I no longer remember which incident it was that made me want to pay more attention to where exactly my clothes were coming from, but I do recall being suddenly very aware of what my money was paying for beyond the cute sundress I came home with. Thus began my own personal journey into the complicated world of ethical and sustainable fashion, and a decision to try, to the best of my abilities, to stop buying fast fashion.
Reader, I won’t lie, it was hard. At the time I was making very little money, with 70 percent of my income going toward rent, and working in the fashion editorial closet of a fashion magazine. I was constantly surrounded by the latest clothing that I very much could not afford, but desperately wanted (so I could keep up with the ever-changing trends), and so I bought fast fashion. A lot of fast fashion. Zara, ASOS and H&M were my everything. And although I’m now a much more conscientious shopper, I still find myself lusting after Target’s limited-edition designer collabs and the incredibly fun pieces being churned out at ASOS. But as I’ve learned, quitting fast fashion isn’t about going cold turkey or swearing it off forever. The more important thing to know is what’s behind the clothing you’re adding to cart so you can make informed choices about the things you buy.
And so, I present to you a Realistic Woman’s Guide to Quitting Fast Fashion, with advice from the experts and my tips on what worked best for me, for anyone who’s hoping to make their wardrobe a little bit more eco-friendly.