My first realisation that all was not well in the world of fast fashion had nothing to do  with ethics, or sweat shops.

It was my own sense of recurrent dissatisfaction. No matter how fast I shopped, and how many ‘hauls’ of new clothes I brought home, nothing ever looked right. Those Clothes were not comfortable. Shapes and silhouettes changed so fast I never had the right shoes! Or the right coat or something. I bought more shoes and more coats, but that did not solve the problem.

The ever spinning world of Zara, Banana Republic and H&M was moving too fast for us to see the truth. There was no time to appreciate quality, absorb, colour and texture. Learning how to dress well, was becoming a lost art. In fact, fast fashion, was moving fast trying to disguise the fact that the clothes were so incredibly shabby. There was no finesse, no delicate colour, no tactile fabric – everything was a shadow of the original vision.

Mind you – the quality of older version Zara and Top shop was practically couture in comparison to what was to follow. PRIMARK, tesco and its US counterparts. Clothes unapologetically designed to be ‘low cost’. No waste in the seams, no lining, no invisible hemming. (Anyone even knows what the hem of a dress should like any more? )

So although we could now all buy the ‘latest fashion’ and enjoy the thrill of something new, none of it actually looked good. The little Dior look alike outfit, was an ugly caricature of the real deal.

Of course only the cognoscenti would know the difference between a pair of trousers with French seams and one with plain stitching. That, I was to learn, is just the kind of detail that makes the difference between looking tres chic or tres dishevelled.

Detail and good finish, is relatively expensive to do. It requires a certain level of skill and is not immediately apparent to the untrained eye of a casual shopper. Why pay more for something you can’t see? When most people talk about quality these days, it is not very clear, what it means. It’s been a very long time since we’ve seen any sort of quality in our clothes and the bar is set pretty low.

Ways to become educated about quality is handling clothes pre 1950s, visiting places like the V&A or frequenting some of those outrageously priced shops in Bond Street. Never go by the label or the brand. In the next couple of posts, I will be including some of my own choices, contemporary offerings of  excelent quality at various price points.

The truth is fast fashion exploits everyone – including us, the consumers. The constant shopping choice can become clutter for the mind and none of us ever have a chance to look our best. We never develop the much talked about, personal style.

Oscar de la Renta once said of American wardrobes in the 1980’s “how can they ever look chic? There is too much choice!” Nowadays with the help of PRIMARK – we can outdo any American sized wardrobe.

Why in heavens name, these ladies need so many clothes in one go? I would find it impossible to get dressed and be out of the door, if I had that much choice.

Fast fashion with artificially low prices encourages people to ‘binge buy’. Why in heavens name, these ladies need so many clothes in one go?

Part 3 of my battle against fast fashion to follow, and some light solutions

The fight against evil
The fight against evil must go on, please help to spread the word or make a donation to Save the Elephant from extinction. Whatever you can give makes a difference.

© Ladysarahinlondon


7 thoughts on “Real Fashion Vs Fast fashion #2 (and how to save the planet and look good to boot)

  1. couldashouldawoulda9

    Great job highlighting these issues! It’s something that is brushed aside when talking about shopping and fashion but there’s more to it but those bright lights and pumped oxygen also seems to have an effect.

  2. dottoressa

    Exact! One of your best posts,pointing how we are manipulated all the way
    I was just thinking the other day about how a lot of people,especially young ones,who haven’t money, are put under too much pressure,trying not only to identify with so called “role models” on web but as well to compare with peers,fashion spinning so fast,as you well pointed.
    Fast fashion exploits them (and their parents) in even uglier way than us
    Looking forward 🙂

  3. Sharron

    I love when i get a notification that you have another post. I make a cup of tea and settle down and contemplate the matters you discuss. Thank you.

    I read a book called It’s vintage darling! How to be a clothes connoisseur Christa Weil a few years back i don’t really enjoy vintage clothes (except handbags) but the section it had on how to spot quality was excellent. I have ordered it from the library to re educate myself. I think too that spotting quality is a lost art and one that needs resurrecting. Once or twice i have seen ‘Primark Haul’ videos on youtube and i’ shouting out ‘WHY’ nobody ever needs that amount of clothes!

    Loving this series Lady Sarah!

    Sharron x

  4. silkpathdiary

    It’s true, once you know how things are meant to be made (to last) and the fabrics, it’s very easy to understand and adjust to a better wardrobe all round. I am going through my closets now and there only remains some Zara tailored pants or semi tailored, everything else had long, long gone. I think they only lasted because of the tailored element. Oh and one machine washable navy knit blazer by H&M (4 + yrs old) which I knew was a complete fluke at the time and still do.


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