In my twenties I wasn’t able to hold on to a pair of sunglasses for longer than a few weeks, sometimes even less than a day. I would accidentally sit on them or leave them on the beach. It made me hesitant to invest in a decent pair of sunglasses. It would be a waste of my money since I would clumsily destroy or loose them.
When I turned thirty, my younger sister gave me her Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses. And it turned out I was capable of keeping my sunglasses alive. Simply because I was more careful with them. I knew the value of Ray-Bans and treated them as such. I realised it was never my chaotic character on which, until then, I’d put the blame for systemically ruining my cheaper glasses. It was a subconscious calculated move. I just didn’t think cheaper sunglasses were worthy of my attention and care.
The same can be said about the clothes we purchase at fast fashion stores. It’s a vicious cycle in which we treat our cheaper clothes as shit, and as a result they fall apart faster than the more expensive design clothes which we do find worthy of hand washes, mending and air drying.
The biggest, most patronising and condescending mistake we are making right now is to believe that cheap fashion is so badly made that it doesn’t merit being repaired.Orsalo de Castro
This insight didn’t came by myself. I want to thank Orsalo de Castro for this. She’s one of the founders and Creative Director of Fashion Revolution, and an internationally recognised opinion leader in sustainable fashion. One of her recent Instagram posts struck such a cord with me:
Fast fashion has become almost synonymous with low quality. And I have to admit, I’ve done my part in this, encouraging my friends to invest in quality instead of fast fashion. Nothing wrong with that advice, but it’s not a given all fast fashion is made to rip or shrink within a few months.
It’s the sum of marketing and our own psyche that make us believe fast fashion isn’t made to be loved, to be kept and to be cared for
When I was 21 my ex boyfriend gave me a black Zara dress that is still beautiful up to this date. I’ve refreshed the black color once by dying it and mended the straps, and it’s still going strong. I’ve purchased several second hand clothes from Zara, H&M, Asos and Boohoo that keep up easily with my design clothes. It’s the sum of marketing and our own psyche that make us believe fast fashion isn’t made to be loved, to be kept and to be cared for. After all, there is a never-ending supply of new clothing to replace it. It’s cheaper and easier to buy new clothes than to repair them.
But if we truly want to honor garment workers, we stop seeing and treating the clothes they make as inferior. We start treasuring them.