The Test To Discover If You’ve Become A Carbon Copy Of Fast Fashion
Fuente: Cultura Colectiva
How unique can we be if we all shop at the same places? Each day as we wake up and start mixing and matching to create our outfit for the day, we begin to consider several variables: comfort, cuteness, flattering, even mood-lifting. Our inspiration comes from different places; however, there’s one particular source we can’t pretend isn’t there: social media.
As we scroll through our feed, we look at influencers and fashionistas we like. We might even follow a page dedicating to curating a particular style or trend. We get ideas on accessories, ways of wearing a particular item, or even the new musts. We make our pick and go out into the world hoping to make a statement about who we are. Sadly, we fail to realize that we look exactly like all the other millions of people who follow certain accounts, which also take inspiration from about the same places. We go to our trusty fast fashion shop at our local mall and see the new trends that have come out.
Then one day, or night, as you walk into the room, ready to stand out from the crowd, you realize that someone else is wearing the same thing as you. It might not be the exact copy you bought last weekend, but the ensemble has been sartorially executed in mirror-like manner. You’re not wearing the same blue flannel shirt, but you and your fashion twin have paired it with the same medium-wash skinny crop jeans, dark faux-leather ankles boots, and topped it off with a wide-brim hat (I’m not judging, I’ve worn it too).
While it’s impossible not to share certain trends and looks that are currently in style, there are a few ways to find out if you’re on the bandwagon of trendy fashion. Here’s a few things to consider:
How often do you do impulse buys?
A couple decades ago, each item we bought was an investment. It was meant to last for a while, and we had to coordinate our entire wardrobe in accordance to what we had. However, mass produced clothing, which is also way cheaper, means that we don’t have to worry so much anymore. Don’t have anything that matches those pastel floral bellbottoms you bought during last week’s shopping bender? No worries! You’ll pick up a new $2 t-shirt or crop top later today. But it won’t be long before you realize you actually don’t love those pants as much as the pair of dark wash denim you’ve had since your college days. Yet, every time you scavenge through your drawers for something to wear, you feel hopelessly naked. If our closets have never been fuller, how come our satisfaction is at its lowest?
How much of your everyday style is inspired by social media?
While we all like to think of ourselves as completely authentic individuals, the truth is that our social and cultural environment shapes everything about us. Currently, Pinterest and Instagram are our go-to apps for outfit ideas. The problem with that is that the picture of that model wearing those army green matte rain boots, over a pair of jeggings, with that striped shirt under a navy blazer, carrying a paper coffee cup, has probably been shared and forwarded a myriad of times. What’s more, it could be showing up on your feed because someone in your circle of friends already liked it. Don’t be surprised if when you meet up for brunch, you’re all wearing similar versions of the same thing.
Is your buying style about quantity over quality?
We’ve all heard about investing in high-end items instead of buying cheaper options. That being said, when a designer leather jacket starts around the $300 mark, while the fast fashion fake is around $80, and you’re trying to make your tight budget work for rent, utilities, gasoline, and food, this is kind of a no-brainer. One suggestion could be to look for thrift shops. If you’re trying to be frugal, I’d steer clear from vintage shops that tend to have second hand finds marked up as if they were new. Just be aware that what you’ll be saving in cash at the Salvation Army you’ll be spending in going carefully through the racks for a real treasure.
Do you prefer going to the mall instead of local shops?
One thing social media can help with, in terms of separating yourself from the crowd, is with finding creators near you. Just don’t expect that just because they’re small enterprises they’ll be cheap. Local businesses often struggle to compete with the prices of large companies because they don’t produce in bulk. Also they have to factor in things conglomerates don’t, such as gas and light bills, rent, and acquiring material. That being said, some of these small businesses can offer you something the store at the mall can’t, such as alterations and custom items.
Do you only look at the current trends?
Each year we’re told that X decade is back in style. Then the following we read that we should throw out all our items of whichever color. While it’s always fun to take inspiration of bygone eras, always remember that each style has its own particular silhouette. This doesn’t mean you need to limit yourself to the only historic period that flatters you. It’s about being aware of what fits you and your lifestyle. Perhaps the low waist look of the twenties doesn’t work for you, but a cute feather fascinator or the kitten-heeled Mary Janes do.
If you’ve answered yes to the past questions, don’t despair. You might have been a casualty of consumerism and social media, but it’s not a death sentence. What matters is that you go outside your comfort zone to try and make it a challenge not to buy as much, but be twice as satisfied with your clothing options. Sometimes we buy things to lift our spirits and feel better about ourselves. The problem is that using material objects to boost our confidence doesn’t fix the entire problem and leaves our bank account in red.
The flapper party girls didn’t have even half as much options as we have in our closets, yet they made the most of it. They didn’t care about being seen at a party wearing the same dress as the week before. They’d change their accessories, or add a touch of something to make their outfit brand new. A big part of this is confidence. If you feel like a million bucks, then who’s going to tell you that you don’t? Keep in mind that limiting your impulse purchases makes room for that designer item you’ve been wanting to get for a while. It also limits your carbon footprint in the long run. Fashion is fun, so don’t make it a boring factory process based on what other people like. Find your own style and discover what works best to showcase your own individuality.
Images from Man Repeller’s Instagram Account, a great way to look at how you can get inspired in the most unexpected ways.