Article reposted from My Modern Closet
By Brittany Tiplady
In my late teens and early 20’s my best friend and I were Value Village regulars. With not much else to do in the suburbs, we spent our free time sifting through the racks and finding treasures that served as bragging rights. My personal favourite was finding little boy jeans, cutting them into the perfect high-waisted denim shorts (for Sasquatch, of course), and pairing them with an oversized crocheted sweater.
Many of the gems found during this time remain a staple of my wardrobe year after year. A pair of 90’s Doc Marten hiking boots that get me through every Winter. A Club Monaco button-down that pairs perfectly with any pair of jeans. These items have a story.
My history with thrift shopping makes me wonder: how do one’s shopping habits evolve over time? In the 90’s, toys were advertised on neon TV commercials with chipper children in overalls. I fell for every one, adding them to my hefty holiday wish list with gusto, wishing to wake up to a tree flooded with gifts.
Moving into my early teens, my shopping habits were strained. It’s that strange time in our youth, when some of us are bringing in a little coin from a Friday night job at the movie theatre, but still mainly at the financial mercy of our parents. The popular crowd in high-school was the kryptonite of teenage advertising: Dorinha jeans, puffy skate shoes, Triple 5 Soul jackets.
Somehow, in the midst of adult-life chaos, I ditched consignment for convenience. Cut to my mid-twenties: half-asleep, late night scrolling Facebook, coming across a Gap ad for 50% the entire store, and falling into a rabbit hole of online shopping.
Admittedly, I am new to the anti-fast fashion movement. Living in Vancouver often means living with little disposable income, and as such, shopping for clothing often means shopping for the most affordable option. I currently work 2 full-time jobs while juggling a start-up business and still manage to barely make it to the next pay period. Fast fashion might be hard on our planet, but it was easy on my tight budget, and even tighter schedule.
Grabbing the $29.99 number at H&M is often the most viable option for a girl who can’t just waltz into a Gastown boutique to purchase a locally made blouse. But in many cases, that $29.99 garment is worn once and tossed aside. Sometimes, it is never worn at all and sits in the back of the closet with the tag still intact. Rinse and repeat.
When I began engaging in the conversation surrounding sustainable shopping and becoming more conscious of where I was sourcing my clothing, I realized that I was a poster woman for consumerism. My fast fashion addiction was real. Beyond my need for affordable and accessible clothing was my consistent fast-fashion mindset that if a dress was marked down to $10.00, that meant I needed it.
Beginning to shop with intention and mindfulness meant becoming more educated on what I was buying and who was making each item. In becoming more educated on slow fashion, I’ve realized that the most loved items in my closet are ones that I snagged years ago. That dress, those shoes, my signature silk blouse: all staples that I cherish and will continue to for years to come. Why? Because those items make me feel like me. They enhance my femininity, accentuate my curves, and help me conquer the day with confidence.
The process of becoming more involved in the anti-fast fashion movement doesn’t mean that we can never step into a department store or that we’ll never fall for an enticement of an inbox filled with “sale ends at midnight,” ads. We’re human, after all.
We can take those baby steps towards becoming a conscious consumer this year by choosing to shop with intention – just the way we did when shopping at thrift stores for the perfect music festival cut-offs. Giving up fast-fashion doesn’t mean having to give up on the thrill of a great find. Shopping with intention means taking a pause.
Brittany Tiplady is a part-time poet, a full-time Nasty Woman, and the co-founder of Loose Lips Magazine. She loves the indoors, fast wifi, collecting maps, and a generous glass of red wine. She is a self-proclaimed wizard of time management, and a notorious loud talker with a penchant for all things Internet.