By far, starting this off, I am more of a sinner than a saint. And I know a lot of people, especially those who know me, will now bust into laughter, imagining me with two giant Topshop bags, walking up and down the Highstreet. If you are doing this, mate we’re in the same boat, I also can’t believe that one of the biggest fast fashion consumers is writing a few words on sustainability.
Honestly, I don’t know where to start. It feels like an endless, lost and long road I am still very much lost on.
Sustainability is a truly scary word, everyone is watching everyone. I am still scared about the whole thing by myself, as I am just trying my best. I am by far not where I should be.
Before climate was such an emerging topic around me, I would have probably never even mentioned the word “sustainable” on my blog. Being very honest with myself, I do not have a lifestyle that anyone who is more or less educated would call “sustainable”: I love limited edition paper coffee cups, I fly around couple times a year, I am the queen of impulsive asos orders and if there was a Topshop loyalty card, believe me, I would have the gold version.
Last year, my obsession with cheap fashion and being able to buy whatever I desired to on a very little price, kicked off and I went mad. Everyone goes mad in some aspects of life- and me, the tiny human, with a complicated soul which tends to obsession and addiction, went completely mad. I don’t even have any other words to describe my behaviour, and analysing it, I used fast fashion as a medicine to full fill a hole in my soul.
I was feeling empty all the time, not pretty enough, not worthy enough, I was always seeking validation and maybe my brain thought that I would get that if I keep up with the latest trends. Buying clothes was my coping mechanism, constantly telling myself that if I buy one more item, I will finally feel fine. The truth is, I felt fine months later, when I finally stopped in being careless with myself.
With this post, I definitely do not want to start a perfect instagramalike minimalist lifestyle and keep posting pictures of nearly half empty rooms in order to get validated. Everyone who knows me just a tiny bit knows that I am more of a maximalist.
However, my fast fashion binge buying behaviour, did obviously not lead to anything very good: when I moved out my flat in Manchester over the summer, I had a lot of storage boxes full of clothing, plus an insane amount of stuff stored at my parent’s house.
Looking back in the day, the thing that fascinated me about fashion when I was younger was the aspect of self-expression in it. Honestly, it still is, and it forever will be. When I first dived into the crazy world of garments, I was of course targeted to everything that was not available on my doorstep in my tiny ass village.
When I travelled to cities, I spend hours in an urban outfitters, and if I even only left with the most basic black denim skirt (which I would have probably found in a charity shop for a lot less money), I was happily fulfilled because of the experience and it felt like something special.
Moving to a city, going into an urban outfitters is not that special anymore. What used to be miles and miles away is now in short walking distance, and living independently, you do not have to ask your parents before every purchase like you did when you were 15 years old.
When I became so fascinated about fashion and self-expression through garments back in the day, I was never flashed by fast fashion, as I considered it as mainstream. I adored vintage clothing, whichever city I visited, I went to various vintage stores. I loved how unique the pieces are and that you might by chance catch an item that only you will have. I remember very vividly how I dragged my parents around stores in Paris or Amsterdam as a horrible, moody teenager. In my defence, I still have those pieces.
As I adored vintage so much, I kept browsing depop and etsy for ages to find gunne sax seventies dresses- I still do, I still haven’t found one in an affordable price range hahah.
Bringing it back to be beginning, I realized that especially last year, I have spent a fortune on fast fashion. This lightbulb started to light up in my head very suddenly at some point in the last few months. Spending time in north America, where thrifting is more accessible than back home, I have just realized how vintage shopping fulfils my fashion craving soul a lot more than anything else.
Also, I realized how much I love supporting small brands, making the world of retail a bit brighter, colourful, and diverse.
And again, I am not blaming anyone with this. The only person I am blaming is myself, for handling carelessly in order to fill up my inner emptiness. I am still very far away from being a saint, and being honest, I will never be one. My wardrobe is still packed with a lot of items of fast fashion brands, but I simply try to minimise the amount of times I shop there.
Every little step counts.
No one of us is too small to make a difference, as Greta would say it. Not even in the crazy world of fashion. Let’s use our power together and try and make one.
PHOTOS BY ASHLEY LOUISE SMITH