Finding My Style

November 05, 2018

When I first heard of the term "fast fashion" 2 years ago after watching the documentary A True Cost, I was very taken aback by all this new information being presented. I was outraged that this model of consumerism was not only polluting the environment but thrives from the underpayment of workers in developing countries (primarily people of color) working in unsafe conditions. I wanted to learn more about this and took an interest in educating myself about the fashion industry and its practices. By doing so, I came to the conclusion that I no longer wanted to support and contribute to this type of business model so I cut myself off from shopping. No buying of new clothes, shoes, bags, NOTHING! At the time I supported all of those brands and retailers who operate and profit from this way of doing business so my decision was based on wanting to use my money to support businesses who share my values.

Since I stopped shopping and gained this newfound wokeness about the fashion industry, I cut myself off from engaging in something I truly enjoyed. I've done several wardrobe cleanses and recently finished the Kon Mari method to get rid of things that no longer brought me joy, but since then I've been unable to put together a wardrobe that I feel adequately represent my style. I can't justify shopping at any major retailers because I'm well aware of their business model and ethically made clothing can be very costly and does not fit my current budget. I want to curate a wardrobe that's a balance between being eco-minded and minimalistic but also represents my style and values.

In my opinion, fashion is a way to freely express yourself and personality. The way we choose to dress can tell you a lot about someone. For example, if someone is into name brands and labels the way they dress will always signify that in some way. My fashion sense has a lot to do with the way I was raised. I come from a very religious household and as a kid, I was a huge tomboy. I loved wearing baggy clothes and took some of my older brother's clothing as my hand me downs. Because of my upbringing, I was also taught to dress conservatively. I was not allowed to show a lot of skin which translated to skirts up to my ankles, my shoulders never being exposed, and absolutely no cleavage. As I've gotten older and gained a better understanding of myself and confidence in my body, I see how this shaped me into the person I am today and paved my fashion sense as well. I love mixing masculine and feminine styles together and I like to dress in a way that borders along that line of being androgynous. I love how deeply personal one's sense of style can be and how fashion has the ability to turn you into a walking canvas. Fashion is a form of self-expression and I want this method of creativity back in my life.

At this time, I'm looking for ways to reintroduce shopping back into my life but in a manner that does not make me feel guilty of my choices and adds to the greater good. I want my wardrobe to be filled with quality items that are affordable and contributes to a sustainable business model so I've decided that thrifting will be the wisest choice at this current junction. Not only is thrifting economical, it's also the option that forces consumers to use clothing that already exists. At the rate in which Americans throw away clothing, thrift stores are over flooded with inventory. Most clothing that gets donated doesn't even make it to the racks of secondhand retailers. Thrifting offers a wide variety of options to chose from and promotes individual style.

I will update you on my discoveries and tips and tricks I've picked up along the way as I begin this thrifting journey.  I'll get into more details of the environmental effects of fast fashion and how it affects communities of color in future posts. For now, I'm just happy that I'm allowing myself to reclaim this form of self-care that speaks to my creative side. Stay tuned for more <3

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