I just want to start by saying this is not Ewamay brand related and that even in my early days with the Ewamay brand the brand personally has always been conscious of ethical manufacturing in our production. Our sewers are all paid premium wages for the work that they do, out of a small 4 person shop in Mexico. So let’s set that aside and discuss what pushed me forward in this break up with fast fashion in my own personal consumption.
But first what is fast fashion anyways? Fast fashion is the business model of replicating recent catwalk trends and high-fashion designs, mass-producing them at a low cost, and bringing them to retail stores quickly while demand is at its highest. The term fast fashion is also used generically to describe the products of the fast fashion business model. These companies often have unethical practices, including the unethical working conditions of factory workers and the over production of their items is very bad for the environment because at the end of a season they are left with upwards of 30% overage.
So what was my breaking point in why I didn’t want to participate in consuming fast fashion anymore? With myself I started recognizing a few things. One of the MAJOR reasons for my break up with fast fashion was I was beginning to become a shopping addict. I was so into shopping for myself and the family that I was ordering boxes and boxes of clothing so I could get the latest trends. Now don’t get me wrong I was returning 80% of the items but I was shopping so so much. When your spending $2,000 for a family buy at Zara and you return 80% of the items your still left with a lot of pieces. This was something I was doing fairly often. Our closets were overflowing and getting ready was actually becoming harder. Something snapped and I got sick of trying to keep up with trends and micro trends mostly because we were over them quickly and purging was happening to often. Purging items became such an annoying task and I always felt wasteful when doing it. I was donating bag after bag of endless items every year. This couldn’t be healthy for the environment and sure the clothes would find a temporary home. Now this led me into my next realization.
My second ah-ha moment was when I felt that my own personal style wasn’t as fun as it had been because I was just becoming an extension of the trends. I grew up thrifting and finding unique pieces. I used to LOVE the hunt at the thrift store. Finding that one gem of a piece to add to your closet collection that no one else had. Because I was shopping so many trends everything I had started to become and feel so mainstream . I felt like because of this I was lacking that fun flair of a personal style I had when I took more time curating what I wanted and what I thought reflected my personal style.
Because I was feeling like this I started doing research and listening to some podcasts about fashion waste and I really felt enlightened and validated that I was feeling the way I was feeling. The current path I was on was the wrong path for me. It’s worth mentioning the alarming amount of fashion excess waste that ends up in land fills in our country. We also ship to other countries and they don’t have the capacity and man power to process all these tons of pounds of clothes we are sending over. Many garments end up in the ocean or in some 3rd world countries water supply collecting bacteria creating new diseases. I knew I couldn’t be apart of this fashion waste anymore. These were just the subsequent things I discovered after I did more research after my ah-ha moments. I will share more of these things moving forward. I think the general consumer doesn’t really understand how bad the fashion industry has become. It so inhumane that people and often kids are chained to their sewing machines working in the worst conditions. Conditions so bad that entire manufacturing plants have collapsed and killed hundreds of people because it’s much cheaper to neglect a building.
How do I personally move forward with my own consumption and the brands consumption?
At Ewamay we will continue to do what we have been doing with our sewing and manufacturing team. As for our materials we use, we will use fibers that are natural which have a cycle and can break down over time and we will no stay away from polyester and materials that don’t break down overtime because after all polyester is plastic. As far as material sourcing moving forward we will use post consumer fabrics as well as ONLY deadstock (we currently already use mostly deadstock but not limited.)
What does this mean for my shopping habit? I plan to take a pause from buying anything really. Moving forward I will be staying away from fast fashion brands and focus on brands that do not encompass fast fashion practices. I will work to get away from a stigma and style of what’s trending and get back on track with developing a real sense of my own personal style. AND most importantly I will shop more second hand and a whole lot of beautiful vintage!
As far as trends go, I still want to be pushed and challenged and inspired by trends but don’t want them to define me. It’s more important to get back to my roots of having a curated individual style. So I’m saying goodbye to a new box of 25 fast fashion pieces that are soon to be purged.
I hope this serves as a piece to help you stop and pause and really think about your relationship with fashion. Do you find that your wearing the next it shoe, jean, top, dress or short? Maybe you have the exact same shoe/Jean/top/idea as your friends and you all show up wearing it because it feels safe. I know that within our community and others the middle and high school girls often dress like copycats of the current trends while all wearing the exact same thing. It’s kind of sad because they are not being true to themselves and their own personal style. Be original, be you, love your style! Be inspired by those around you but it’s okay if we don’t show up like carbon copies because well that’s SO BORING. Fashion allows us to extend how we feel, who we are and it’s the biggest statement we can make. Maybe you have not got as caught up as I have (and it’s actually half embarrassing writing this) but taking a pause regardless of where you are at and really deciding which direction you want to go in is the pause we all need!