Taking the Time to Reject Fast Fashion

By Blue Future Contributor, Daniya Siddiqui.

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It is a known fact that trends come and go, especially in fashion. In today’s day and age, it’s important to be aware of how fast a trend is coming and going.

Micro-trends are defined as “fashion trends that quickly rise in popularity and fall even faster.” In the past few months, popular micro-trends have included patchwork jeans and flashy crochet tops.

While this may seem like a negligible topic, buying micro-trends contributes to fast fashion. Since these trends are overlooked within months of their peak in consumption, companies have to keep up with production of new micro-trends every month.

This means companies will use unethical labor sources like child labor to make the production process quicker; they know they can get away with paying children lower salaries, so they spend less money paying people and gain more profit. This allows customers to quickly participate in a trend that will disappear in a few weeks.

Often, companies who supply micro-trends are some of the most unsustainable: SHEIN, Zaful, Forever 21… the list goes on. They have some of the highest levels of carbon emissions and are users of hazardous chemicals, contributing to the ever-growing climate crisis. These stores are the epitome of the fast fashion industry, and yet, their low prices attract consumers, so the demand for their products stays high, allowing them to generate a great amount of profit.

In recent years, micro-trends have been promoted on social media platforms like TikTok. In fact, some people, including fashion influencers, make a living promoting these trends. They encourage viewers to participate in micro-trends by presenting them to their followers as their “new favorite pieces.” This promotion is totally fine, but a couple months after, influencers call their recently-loved pieces “cheugy,” or outdated.

Influencers commonly have large audiences that listen to their advice — when they promote items, their followers will want to buy them. But what happens when influencers say products are outdated?

When trends are deemed ‘out of style’, people will generally agree, especially when it is their favorite influencer who asserted this opinion. The issue is that people often do not know what to do with their recently-purchased items that they now wish to get rid of. With pure intentions, they often donate to places like Goodwill; however, roughly 5% of Goodwill donations go to landfills. In the big picture, micro-trends and their promotion creates a great amount of waste.

On average, Americans throw away roughly 70 pounds of clothing each year!

This has a detrimental effect on the environment and is contributing to the issues that fast fashion brings about. Donating to Goodwill is still better than throwing pieces away, though.

Though it may seem like everything you do is harmful in some way, there are always better options: donating to a trusted, local organization or upcycling your clothes.

However, the best option is to restrict your participation in trends solely to ones that you believe match your personal style. Aside from contributing to fast fashion, micro-trends have no real benefit for the person who buys them, unless they truly speak to one’s personal style.

Participating in trends that you truly love will allow for more long-term benefit, as you will likely wear the clothes for a longer period of time. Along with that, you will not be contributing to the issue of overconsumption, which is the result of frequently participating in so many micro-trends that you may lose taste for within weeks.

Reflecting on my own purchases, I have realized that I am guilty of participation in micro-trends. I, too, have bought something that I hated within a month of the purchase. As I have learned more about micro-trends and the influence social media has on them, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is always better to think before you shop.

When buying an item, I now take a moment to ask myself “will I like this in 6 months, or even in 1 month”?

Staying away from micro-trends that you don’t truly have an affinity for will not only stop one from contributing to the issue of fast fashion, but will also allow one to grow their own personal style.

About the Author: I’m Daniya Siddiqui and my pronouns are she/her. I am a sophomore in high school from Arizona. I love to write, and have recently become an editor for a literary magazine called Ink & Feather, and I started my own Substack newsletter about fashion (another one of my interests!). I have also been involving myself in politics a lot over the past couple of years including joining the AZ High School Democrat’s communications board. Also, I’m a competitive dancer, and I spend a lot of my time in the studio as well as on the stage! I’m really excited to be a part of Blue Future’s new Writing Yourself into History program!

Blue Future is building a diverse youth movement that will inspire, mobilize and invest in young people to organize for a brighter tomorrow.