No, you don't need more loungewear
Fast fashion brands are capitalising off the lockdown.
I love fashion. I've always used it as a chance to express myself. University was the time I really got to explore this avenue. Every lecture or library trip became a fashion show for me.
I truly believed that every occasion needed a new outfit - even if that was a night out to the night clubs I literally visited every single week. It goes without saying, as a student I wasn't investing in staple pieces. I was browsing on fast-fashion websites, absolutely thrilled by how cheap everything was.
Now, I'm a little different. Not even in a patronising, weird way. I still love fashion and I still buy my fair share of clothes. However, I rarely shop from the companies that don't care about the world, let alone their own staff.
Also, I am A LOT more thoughtful about what I do buy. My 18-year-old self had about 15 versions of the same black crop top, no exaggeration. Now, I buy staple pieces that I can re-wear again and again and again. Shocking resolution: washing machines exist to wash our worn clothes.
Then the pandemic happened
We all know fast-fashion is toxic - it preys on our insecurities, damages the world, and exploits vulnerable workers.
The truth is, we (yes, myself included) have all given fast-fashion too much authority. It dictates our mood, our confidence, and totally wastes our money.
Anyway, we've all been treated with the lockdown look. Arguably, I've never looked worse in my entire life, and many people are saying the same.
But that's the point - we're not leaving the house. If we didn't really need a new outfit for every meeting, birthday, or food shop before - we definitely don't need new outfits now.
The only people that see me lately are the neighbours on our daily walk. All from over 6 feet away, of course. I look like I've had better days (which is the case), and new £10 jeans won't solve that, right now.
I never realised how completely shameless and toxic fast-fashion was, until the pandemic, though.
Open up your inbox
I don't know about yours, but my emails are filled with fast fashion companies quite literally begging me to purchase something from them.
What does this tell us? Apart from the fact that I need to unsubscribe from their mailing lists?
It's proof that these companies are completely and utterly corrupt.
Now, I am a little bit of a drama queen (I probably even bought a #dramaqueen t-shirt at one point, ironically). But let me explain.
Look, fast-fashion companies are always seemingly "cancelled" a lot on the internet. Whether it's down to their sizing, their competitions, plagiarism, or worker's rights.
How many of them have handled the pandemic has definitely made more than a few people shudder, though. Finally, Boohoo's grip is loosening on us.
Did you know that many brands have been operating "business as usual" since the pandemic broke out? Yes, this will kill people.
Brands such as Arcadia and gap are refusing to pay garment workers for orders that have already been completed.
The garment workers making masks for fast fashion brands are paid less than minimum wage, don't get paid sick leave, don't have PPE, and can't practice social distancing.
So, when I open up another promo email that states something along the line of "Get that picture-perfect loungewear". My mind jumps to the fact that these companies are putting lives at risk, for a tiny bit of profit, while capitalising off a social media generation's vulnerabilities.
I'm here to tell you that, no you really do not need a loungewear crop top set, to take a mirror selfie in.
It's still a risk
Okay, perhaps you fell in love with some clothes. Don't worry, it happens to the best of us. First of all, please unsubscribe from mailing lists and unfollow fast-fashion's Instagram. You can thank me later.
Secondly, just because you're buying online doesn't mean that there isn't a hazard.
As mentioned, the worker's making your garments aren't even given PPE. They're forced in crowded factory rooms, without soap or hand gel.
That's not even putting into consideration the delivery drivers and other key workers that work together to get your orders to you.
Fast fashion is a complex situation. It's a class issue, an ethical grey area, and a climate-change contributor.
We. Need. To . Stop. Funding. Them.
What can we do?
To actively give money to brands who aren't even covering up their harm, is essentially wrong.
Ethics should guide your decisions, more than anything else. You can support ethical brands that are not only keeping their worker's safe during a pandemic but have continually paid living wages, and made eco-conscious decisions.
Workers Rights Consortium has compiled a list of brands that are paying workers and suppliers for completed orders.
Otherwise, a quick google will easily give you an extensive review of a company's moral track record. Isn't the internet great?
A breakup from fast fashion isn't a quick, easy, or painless one. It takes time and many conscious choices.
But let's begin here - you absolutely do not need that loungewear set.