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WIP Journal

WIP Journal

HOW SUSTAINABLE IS ETHICAL FASHION FOR THE YOUNG?

Hot or Not Scale (for reference)

Fashion as a concept has long taken cues from society and pop culture. What we see in movies, T.V shows and magazines, is what ends up influencing how a certain generation dresses. Take for example how Rachel dressed in FRIENDS, or Anjali’s tomboy-esque style in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, or how Cher and Poo pulled-off their looks in Clueless and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham respectively—these icons dictated what the youth wore at the time. 

Collage c/o Vaishnavi 

 

Pop Culture x Fast Fashion

Characteristically speaking, fast fashion and pop-culture are alike in more ways than one. Without dwelling too much into the anxiety that comes with re-wear, the dopamine hit of wanting something new, and the CBD (Compulsive Buying Disorder) of fashion; it is no surprise that the fast fashion industry thrives on these impulses and is inherently transient. 

Re-wear anxiety - NOT 🆘🆘🆘🆘🆘

Dopamine hit - EEKS 🆘🆘🆘

Compulsive Buying Disorder - NOT 🆘🆘🆘🆘🆘

Psychological impacts of fast fashion - NOT 🆘🆘🆘🆘🆘

 

The Affordability Quotient

Coming back to circa now, lately, there’s been so much conversation around sustainability, ethical fashion and its importance. But here’s the thing, I’ve been following this subject for a bit now, and while there’s comprehensive information about organic and natural materials, upcycling, fair wages, supply chain etc, there isn’t enough dialogue about affordability. For outsiders looking in, it seems like the membership to club slow fashion is only reserved for the elite. So, can one really be susty without burning the wallet? 

While some brands should put out a public health advisory for their “green packaging”, and an organs-only tag for their price points, there are others who are - dealing in fair trade, paying fair wages and are using organic materials. A few examples of brands that get it right are : 

  • No Nasties, who rightfully boast about being vegan and organic, and to top it off, they also plant a tree every time a product is sold! 
  • Lucy and Yak who pay four times the state-required wage to their workers and who use only 100% biodegradable postage material. 

High prices - EEKS 🆘🆘🆘

Pseudo sustainability - NOT 🆘🆘🆘🆘🆘

Fair wages/trade - HOT 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Slow fashion for elites only? - EEKS 🆘🆘🆘

Affordable slow fashion - LOVE IT 🔥🔥🔥

 

Morality-driven buying 

Let’s talk some hard facts now, shall we? According to McKinsey & Company’s survey, 67% of consumers consider sustainability as an essential factor to keep in mind while purchasing, sounds great right? But here’s the catch—less than a third of those consumers are willing to pay for eco-friendly products. When it comes to affordability, our morals come with a much heftier price tag. I won’t go too deep into how and why sustainable materials require more expensive mills and how they don’t use fertilizers and genetic modifiers—that can easily be a snooze fest. 

But, what I am going to talk about is the growing importance of sustainable options at a reasonable price point. By 2025, millennials will make up for 75% of the global workforce, which means attracting them will be crucial for various brands. Both Forbes and Fortune have shown that purpose is what gets the youth to pledge loyalty to a brand. And, according to BSR, Gen Z and millennials appreciate brands that invest in sustainability programs and who have a consistent positive stance on social and environmental issues. While all this sounds admirable and inspiring, it begs two questions. One, when will brands tweak their models to make sustainability mainstream? and two, can millennials afford to put their money where their morals are? 

Environmentally sound brand purpose - HOT 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Brands that align with our values - HOT 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Adequate options for sustainable products at affordable costs? - EEKS 🆘🆘🆘

Put your money where your morals are - LOVE IT 🔥🔥🔥

 

Digital Thrifting

While we may not be a 100% there yet, a small chunk of aware 20-30 something-year-olds has started to watch what they buy. From shopping off online thrift stores (quick s/o to @formikamo, @lusthrift, @posh.pastt, @aimee.loved) to closely examining the fabric of potential buys. 

The rise and rise of online thrift stores have little to do with the actual piece of clothing. Since each piece is unique, the chase to possess it is thrilling, the bidding is exciting, and the happiness of receiving your bought item in a fully sustainable packing is the cherry on top. Unlike Zara’s most popular pants, items from these thrift stores won’t be seen on people passing by, so while the exclusivity sets you apart, the cost doesn’t discriminate. Instagram is flush with such thrift stores, each having its own identity and sense of style. Selling out seductive corsets to vintage Parisian blouses within minutes, these thrift stores have a strong pulse on what their audience likes. 

The exclusivity of thrift pieces - LOVE IT 🔥🔥🔥

Bidding for clothing - YESS 🔥

Sustainable packaging - HOT 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Thrift stores gaining popularity - HOT 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

 

 “As innovations become more mainstream, the prices are bound to go down. There’s a shift that has to happen.”  - Brittany Burns, Fashion For Good


Which begs the question - do we have the time to wait around for it to become mainstream? Can the planet wait? I suppose not. So I’m sharing some fun shopping ideas that you can do with your friends. For this, let’s go back to what we were taught in primary school - reuse, recycle and reduce. 

REUSE

One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure 

  • Put out a sale for items you are not going to wear (for whatever reasons)
  • Can be something just between your friends; higher chances of finding something for your style
  • Sell them at highly discounted rates
Rotating wardrobes
  • Choose 5-6 items from your closet and lend it to your friend for a month
  • They can do the same with you 
  • Benefits? You’ll never be bored with these borrowed clothes, it’s kind of like getting gifts every month 
  • Don’t forget to set ground rules: eg- the clothes HAVE to be washed and ironed before returning etc. 

RECYCLE

The revival of the drab 

  • Take a piece of clothing you’re bored of, and give it to a friend (you trust) 
  • Ask them to amp it up in a way they think you’ll like (maybe set some ground rules, if this friend tends to get carried away)
  • Can be anything from dyeing it a new colour to cutting it. P.S you can also embroider cute notes/designs you think they’ll appreciate 
  • Benefits? It’ll instantly be like a new piece of clothing 

REDUCE

This one is usually the hardest. If you’re unable to buy from a sustainable, eco-friendly brand, try your best to purchase things that are versatile and will last you long. Having shopped fast fashion for so long, this one can be a learning curve. 

While most of us want to buy ethically, a lot of us are unable to afford such pieces. So as cliche as it sounds, to begin our journey towards slow fashion, the only thing crucial is for us to start, and hope that sustainability becomes mainstream and “cool” sooner than later! 

 

FINAL TALLY

Psychological impacts of fast fashion - NOT 🆘🆘🆘🆘🆘

Affordable slow fashion - LOVE IT 3 🔥🔥🔥

Put your money where your morals are - LOVE IT 🔥🔥🔥

Thrift stores gaining popularity - HOT 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

So, How Sustainable is Ethical Fashion for the Young? - LOVE IT 3 

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