Fast Fashion: A Fresh Perspective

 

By Lauren WeaverScreen Shot 2017-03-27 at 11.41.43 AMThe Leggings Perspective

Hey, it’s me, your favorite pair of leggings, or so I used to be. You purchased me for $5.99 at Forever 21 only three months ago. Yet now I sit among a pile of clothes you never wear. To my left is a shirt that says “Taco Tuesday,” and to my right is a neon, tribal print tank top; it’s very 2013. I don’t fit in with these once-trendy pieces. I’m a pair of black leggings. I never go out of style. I mean, sure, I have a hole in the knee and my elastic band has become a little worn, but we have history.

I was made by a machine. My poly-blend fabric wasn’t the softest or the highest quality.  I was put on a truck and sent off into the world. I ended up at the Forever 21 in your local mall. I remember seeing you for the first time. You were already wearing leggings, but they had a huge rip in the thigh. I haven’t seen them since.

On our way to the cash register, you picked up two more shirts rather impulsively. Your total was under $20. You brought us home and placed us in your closet. It was crowded in there. I could barely breathe. None of that mattered when you pulled me out the following day. You ripped off my tags (ouch) and put me on. Finally, I was serving a purpose.

But now, I’m sitting on your floor with outdated clothes. I hope this is all because tomorrow is laundry day. However, I have a feeling it’s not. Until then, I will sleep.

 

The Next day

I wake up to the movement of your mother placing me in a trash bag, separate from the other clothes in which I was grouped. They are folded in a box marked “Goodwill.” The next thing I know, I’m on the curb. A trash truck rolls up and I’m thrown into a pile of trash. I can no longer smell the fresh scent of my laundry detergent.

I’m going to a dumpster? Not even a thrift shop? I know I wasn’t expensive or well-made, but I never thought I was garbage. Hours pass. I’m still in the large metal trash box. Each minute, I begin to feel more forgotten.

The Human Perspective

I came to Forever 21 to buy leggings, again. My previously purchased pairs were worn and ripped. This didn’t bother me. Leggings never lasted long, and repurchasing a pair every three months for $5.99 didn’t seem to strain my bank account. That being said, I couldn’t act surprised when a cheap pair of thin pants needed replacing.

I stood in front of the circular rack of black, poly-blend pants. I contemplated purchasing a pair of leggings of a higher quality. That way, I wouldn’t have to replace them as often.

“Oh well,” I said, “Six bucks is too good of a price to pass up.” On my way to the register, two shirts caught my eye. I had to have them. I grabbed both, went up to the cashier, and went back home.

I opened my closet doors. “Jeez, I have way too much stuff in here. I should really consider decluttering,” I thought.

 

Three Months Later

I finally decluttered my closet. I gave away so much. My mom threw away anything she found unfit for goodwill.

My friends tease me by calling me “the minimalist.” One of my friends sent me a link to a documentary. It’s called “Minimalism,” by Matt D’Avella. I’ll probably watch it tonight.

 

The Next Day

I learned a lot from the documentary. There was a section that talked about something called “fast fashion.” Apparently, it’s awful for the environment. Our grandparents associate fashion with four seasons: fall, winter, spring and summer. According to the movie, there are now 52 seasons of fashion; that’s a new trend every week. This influences consumers to buy more in a short period of time to keep up with the trends.

While big companies like Forever 21 and H&M are making millions, they spend very little manufacturing their clothes. By producing poorly-made clothes, consumers are forced to buy more. On top of that, only .1% of materials used that are recycled are actually reused. The chemicals involved with manufacturing makes recycling difficult and decomposing almost impossible.

I’ve made a huge mistake. Just a few months ago, I bought a replacement pair of leggings that I knew wouldn’t last. Now I know that I need to buy things that will last; quality over quantity. We need to stop buying into trends and start living practically. If we limit the amount of waste we produce, we can make a difference in our planet.

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