The surprising result of fast fashion on fashion

photo of a woman holding shopping bags
Photo by bruce mars on

There has been a lot mentioned about the negative effects of fast fashion on the environment but has anyone noticed the effect it’s having on fashion itself?  Most people who comment on this mention the faster fashion cycles.  But is a fashion cycle that lasts only a week even meaningful?  Maybe fashion victims can be bothered with checking what’s ‘in’ every week, but for most of us, we look at what others around us are wearing or at what’s in the shops.  Before fast fashion took hold, this meant that after a few weeks of the season starting, you might notice that a lot of women are wearing skirts decorated with English lace and that quite a few shops are selling English lace items, so you might think you’d like to wear some English lace too.  However, with fast fashion, the cycles are faster than a few weeks, maybe even as short as one week.  So those of us who observe fashion on the street can no longer spot the fashions emerging.  One week maybe a fashion victim here or there is wearing it, the next week it’s gone.  Sally, who bought her skirt two weeks ago is wearing a short leather number but Jane who bought her skirt the week before is wearing a cotton maxi skirt.  The skirt that is ‘in’ this week is no more visible on the street than Sally’s or Jane’s skirt because it hasn’t had time to saturate the market.  What this means for the average person on the street is surprising: You can wear anything you damn well please and no one except the fashion victims checking this week’s ‘trend’ is going to know whether your clothes are ‘in’ or ‘out’.  This became evident to me when my elderly mother called me and asked me what is ‘in’ this season.  “Mum, it’s all fast fashion now.  The trends change each week so no one keeps up with what’s ‘in’ any more.  Just wear what makes you feel comfortable,” was my advice to her.  And that’s my advice to you too.