How to Quit Fast Fashion Trends & Shop More Intentionally

Elif Ilayda Karakullukcu

A couple of weeks ago, an ad for a pair of zebra printed pants popped up in my feed on Instagram. Check out our new collection, the caption stated. Up until that point, I've been seeing zebra prints all over my feed and explore page. From bags to shirts to pants to even hair accessories. Zebra was in this season and Instagram made sure I knew it. I decided to wait a bit as I’ve been trying to shop more intentionally instead of buying things immediately.

Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

When I finally got into the store a week later, there was nothing with zebra print on the mannequins. I showed a photo of the pants to one of the workers and she informed me that there weren’t any left as these were from the previous collection. Waiting had led me to miss this trend and even if I could magically procure these pants, I would be late as my feed had also carried on. No more zebra prints, but earth-toned sweaters and leather jackets. New ads, same captions. Check out our new collection.

So how can you keep up with the new trends while also shopping intentionally?

The answer is quite simple, you can’t.

We all know that trends are not reliable, on the contrary, they are quite fickle. Just look at the early 2000s. Even the mention of low rise jeans causes an uproar today, while they were “the thing” back then. Before diving deep into this question, we need to acknowledge that trends are social constructs manifested mostly by fast fashion brands to keep the audience engaged. There may be four seasons in a year, but not in the fast fashion world. It feels as if there is always a new collection on the runway, a new display on store windows, influencers wearing new pieces. We gaze at the new trends because the fashion world demands our attention, but we want more than to gaze. I wanted those zebra pants because I wanted to be a part of this glamorous world. Without it, there is a sense of missing out. Still, my experience tells me even if I got the pants, this belonging would not last long and I would maybe chase a leather skirt or a new hoodie next month.

So, the question is never really how you can keep up with the fast fashion trends, but how you can stop the endless chase.

The fashion world is built upon constantly wanting more, it is never enough. So, our advice is quite simple to say, but hard to act upon: let go because you are enough!

Ya basic! 

We know it’s hard to ease into this mentality. So, we offer a cheat to be “trendy”: basics. They are called basics for a reason and they are immune to the fickle nature of fashion. Get some basic pieces such as a pair of well-fitting jeans, white sneakers, some gold accessories. You can wear them anytime and no one would think twice. It’s a great way to be stylish without the immediate need to buy more.

Be inspired

Trends don’t necessarily mean to shop more, let them be inspirations for you. Take new trends, bring a twist, and make them your own. No need to rush to the stores, use what you already have. And don’t worry DIY is always trending, just look at everyone’s homemade tie-dye sweatpants during the quarantine. With a personal touch, you are not following a trend, but creating one. Get that black paint and draw some stripes.

Appreciate your closet

We’ve all seen those TikTok videos and Instagram reels. The influencers on our feeds are magical, changing their outfits with a snap of a finger or a jump. They seem to have an outfit for each trend, each event. But, do you need this many outfits? Before jumping onto a new trend, it’s always important to ask yourself this: Do I need these clothes? Don’t forget being so-called trendy is a never-ending mission. Do you really want to clutter your life with excessive amounts of clothing? And let’s be real, our closet space wouldn’t be able to keep up with it anyways. So, appreciate what you already have. Bring your favourite pieces upfront, wear them more. Let your closet exist without the burden of keeping up with the trends.

Photo by Liza Summer from Pexels

Small & local

If you think your closet can handle one more piece of clothing, and you want to be a part of a new trend, go local and small. Supporting small businesses instead of the fast fashion brands will give these businesses a voice within the fashion world. And we believe everyone should be able to have a voice.

Your style

Don’t buy something just because it’s trending, but buy pieces that fit your style. Remember, trends come and go while these clothes will remain in your closet. When the shoes you buy match your style, you will be able to continue wearing them even when the “trendy” label is taken away. So, think about what you want and need, not what is on the runways or on your feed.

Work that confidence

Last, but not least, wear everything with confidence. People may doubt your sense of fashion, but remember, this is your moment and yours is the only opinion that matters. You don’t need trends to be stylish when you are confident. Why do you think models on runways walk with such confidence? Challenge the fashion world with your own sense of style and believe us, you will be glamorous.

This article was first published in November 2020.

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