October 11, 2017

Pitfalls in Avoiding Overconsumption

Image was found via Tumblr.
I spend an embarrassing amount of hours daily perfecting my Amazon wishlist by browsing online clothing destinations. In fact, my Amazon wishlist is always on standby just in case I can no longer hold back the temptation to pull out my credit card to order something online. I have continuously growing Pinterest boards, file folders, and a photo album of outfits I take inspiration from and want to recreate. I follow dozens of clothing brands I can't afford but dream of wearing or finding borderline knock-offs to emulate pieces of high fashion accessories. Many times, I stare at my closet in defeat, telling myself, "Why don't I have ANYTHING to wear?" when in fact I do have plenty of things to wear; I'm just bored and in need (I use this word loosely) of something new.

If I recall correctly, I came across the term "fast fashion" in the first semester of my sophomore year of high school. At the time, I was (and still am) madly in love with and passionate about fashion and the industry itself, and I yearned to become a master of fashion-related topics. This was also around the time when Michael Brown was killed and when I was introduced to a number of other social issues, so my discovery of fast fashion issues came in the perfect time for me to become extremely passionate as I was already interested in social justice. I vowed to never buy from fast fashion brands again, and I actually stuck to it. I don't recall ever buying fast fashion, but I must admit, my memory is pretty awful. Either way, my consumption was definitely lower than ever before in terms of clothing.

However, I began to online shop the summer before junior year, and that was when it all fell apart. Consequently, my passion for ethical and sustainable fashion just disappeared, although I continued to tell myself that I was still passionate about it, and I just needed time. However, I am now a freshman in college, and my consumption of clothing is just as bad as–if not worse than–before.

Reflecting on my current relationship with clothing, it seems to me that the issue at hand is no longer about buying the wrong things and not using my purchases, but instead, it's about not being happy and working with what I already own. Most of the items on my wishlist are actually very wearable with my current closet, but so many things in the world are. An aspect of ethical consumption is buying things that you'll actually use, and of course, I totally agree with that. However, just because you know you'll use something doesn't mean you should buy it. It's one of the most abundant and dangerous pitfalls in my journey towards ethical consumption and sustainable fashion as of yet because the reason itself is very reasonable. It's so easy to forget that while a purchase may not hurt your wallet or may seem sensible in a sense, it's impact on the environment should still override reasons of making the purchase.

I am writing this post to remind myself of who I once was and who I would like to return to, in some aspects, in the near future. I'll come back to this topic once I have figured out how to find a balance between my love of fashion and style as well as my responsibility to take care of the environment.

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