In today’s world, growing up as a teen is hard. There are certain expectations we have to meet, and there are pressures that no other generation has had to face to this extent. We are pressured to be perfect, and since we live in a world full of social media and connections, it is even harder to meet the high standards. This is why we sometimes take the easy way out- so we can get a break.
Our public image plays a large role in who we are. Many teens look up to famous influencers from popular platforms such as Instagram, Tik Tok, or celebrities and models from our favorite movies, shows and brands. Teenagers follow these celebrities and get inspired by their clothing choices- this is where fast fashion begins to crawl into the picture.
There are 3 main reasons teens turn to fast fashion when buying new clothes. These reasons include the lower price range, the trendy clothing, and the popularity of this fad.
Most teens are aware that fast fashion is bad, but they do not feel the need to look into the details of the industry, or they feel the humanitarian and environmental issues are not large enough to be stopped. Because of this, they continue to purchase from these companies, and continue the cycle.
The attractiveness of fast fashion can be played out, and there are other solutions.
Stereotypes say teenagers love shopping. Unfortunately, this generalization is not too far-fetched. Big name brands release new styles on the runways, and teenagers become obsessed with recreating the looks. Sadly, most of the clothing that is made by famous luxury brands are too expensive for a teenager’s small budget. So, they turn to cheap brands such as Fashion Nova, a company known for creating copycat versions of luxury brand clothing. (Check out 16 Times Fashion Nova Was Slammed For Ripping Off It’s Designs.)
The best part about shopping from places such as Forever 21, or Shein, is that they sell clothing that is both cheap AND popular. This may seem like a steal, until you begin to consider the terrible cheap quality of clothing, and the speed at which the clothing they sell goes out of fashion. The basis of these brands is releasing new styles every week, and expecting the crowds to keep up with it. A former Accessories Specialist and Visual Merchandiser at Forever 21 states that new merchandise is released nearly every day. This is the epitome of Fast Fashion. They create cheap clothing that is unable to sustain more than 5 washes, forcing buyers to come back and buy even more clothing. In addition, the clothing that does not break after a few washes, is so out of style by the time new trends take over- the buyer is instantly bored and they want to purchase more. This leads to an incredible amount of waste.
Despite all this, there is still a certain appeal, to be able to buy fashionable clothing without making a dent in your wallet. To help get out of this cycle of constant buying from these unsustainable companies, is to remember that over time, as trends rapidly change, there will be a build up and you will essentially be wasting money. Rather than always constantly buying, convincing yourself it will not hurt your wallet because you are buying cheap textiles, invest in more expensive, good quality, classic clothing. Clothes that never go out of style, which can be paired in an endless amount of ways without it seeming repetitive. Fast Fashion will never be able to accomplish what the classics can. It is better to occasionally buy clothing that is slightly more expensive, yet classic, rather than continuously purchasing cheap, trendy clothes with short lifelines.
Seasonal trends have evolved into fads. According to Mark Schneider Design, “fads are short-lived. Typically, fads last for a total of one season, but they can also last less than a month. Fads are novelty driven fashion choices. A fad is often referred to as “catching on” with the larger population, but will often fade as quickly as it appeared.”
Brands such as Fashion Nova launch 600-900 new singles each week, according to the CEO (Fast Fashion, Explained). This rapid rate of production triggers the desire to purchase more clothing, leading to more waste.
The superficial need to stay updated with trends and always be up-to-date is understandable, if not relatable. It requires one to see the larger picture, in order to understand the strategy. Trends are changing faster than ever, only to provoke consumer interest, and attract more buyers. The faster newer clothes are being produced, the more waste is created and improperly disposed of. Teenagers want to stay on track, they want to show the world they know what they are wearing, but in this case, it is better to stay out of the cycle.
Seeing new styles of appealing clothing all over the internet is just the cherry on top. Social media heightens the fast fashion industry, as it provides the most effective way of advertisement and customer gain.
A lot of it comes down to wanting to be perceived in a “cool” way, or wanting to impress the people around you. To show you have a good fashion sense and you are always on the top of your game. It’s part of being a teenager.
In the end, it is important to consider the larger effects your actions can have, despite the fact that it may have a short-term benefit for you.
Always think about the bigger picture; play the long game.