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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SJSU chapter.

Most of us have become accustomed to shopping online for clothing from “fast fashion” brands as it has become very accessible and fashionable.

According to the Oxford dictionary, fast fashion is defined as “the rapid production of inexpensive clothing by mass-market retailers in response to the latest fashion trends.”

Some popular fast fashion companies are Forever 21, Shein, Fashion Nova and Zara.

I myself was an avid shopper at Forever 21 and stores like it for the majority of my high school career. 

However, I couldn’t help but become more and more aware of the serious environmental impacts these fast fashion companies have on the world.

While fast fashion sounds great on paper, the problem is that fast fashion companies produce an astronomical amount of waste.

This information is not in any way new and many of us know the harms of fast fashion. But, what is the alternative? 

More and more “sustainable” fashion brands are popping up but if we’re being honest, they are very out of reach to most of us and are unaffordable.

Does “sustainable” clothing just mean expensive now? It doesn’t have to!

My hope is that better regulations are implemented in the fast fashion industry so that the uncontrollable waste problem is addressed, but what can we do in the meantime?

We can support a circular fashion model, when possible!

A circular fashion model is similar to the phrase; reduce, reuse and recycle. In a circular fashion model, clothing gets used and reused which creates less fashion waste.

Good on you has some great information explaining a circular fashion model!

Here are just a few examples of how you can support a circular fashion model:

If you’re someone who loves to shop online because of the ease, I recommend shopping at ThredUP which is the largest online thrift store where you can buy and sell thrifted and vintage clothing.

The best part about ThredUP is there are a variety of styles just like any online fast fashion store and the prices are so affordable!

Another great way to support a circular fashion model is to attend local markets and purchase locally made, thrifted and vintage clothing. 

Not only are markets so fun with lots of live music and great food, you can find some amazing thrifted and vintage clothing pieces and support local sellers. It’s a win-win!

One of my favorite year round markets is the Pop-Up SJ Vintage Market which is held select days and nights during the year. Check out the Pop-Up SJ Vintage Market Instagram for upcoming events!

The easiest way you can support a circular fashion model is to simply take care of your clothes and ensure your clothing lives its longest possible life.

Yes, I know clothing is not seriously alive but you get the idea!

This means you should always donate your clothing to a consignment or thrift store and try not to throw away clothing unless it’s seriously beyond repair. 

If you can occasionally shop at online thrift stores and support locally instead of shopping fast fashion, you are already moving in the direction of helping reduce clothing waste.

This of course doesn’t mean that you should never shop outside of the circular fashion model. But, hopefully this article will encourage you to always donate your clothing and go about fashion a bit more mindfully.

Let us know some of your favorite thrifting spots or local markets in the Bay Area @HerCampusSJSU

Hello everyone! I am a writer at Her Campus San Jose State University. I will be graduating from SJSU with a BS in Business Administration with a Concentration in Entrepreneurship. I love animals, hiking, yoga and anything outdoors! I hope to make an impact on the climate crisis once I graduate.