Definitely the biggest change that comes from shopping conventional, fast fashion to sustainable style is the STICKER SHOCK. Makes sense, since fast fashion has driven the cost of our favorite trends way down. But, as you read on my intro post, the true cost is much greater.
Why cheap fashion has a deadlier cost
To be honest, though the price tags were really low, my fast fashion habit was making me go broke!
Shopping was my hobby. I always clicked on the offers in my inbox, and used my “loyal customer” discounts religiously. Of course, I had to keep adding to cart to make the shipping minimum… and go over it. I got such a rush from my multiple steals in the clearance sections at the mall, but those small purchases added up. Plus, I can now admit that I didn’t come home always loving everything I bought in my frenzy to not pass up on a good deal.
I had equated browsing, shopping, and buying constantly with fashion. Now, I’m doing things a little differently. Fashion is once again about versatility, story, and art for me- it’s once again about style.
Now that Fall and Fall Fashion are fully underway, I've been thinking back to the big event (for me) of Fashion Week MN- the Arc's Value Village Pop-Up! Michelle had been been pulling product for months across Arc’s Value Village locations, and I was excited to help Michelle style, and to be a live mannequin for the event. (A unique take to models and mannequins that only Michelle would discover and apply!)
The Day Of: I had never been to the Northrup King Building before, which is where the event was held on a late September Saturday- what a cool place! It’s got studios, gorgeous boutiques, home goods galleries, and more hidden treasures lining the hallways. Plus, it has its own parking lot which is so rare that I have to call it out! I got there at about 9:30 AM, with bags of product for my and one of the models I had styled, Robina's, looks. I had found some amazing vintage looks and was pumped to get to work!
There’s no doubt that I’m more of a Summer girl, but I love Fall for a few reasons- sunny days, crisp air, and most importantly, Fall Fashion. After following along in New York's and Milan’s fashion weeks, I was beyond excited for Minnesota’s unique take with Fashion Week MN.
The first event I attended was award-winning local designer Danielle Everine's. She's a Project Runway alumni, and her Fall/Winter collection this year was inspired by Matryoshka nesting dolls and their predecessors, Japanese Daruma dolls. Her show was at a local gallery, City Wide Artists. It’s a really cool space, right on Nicollet Ave. The place was lighting the street up- there was a crowd of people talking and laughing outside. I met up with my girl Emmi Ro and we headed inside, which was packed and buzzing with stylish personas many who I recognized as favorite local fashion icons- obviously looking fab!
Instead of a traditional runway, the event had a very interactive feel. When we first walked in, we got 3D glasses. The venue was bright, and the walls were lined with beautiful paintings and photographs. We checked out some of the art- it was extremely powerful, and there was a book that explained the significance many of the pieces had to culture, race, and more.
We got there right on time- soon, the atmosphere quieted and everyone moved to provide a path for the models.
Pencil skirts are my jam but many of my clients aren’t fans of skirts- of any kind! When I dug a little more, I found that it wasn’t skirts they didn’t love- they just weren’t sure how to wear them, and usually hated the idea of tucking in a tee or top. Since tucking in is my go-to look, I had fun finding other ways to style them with skirts.
Here are three untucked ways to rock those skirts stuffed in the back of your closet:
In other news, I’m absolutely loving this pastel pink skirt - the color, the fit, and the feel is amazing. It’s super soft and comfy, so I decided to check out the fabric on the care label. I found out that it’s made of rayon, which is sometimes hailed as a more environmentally friendly fabric. Naturally, I wanted to dig in and learn more.
When culottes first made an appearance in cool girl magazines and insta feeds, painful memories of gauchos from high school came flooding in. *Shudder* I remember feeling like I was walking the halls with two capes fluttering around my calves. Gauchos never fit quite right, not for lack or trying, or seemed to truly coordinate with any top or shoes I paired them with.
Thankfully, culottes are a hundred times more fab than gauchos. And not just culottes, but everything about the comfy chic trend- I’m absolutely in love with harem pants, wide leg pants, palazzos, culottes, joggers, jumpsuits, and the list goes on. Looking like a boss while essentially wearing my PJs to work?! Sign me up! This minimalist culotte jumpsuit I snagged at the Urban Outfitters surplus store on a trip to Chicago (the only one in the country!) is one of my fav ways of looking like I’m way cooler than I actually am.
I’m in love with classic white pieces, and this Banana Republic top is one of my favs. I created this outfit by ‘shopping my closet’- and a friend at work actually asked me if the top was new! Score.
Shopping your closet is easier than you think. Here are three things I’ve found helpful-
Though I absolutely love this piece and styling it different ways, I also decided to dig in to Banana Republic, one of my favorite places to find unique pieces like this top.
It's been a month since I broke up with Fast Fashion.
Which means I got out of a long term relationship…with the mall. *Collective gasp of disbelief from anyone who knows me.* I know. It hurts to say. I’ve often pledged my love for the Mall of America, usually followed by a groan by those who grew up in Minneapolis. (Or lived here longer than a month?) MOA is the largest Mall in the US; there are over 520 stores in this gigantore p(a)lace. That’s right. It’s the stuff of my shopaholic dreams, and others’ nightmares- always crowded, full of tourists, lacking parking.
My shopping addiction has been with me as long as I can remember. And I’ve been shopping cheap clothes since I was wearing pigtails. I grew up shopping sales and clearance racks and factory outlets, thanks to my lovely Indian parents who instilled the value of good deals in me. But I distinctly remember being annoyed with them for picking up shirts and feeling the quality and materials they were spending money on. Back then, I never got why they wouldn’t spend money on clothes at Forever 21- who cares if they fell apart? Middle school me needed that matching bubblegum sweat suit with the vague phrases on it. (Possibly a weird combination of VS PINK and Juicy Couture all at a knockoff price? Not my best outfit…)
Looking back.. I finally get it. When I started shopping for myself, I ran straight to cheap, trendy clothing. I don’t have just one ‘style’- I like to switch up my looks and outfits. I love the feeling of buying new fun pieces, and like my parents, I love the feeling of scoring a great deal.
But clothing like that- fast fashion- only seems cheap. Its real cost is deadly… literally. In 2013, 1300 workers died in Bangladesh when the Rana Plaza factory collapsed, not to mention the 600 deaths between 2005 and 2013 from factory fires. Take a second to think about that. Almost 2000 lives taken or ruined so I could score that tee under ten dollars. Families destroyed, communities affected- Meanwhile, we keep shopping, big companies keep buying, factories keep underpaying and running in unsafe conditions… it’s a vicious cycle.