I want to preface this by saying that yes, I am a member of the ethical fashion community, and yes, I do care deeply about this topic. I’m all about it. But I also want to be honest with all of you, and if there’s something floating around that I don’t necessarily agree with, I want to share that with you, too. That being said, there is something I have heard within the ethical fashion community that just didn’t sit right with me since day one, and today I want to address it. You may have stumbled across something along the lines of this:
“Fast fashion produces poor quality clothing. It’s just going to fall apart after 2 washes.”
I see the logic there, but I have to disagree.
Fast fashion doesn’t always mean poor quality clothing.
Now I’m no expert on fabrics and clothing quality, but I do know this – I have pieces in my closet that I bought 6 years ago from fast fashion retailers that I still wear today. Not even just one or two pieces that somehow survived, but multiple pieces that haven’t ripped or “fallen apart in the wash”. I have jeans, shirts, even outerwear that has stood the test of time and many, many wears and washes. Some of them of course came from retailers who were not necessarily super-cheap (think Express) while others from retailers who reside in the lowest of the low price range (think Urban Outfitters).
I know I’m not alone in this because I have pieces in my closet that are hand-me-downs from my mother, dating to over 10 years ago. My younger sister has things in her closet that have passed through both my mom’s and my own closet before landing in hers and continue to be washed and worn. I have friends who, if they are still similar in size to their high school days, have clothes from their teen years that they still wear today.
On the one hand, we can think about this and say “Hey, that’s great! Why bother buying more expensive clothes if the cheap stuff will last just as long?”. But that’s not my point. Some of that cheap stuff will not last that long, and when making purchases, ethical or not, we should most definitely try our best to buy higher-quality, durable clothes. My point here is that this should serve as an example as to what clothes is capable of when we take care of it. It’s a pretty simple idea. Don’t toss clothes all over the floor. Fold it neatly. Wash it according to the proper wash instructions on the tag, and hand-wash delicates. Hang things to dry instead of using the dryer. Don’t aggressively rip buttons open and yank at zippers.
Something that I had always thought was common sense, it turns out, actually isn’t. And I think it’s causing a problem in our wardrobes. So let’s stop telling ourselves (and others) this lie about cheap clothes that falls apart. Sure, some does. But if we consciously care for our clothes, their lifetime might just surprise us.
Do you agree with this? Is there anything else the ethical fashion community needs to stop saying? Let me know in the comments below!