We are all well and truly aware that fast fashion is a dirty and shameful industry (blah blah change the record, I know). When I ask people about fast fashion the majority have genuine concern for the issues we all know to be true. Yet miraculously, all concern seems to go out the window when we’re swiping away at the counter in Zara for that bright blue studded faux leather jacket that is a TOTAL wardrobe essential.
I’ll leave it for the scientists to find our how human psychology allows us to purchase products we know have caused harm to people and the environment. But there you have it, that’s exactly what we’re doing.
Welcome to the ‘wear it once’ phenomenon
A study from children’s charity Banardo’s Retail surveyed around 2,000 women in the UK found that our obscene shopping habits are far from on the decline. Banardo’s found that 33 per cent of women consider clothes ‘old’ after wearing them fewer than three times. Another study by M&S found that there are 3.6 billion clothes left unworn in the UK’s wardrobes – a whopping 57 items per person. One in seven women said Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were strong influences for the culture, because being seen more than once in the same dress was a fashion no-no.
I know what you’re thinking. How in the world could someone only wear something once, or think that it’s old after only three wears? But, before we get on our moral high horse, have a think about the last item you bought. How many times have you worn it? Do you like it as much as you did when you bought it? Did you buy it because you ‘had nothing to wear in your wardrobe’? Maybe more of us are guilty of ‘disposable fashion’ than we think.
Shock Horror, Instagram Could Be The Culprit
The pressure we put on ourselves has fed a tendency to over-consume clothes. Social media has a huge part to play in this social pressure. I’m not sure about you, but it’s not exactly uplifting to spend your daily commute watching Instagram models opening deliveries of free stuff they don’t need, doing ‘clothing hauls’ and ‘boomeranging’ literally every bite of their açaí bowl. Yet, I can’t seem to stop watching. What is wrong with me?
A recent survey by the Royal Society for Public Health showed that Instagram lead to high levels of anxiety, depression, bullying and FOMO, or “fear of missing out”. Meanwhile YouTube received the highest marks for health and wellbeing and was the only site that received a net positive score by respondents.
The question this raises is why do we willingly subscribe to a culture of consumerist behaviour that (on top of being socially and environmentally toxic) is making us less happy? One thing is glaringly obvious, this ‘wear it once’, #newness, #fastfashion world we’re living in so linked to our innate desire to fit in that stopping over-consumption will take more than looking at our shopping habits.
It’s about being less judgemental, encouraging individual style, individual body shapes, individuality full stop! Remember it’s not what you’re wearing, it’s how you wear it.