Facebook advertisements tailor their content to tell you exactly what trendy clothing you need to buy now.
Newspaper advertisements declare sales you can’t afford to miss.
Television commercials encourage you to buy a whole new wardrobe for winter.
These ever-present advertisements are pieces of the fast-fashion market we need to fight.
Stores such as Forever 21, H&M, Gap and Zara are just a few examples of fast-fashion culprits.
Each store focuses on providing trendy clothing at unbelievably low prices. However, these stores don’t focus on quality.
Their clothing is made from low-quality materials, making them cheap and disposable.
So, what is wrong with fast fashion and why should we fight it? To begin, fast fashion is environmentally irresponsible.
Because the clothing is so poorly built and only made to fit a trend that will soon fade, consumers are discarding these pieces into landfills at significant rates.
Also, for stores to be able to offer products at such low prices, they have to find cheap labor.
Companies will export the labor to underdeveloped countries where they can pay workers unethical wages and operate in dangerous factories.
I am not suggesting we completely boycott all the stores practicing fast fashion, but I do have some other suggestions to offer.
It is OK to go to the stores I listed above, but just don’t buy as many items.
Buy with the intention to wear every item until you no longer can, not until the trend dies.
Do you have to buy two pairs of leggings just because there is a BOGO sale?
Consider purchasing second hand clothing.
Here in Brookings, we have some great consignment stores to choose from; my personal favorite is Trendz downtown.
Patagonia, a brand already known for ethically producing sturdy items, has also begun selling previously owned Patagonia gear on their website for a discounted rate.
Purchase high-quality items.
Invest your money in a well-made pair of jeans that fits and will last two years, rather than buying five poor quality pairs each year.
You will get more for your money if you splurge on basic items like black tees and durable bottoms instead of constantly replacing cheap ones that break down.
And if an item does rip or does not quite fit the way you’d like, find a local seamstress who can repair the item or take it in.
You’re benefitting your community as much as your check book.
So before you pick up three pairs of $20 jeans, think about whether or not they’ll be able to last you as long as something made with quality in mind.
Micayla Ter Wee is a secondary education Spanish major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.