When fashion first hit the map in the way we know it today--you know, when Charles Worth started putting labels with his name on them in the garments he made--consumers were not only buying custom pieces, but making investments. We're a bit departed from that today.
Today, we quickly run to stores like Zara, H&M, or Forever 21 (me included, but I'm working on improving my ethical fashionista practices, ok?!). While those stores give us the quick fix we need, often at their risk of an infringement lawsuit, they also present problems for our pocketbooks. With a plethora of reasonably priced costume jewelry, t-shirts and dresses to last for a few wears, it's hard not to fall into the trap of spending. Unfortunately, the trap is actually a spiral.
Going back to the days of Charles Worth, garments, and probably accessories, too were made to last. Shoppers considered them investments. They may have had to wear them a bit more often than we'd like to don outfits these days, but the pieces were solid. They should have been, and should be. They were quality. Today, the garments at fast fashion outlets not only skirt the line of infringing on a designer's hard work (both established and new designers), but also put a hurting on the pocketbook--subconsciously.
What consumers aren't considering when buying 5 dresses for $100 is, "they'll be back". They'll be back soon. Those $20 dresses will only last so long before falling victim to the washing machine or an easily snapped string one way or another. At first blush, the response is--"I'll get another one." Yep, and put more money into the hands of companies with questionable labor practices or terrible corporate cultures--the discriminatory and disrespectful kind. (See Zara) We'll continue to help the owners of Zara and H&M be 2 of the 10 richest people on the planet. What's also happening is more money coming out of the consumer's pocket. Every single time a purchase is made for a quick fix, it's less money to be spent on something made of better quality; something which will last longer and wear better.
Very few of us are completely innocent in feeding this bad habit. Hopefully though, we'll all think twice when we turn down the $45 garment for 3-$50 ones. Sometimes, that's a great deal. Sometimes, it's a raw deal.
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