Cleaning out the closet

Whether we like it or not, our clothing says a great deal about who we are. A visual voice, our garments talk without us having to.

Fast fashion dominates the retail industry. The goal of fast fashion companies is to take designs seen on runways and make them accessible for consumers to buy, bringing garments to stores as quickly and cheaply as possible. Although it doesn’t devastate the condition of one’s bank account, fast fashion comes with a collection of problems.

Fash fashion retailers aim to get us to shop constantly by producing low-quality, high-quantity runs of clothing. The resulting low-priced, mass-produced clothing poses a challenge to the pricier competition.

Along with negative environmental impacts, this often involves corporations breaking labour laws when producing so many articles of clothing in such a short amount of time.

In a group interview of eight Mt. A students, half of them explained they buy their clothing from fast fashion heavyweights like Urban Outfitters and H&M. However, when in Sackville, these students mainly buy secondhand instead of shopping online. Second-year commerce student Mike McCracken said people buy used because of its immediacy: “[In Sackville] it is accessible to buy recycled clothing.”

First-year student Sarah Gordan explained that fast fashion creates a pressure to stay on trend and acknowledged that this has its problems. “The clothes that you are buying are cheaply made and have less quality,” Gordan said.

Paige Percy, a first-year student, explained her stress when shopping. “When I go home, there are too many options and I end up buying too much.”

Students also expressed the impulsiveness they feel when shopping in malls. “[Fast fashion] is  compulsive; when there is a sale or when the clothes are so cheap, it is hard to resist,” Gordon said.

Anahid Chujunian, owner of the curated secondhand clothing store Little Cat’s Bazaar, explained that fast fashion is very much alive in Sackville and admittedly even she gets wrapped up in it.

“It’s not hard to understand why many students participate in the fast fashion industry,” she said. “With trends changing practically overnight on the runway, low-cost replicas of high-end, trending pieces seem like the only way of staying on top of what’s ‘in.’”

Chujunian said that when buying clothing for her store, she sticks to the items that always sell and pieces that are classic and always trending.

“[I] love being able to offer my customers an alternative to fast fashion, especially my customers who have never really been exposed to thrift culture before.”

For many of us, shopping has become a common, potentially addictive pastime. By buying ethically made or secondhand clothing, we can ultimately help counter the effects of fast fashion.

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