Fast-fashion or long-term — a look at shopping habits

Everyone loves a bargain, right? Well, it turns out not everything loves a bargain. The environment for one, is certainly suffering for these so-called ‘fast-fashion’ trends.

While scooping up a dress for £5 might seem like an exciting bargain, let’s be honest, the price might be more the motivator in the purchase than the style, quality, or comfort. More and more of these fashion items just end up being worn once or twice before heading to the bin. In fact, in a survey by Method Home, of 2,000 British shoppers, nearly a fifth admitted to throwing clothes in the bin.

Plus, rather more shockingly, your wallet actually suffers for fast-fashion. For the short term, a £20 pair of shoes might look nice and last a year if you’re lucky, before wearing out. But if you have to spend £20 every year on a replacement pair, then over three years that’s £60 spent. It makes more sense to spend that £60 at the start on a pair of shoes that will last three years or more, especially if they are more comfortable and a higher quality.

The cost of fast fashion

With fashion trends changing faster than ever before, there’s an increasing pressure on consumers to change up their wardrobes faster. But, with our money only stretching so far, many of us are turning to cheaper outlets for our clothing.

Cut-cost fashion must also find somewhere to make savings along the production line. You can’t sell a £5 dress without using cheaper materials and such. This often leads to garments made quickly with non-organic fabrics. Plus, as the Independent reported, the process of dying these clothes is the second largest contributor to water pollution.

As previously mentioned, the cost of fast fashion can also extend to your own finances. While the short-term purchase may be cheaper, the cost to keep replacing the item over the years will add up. If a more expensive version will last a number of years, it could end up being comparatively cheaper.

This leads on to the durability of fast fashion. By its very nature, it is expected that the garment you have purchased will not be kept long, nor will it be expected to last for years. On the flip side, fashion with an emphasis on quality and durability will see you through. This manifests particularly in the threads lost during washing. Cheap clothes tend to shed tiny microfibres when washed, which end up polluting our oceans.

The cost of quality

Too many people incorrectly assume quality clothing is the same as expensive clothing. But, a Life Hacker rightly states, a high price doesn’t always mean high quality.

Here’s some top tips for spotting good quality shoes and clothing:

  1. Don’t look at the price tag — as mentioned before, this isn’t always an indicator or quality. People can, and will, charge good money for a poor product. Take a look at the item itself.
  2. For clothes, scrunch them up a bit take some of the material in your hand and ball it up for a few seconds, then let go. A good quality material will survive and the wrinkles will fall out. Cheap material will stay wrinkled and creased.
  3. Check the pattern matches at the seams — it’s the little things that are the biggest giveaway!
  4. Look for gaps in the stitching — an item that will last will have no gaps between stiches on the seam, and also have more stiches per inch. Take a good look at those stitches!
  5. Spares for repairs — this is like a calling card from the designer. If the item comes with spare buttons, then the item is expected to last enough for it to require a button mend at some point!

Remember, the ‘bargain’ comes in how many times you think you’ll wear the item. It’s always recommended to invest a little in timeless staples that can be mixed and matched for a variety of outfits. For example, many women court shoes are a versatile and can be used for range of occasions, so make sure to buy a quality pair to withstand all those wears! Divide its cost by the amount of times you think you’ll wear it and that will give you the cost per wear. If it’s something you’ll wear every day, definitely check the quality of the item!