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How I Broke Up With Fast Fashion and How You Can Too

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

For a while, I avoided coming to terms with the harsh reality of the fast fashion industry. It wasn’t until the early months of 2020, when I watched The True Cost documentary, that I learned there was no more turning away from what was really happening behind those low price tags.

As frustrating as it was to finally acknowledge the environmental destruction and the treacherous working environments driven by the fast fashion industry, I was hopeful and eager to learn how to fuel my love for fashion in an intentional way. So from that moment on, I challenged myself to only consume secondhand or ethically-made clothing for the rest of the year. 

A year and a half later, I’ve learned a few tried-and-true ways to curate a wardrobe that not only reflects my personal style but also my personal values. Whether you are new to buying secondhand or you’re already an avid thrifter like me, I’m hopeful this guide that I created for myself will also support your journey towards a more conscious closet.

want affordable clothing? get to know your local thrift stores.

What makes fast fashion so appealing and accessible is its cheap prices. If you need or want to keep affordability in mind, it’s a great idea to venture to your local thrift stores the next time you have a shopping urge. Keep in mind, the low prices compensate for the hunt you’ll need to do for the pieces you’re looking for.

Like shopping online? Hunt virtually on thredUP.

If you are someone who prefers to shop for clothes virtually, the world’s largest online consignment shop, thredUP, will soon become your go-to spot to shop for your favorite brands sustainably. New to shopping with thredUP? I got you! Check out my YouTube video How to Shop on thredUP Like a Pro.

Want to treat yourself? Check out The RealReal.

Next time you’re thinking about investing in a luxury garment or accessory, The RealReal is a great place to splurge on your favorite high-fashion brands.

Want to buy new? Head to Good On You to find sustainable and ethical fashion brands.

If you’d prefer buying pieces new at high prices that guarantee fair wages and working conditions as well as sustainable production, then the Good On You website and mobile app is an awesome way to discover fashion brands that are doing it right.

Good On You is an online platform that provides detailed ratings on how sustainable and ethical fashion brands are. Curious what the ratings are of your favorite brands? Head over to their site or mobile app to find out. (Fair warning, you may be a little shocked at what you learn).

The important thing to remember the next time you want to add a piece or two to your wardrobe is that it is the conscious effort towards becoming a more sustainable fashionista that counts. It’s pretty much impossible to be entirely sustainable, but it’s far more impactful for us all to be taking small steps to become a little bit more intentional with who and what we support from the clothing that we buy and wear.

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Anna Tempestoso

U Mass Amherst '23

Anna is a senior at UMass Amherst with a double major in Sustainable Business Practices in Fashion and Communication. Apart from being a college student, she spends her time hunting for thrift finds, upcycling bed sheets into clothing, bird-watching, and hanging out with her dog Enzo.