Fast fashion seems to be all the rage-especially with how Shein has stayed at the top of the game. However, they’re not the first fast fashion brand, and certainly won’t be the last. Remember Forever 21? They’re fast fashion, too.
I will admit, I’m a shopaholic. However, I’ve been doing a lot better recently. I really think my surgery helped with that. However, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend on TikTok and around the rest of the internet (Instagram, other bloggers, etc.). have been shopping heavily at places like Shein.
Shein is known for being very inexpensive, and often poor quality. But, what even is fast fashion? It’s the mass production of cheap, poor quality, and disposable clothing.
Why is Fast Fashion Bad?
These companies are run with profit in mind They know they can sell more inexpensive t-shirts and other clothing items, so they mass produce them. These companies are known to break child labor laws and have inhumane working conditions.
Additionally, they are the leading contributors to the ever-growing issues of greenhouse gases and landfill issues. They also use excessive amounts of water and plastics. A 2017 study found that 35% of all microplastics used were in synthetic clothes-like polyester.
The real issue is that consumers (you and me) constantly purchase new items every season. Think of it like Maslow’s dogs-the bell is the temperature changes in seasons, so we go “I need to buy new clothes”. This leads to excessive purchasing, especially for items that you will probably only wear once. To put it in perspective, according to earth.org, we are currently consuming 400% more than we did twenty years ago.
Shein is literally all of these things. Shein has made some very questionable decisions in the items that choose to market (does anyone remember the swastika necklace debacle?) Their goal is not to be inclusive or anything else. Their goal is to make money.
What Places Are Fast Fashion?
While Shein is definitely the most apparent fast fashion site, there are plenty of others. You can spot them because they often have frequent releases (typically weekly) and are pushing “trends”. Plus, add in cheap prices, and it’s probably a no brainer. H&M is another fast fashion brand, along with Forever 21, and Urban Outfitters. Several others, like Zara and Victoria’s Secret are often included on these lists. Lulu’s is another cult favorite that is actually fast fashion.
I saw an argument on TikTok that Lululemon is considered fast fashion because it pushes trends and has weekly releases, but let’s be realistic: it’s not cheap. Therefore, I would honestly leave Lululemon off the list.
Where Should We Shop? What Should We Buy?
Places that have sustainable fashion or do not overly mass produce. This is the main reason that I argue that Lululemon is not fast fashion-they don’t restock when something is sold out. You will find these are brands that are “higher price points” and they typically do not restock. Think Lilly Pulitzer. They do not restock their items, and once they are sold out, they’re sold out-permentantly. Same with Vineyard Vines and J. Crew. These places while are more expensive will only have a few “trendy” pieces and the majority of their clothes will be timeless pieces that you can wear over and over again. I will say that Lilly definitely has more trendy pieces, but they still have timeless shifts and t-shirt dresses.
Purchasing clothes is actually huge for preventing fast fashion. If you use rental companies or services, they have to buy a lot of those items to keep their customers happy. Instead, just buy the item (especially if you’re going to wear it more than once or twice). Honestly, we shouldn’t be buying anything we’re only going to wear once or twice (unless it’s for a really big event, like your own wedding).
The bottom line: we need to be conscientious of where we are spending our money.
If you could shop anywhere where would it be?