I have been thinking a whole lot over the last year about beliefs and action. I used to believe that I cared a great deal about the environment and our planet as a whole, but I sure didn’t act like it. I have been cavalier about recycling (only when it’s convenient), have made no efforts to eat less meat (not that hard!) and most importantly, have been shopping far too much at fast fashion places that I feel are too opaque when it comes to environmental, quality, and human rights standards.
When it comes to shopping, we are so tempted to keep up with trends and buy the latest it trend from whatever fast fashion retailer is selling a knockoff of. Now, I am all about staying on trend, but it really is so easy to find vintage pieces that today’s trends are derivative of (we all know that fashion is so cyclical).
I came to an epiphany about all this recently that drove me to this point of resolve. I realized that I used to be so much more comfortable with my style. I felt that I was cool just being myself, and didn’t subject myself to the torture of chasing every single trend, every single season. This, I believe is what is truly being awakened in a lot of the fashion world lately. If you were raised in the US, you know that individuality is cherished in our culture, and cannot be enjoyed when everyone dresses the same. Don’t get me wrong: I love fashion, I love designers, I love all the trends. That doesn’t mean I need to buy into every single one in order to enjoy them (Tumblr, anyone?).
I love shopping vintage and secondhand. There is something so much more fulfilling in digging out and knowing that you are reusing something in a new way. It not only makes for so many more interesting outfits, but these items seem to stay in my closet so much longer. Vintage shopping means helping the environment, but it also means so much more to me.
On a deeper level, I grew up stopping by the local Goodwill after school with my mother and sisters almost every day. My mother taught us to utilize these pieces to foster our individuality and style. She was not only beautiful, but fiercely independent and stylish. She wore high heels and red lipstick every single day. She wore vintage dresses that left such imprints that people still remember them almost 20 years later. Once she wore this red and gold sleeveless dress from the 70’s to my sister’s graduation and completely stole the show in a sea of black shifts and graduation gowns. She passed away and I feel I am diminishing her legacy-what she taught me about personality-every time I walk into a fast fashion store and succumb to the temptation to buy all the things.
Furthermore, countless times I have wasted money and gone into debt just because I wanted to keep up with the latest trend. I have realized that because they are so easy to acquire, they have become so much more dispensable than my vintage and secondhand pieces. And so, as someone who sells vintage clothing not just because it’s fun but because of my own beliefs, I want to try to limit as much as possible purchases of new things, and instead look for unique secondhand and vintage pieces to add to my already overstuffed collection of clothing, shoes, and accessories. When I do buy new pieces, it will be to fill a specific need, and to purchase from companies and sellers that are of quality construction and are at least transparent about their practices.
Of course, I understand that this is a baby step, yet I think this is my first fully conscious and deliberate step away from consumption and towards support of the environment and the planet. This was also a very deliberate step inwards, coming back to my own version of center, where I can be more satisfied sartorially.