced fairly often like undies and hosiery. Stuff meant to be stained and sweated upon, like inexpensive t-shirts I buy for working out and yardwork. Shoes (very hard to buy shoes that fit me AND in good condition). Contemporary pieces that mix and match well with the vintage stuff.

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