In September, I made two purchases, both from mainstream fast fashion labels. Though I earnestly aim to support ethical brands, there are instances where I deviate.
For me, the journey towards ethical consumption is less about perfection and more about evolving my habits and moderating my shopping pace. Acquiring a plethora of items, regardless of them being sustainably crafted or second-hand, remains excessive consumption.
To foster more thoughtful shopping behaviors, I’ve adopted strategies to deeply contemplate potential acquisitions — and they’ve proven effective! My current buying frequency is significantly reduced compared to the past. (I’ve detailed some revealing statistics from the previous year for reference). Nowadays, a majority of my purchases are consciously aligned with ethical brands.
Reasons To Buy Fast Fashion
But sometimes fast fashion happens. And I think that’s OK. My recent purchase of a blazer from J. Crew illustrates why you might go for a fast fashion item, even when you’re a conscious consumer.
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1. Your size is available.
Many ethical fashion brands are smaller operations that may not produce your size. I’m petite. Often I’m able to make that work when it comes to an ethical brand. I scour reviews and when people complain about something being too short, that’s a hint that it might work for me. With pants I look for ankle or cropped lengths (which become regular length on me.) Or I just take things to the tailor and pay the short person tax for hemming.
The right size means I’m more likely to feel good in it and wear it.
But altering a blazer is a lot of work — and a pricey proposition. I’d rather just find a well-cut blazer in the right size in the first place. The right size means I’m more likely to feel good in it and wear it. I’ve only come across a few ethical brands with petite sizing: Eileen Fisher, Universal Standard, and Reformation. Eileen Fisher’s blazer styles didn’t appeal to me, and while I did find this Universal Standard petite blazer, it was polyester — a material I’m trying to avoid. So, I went to J. Crew because I knew they’d have more options for me.
2. It fits your budget.
Let’s face it. Responsibly-made items cost more and are out of reach for many people. While I’m willing to pay more for a higher-quality, ethically-made piece, I also need to stick to a budget. With sales and a coupon, I was able to buy the J. Crew blazer at a significant discount that comfortably fit my budget.
3. The details are right.
Whether it’s the color, an aspect of the design, the sleeve length, or whatever detail you have in mind, I find that if I’m feeling picky about something, it’s best to stick to my vision or I’ll just end up feeling dissatisfied with my purchase. In this case, I was looking for a dark-ish camel color, and J. Crew had it.