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Let’s Ditch Fast Fashion and Get Sewing

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

What is fast fashion?

Recently, many have become aware of fast fashion, and many of us have even fallen victim to it, myself included. Fast fashion is essentially what the name entails. Fast changes in the fashion industry and trends lead to the need for fast rates of production. With online shopping, buying is faster than ever, as is delivery and ultimately, how long those items stay with us is fast. With the “cult” of SHEIN and the constant new flood of trends, it has become nearly impossible to not break the bank while also staying “stylish.” However, over the past few years, we have also become aware of the truth behind where much of our clothing has been produced. Not only is the environmental damage shocking, but the low, unlivable wages, coupled with inhumane working conditions the workers endure are horrific. However, nothing will change until we do.

Looking back only a few decades, sewing was an extremely common and practiced skill. Staying on-trend has never been harder, but what if we could all take our out-of-style clothes and transform them into something one of a kind? 

I recently started my sewing journey and ladies, let me just say, it’s easier than I thought. The machine may be intimidating at first, but like any skill, it takes time and pays off greatly. 

The pros of sewing:

  1. It saves money on buying new clothes
  2. It helps the environment
  3. It gives you creative freedom
  4. Sewing patterns are easily accessible online 
  5. It’s a new and fun hobby!

How sewing fights the market (and capitalism)

Until recently, I did not know the marketing strategies that targeted young girls and women into making them believe everything they have is old and needs replacing. Known as planned obsolescence, producers intentionally design products to fail prematurely and this same tactic has been employed in the fashion industry by making us feel unsatisfied with what we have. More often than not, commercials try and tell us that if we do not have the new and latest clothes and accessories we are falling behind. But in this, we are also losing out on a personal sense of style and expression. A lot of the fast-fashion clothing we buy isn’t of good quality that can last the full extent we usually want to wear them for. Even if they do, they often go out of style before this time.

The cons?

Honestly, there really are no cons to sewing if you treat it like a new hobby. All it takes is a little time and practice, but the payoff is worth every second. So when that top that you were so excited about feels like it’s run its course, it’s time to upcycle! Instead of throwing away our clothes or donating them, try transforming them into something new. Our society is one of much wastefulness, as seen in the vast amount of trash we produce, but clothing should not be one of them. Fabric can be used time and time again, unlike many products today, so if we can actually reuse our clothing, why not? 

How to upcycle without a sewing machine

Even if you don’t have access to a sewing machine, there are still countless ways to upcycle your old clothing without one. Turn that old dress into a tank top, and with the extra fabric, you could even make a little purse or bag. Not all sewing requires a machine. Although it may reduce the amount of time it takes, you can still hand stitch your old clothes. If you don’t have as much time but still want to upcycle, there are cutting patterns and other alternatives that still allow you to redesign your clothing without even needing a thread and needle.

There’s an immense number of substitutions to the wasteful practices we have been subconsciously trained to partake in as a way to keep us buying. For the sake of our bank accounts and the environment, it’s time to bring back the sewing machines and get stitching!

Kristi is a second-year Sociology and History major with a minor in Feminist Studies at UCSB. She’s originally from Torrance, California, but finds SB to be a second home. She loves outdoor activities, reading, and music. Her favorite topics to cover include capitalism, mental health, and feminist subjects.
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