Friday, February 22, 2013

Review of a Review of a Book about Fast Fashion

My friend Liz Colville wrote this great review of Overdressed by Elizabeth L. Cline

Should We Give Up 'Fast Fashion'?
$15.26 Overdressed on Amazon

A great point that Liz takes from Elizabeth's book is that fast fashion places like H&M and F21 are re-setting people's ideas of what clothing should cost. When you are used to seeing tops for $15, buying a mid-priced or luxury item seems exorbitantly more expensive.

So now mid-range brands are skimping on materials and manufacturing to better compete on price, and then end up being low quality as well.
Even designer brands like Luis Vuitton have moved manufacturing to cheaper places like China with lower quality control standards.

That means that the "good" brands aren't guaranteed to be high quality anymore either.

At first, that might make you want to throw your hands up and say "Well, if everything is made cheaply now, I might as well buy the cheap cheaply made stuff instead of the expensive cheaply made stuff."

But there are other alternatives like buying vintage, or buying used from thrift stores.
In general, if you see an item that's already been worn and it is still in good shape, you can guess that it has a few more years of wear in it left.

Also, you can buy handmade items or items directly from the seller, which means that the people making the goods take pride in their quality. Etsy can be a good example of this, but local designers might be even better. The more you interface with the maker of the stuff, the more pressure there is for that stuff not to disappoint you.

I still have not read this book, but after reading so many reviews of it, I think I get it.
The idea of buying fewer, higher quality items from companies whose working practices you respect is not a new idea. And it is a good idea.
But I don't think I'll ever be convinced that trendy pieces should be made to last, or that I will outgrow impulse buys and the lure of cheap gifts to myself.

Because I'm lucky and live in NYC, most of my shopping is at sample sales where I can get high quality stuff marked wayyyy down, or at Beacon's Closet or other used clothing stores that have a lot of cool stuff and frequent turnover.
But I do still shop at fast fashion places, and I could cut down.
I imagine if I lived somewhere that didn't have sample sales and good thrift shopping, I'd be at H&M a lot more often.

What do you guys think?

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