How to be a conscious shopper in a fast fashion world
By: Indou Theagrajan
With the increasing popularity of fast fashion and rapid growth in purchasing power, India is set to become one of the largest consumer markets in the world. In pandemic times, online shopping is a convenient and safe outlet to indulge, a fun highlight in our otherwise monotonous days.
Studies show that shopping gives the reward centre of our brains a dopamine boost, while shopping during sales induces an even stronger reaction, creating an adrenaline rush similar to being high.
What we don’t talk about often enough is what comes right after – buyer’s remorse. In a survey of apparel customers in America, over 75 percent of respondents said that they regretted buying a piece of clothing they had purchased on sale.
We have all been there, sometimes you just don’t like how an outfit looks on you after buying it. This is especially common in online shopping, where an item pales in comparison to photos of it. Maybe it’s too tight or too loose, the material is flimsy, see-through or of low quality. I’ve had my share of these clothes that I did not have the patience to return and they ended up cluttering my closet.
While shopping might seem like an enjoyable, harmless activity, overconsumption has a tremendous impact on the environment. A study in the UK showed that 72% of women shared that they would wear a dress only once, with the average consumer considering any outfit old after just 3 wears.
Our current fashion systems are linear. Which means a piece of clothing is produced, sold, used (or in some cases, unused) and disposed of. This results in 87% of clothing being incinerated or landfilled.
Let’s adopt a new mindset towards shopping by buying only what we need and making sure they are pieces that we absolutely love and will re-wear many times over!
Here are a few simple steps you can follow before shopping online:
Take audit of what you already own- This will help you establish your current buying patterns. Physically go through your closet to see if you actually need a new item or if you already own something similar.
Purchase versatile pieces – Buy items that can be styled with various garments that you own. Pieces that are reversible, adjustable, and can transition from day to night or be worn throughout the year.
Choose classic styles over fleeting trends – Y2K nostalgia may be in right now, but once it passes, it might not make a comeback for another 20 years! Stick to buying what you genuinely love and what suits your body type over what is popular on instagram right now.
Double check the sizing – Size varies across different brands and styles. Make sure to check the measurement chart provided on the brand’s website or message their customer support to enquire about sizing. This way you’re more likely to receive a piece that fits you well!
Customer reviews- Look for reviews or customer testimonials on the brands’ social media. What do they think about the quality and fit of the garments? Are the pieces true to the images and information provided on the website?
Be a discerning consumer, the environment and your wallet will thank you for it!
Indou Theagrajan is a circular fashion enthusiast and sustainable fashion content creator. Working in the fashion industry for over 6 years has given her the insight into the environmental and social impact of production and has enabled her to value the people and resources behind fashion brands. She is a passionate advocate for fair wages, sustainable systems and transparent practices. She has a growing community of fashion lovers who are working towards conscious and sustainable wardrobes on her instagram @closetdeepdive and her website www.closetdeepdive.comKnow More