Fashion trends are constantly changing. One day, cheetah print is the trend of the moment, next, it’s neon, and then it may be oversized blazers with shoulder pads. Fast fashion brands like Zara and H & M have made so much of their profit and sales through tailoring campaigns and merchandise to the latest “it” trends, at a fraction of the designer price. What is frequently overlooked, however, is that fast fashion brands are actually the second largest polluter next to oil to our environment. These brands also tend to have malpractices with their factory conditions overseas. Issues with fast fashion are highlighted in the documentary The True Cost, which I highly recommend for all individuals who work in fashion. You may be asking yourself the following question, “if I don’t spend all of my clothing budget at Zara or H & M, where else can I go for those prices?”
OPTION #1: THRIFTING.
Living in New York City has given me access to so many incredible thrift shops and consignment boutiques with amazing deals and even better statement pieces. My favorite thrift shops are Urban Jungle, L Train Vintage, and my hidden gem, Beacon’s Closet. I thrifted a pair of Manolo Blahnik heels at Beacon’s closet for $50 and they are in absolutely perfect condition. I also purchased a Fila denim jacket for $13 and customized it with my old jeans/denim jackets to give them a fresh feel. Another perk of thrifting is that it also may serve as an incentive for you to Marie Kondo your own items. At some thrift stores, you can sell your items and receive store credit as a form of payment. Through getting rid of your old items, you may be able to get something completely new and unique to you, while providing another consumer with something completely new and unique to them.
OPTION #2: RENTING.
I may be biased because I currently serve as an intern at Rent the Runway‘s Corporate Headquarters, but RTR is really the best thing that has ever happened to my closet. As a Campus Representative for the brand, I receive four designer pieces a month in exchange for posting on my Instagram account about the brand and participating in grassroots marketing campaigns on my college’s main campus. As a user of the Update Subscription (which is about $89 a month) I have the opportunity to select pieces from an array of designers like Rebecca Minkoff, Waverly Grey, Saylor, See by Chloe, Zac Posen, Free People, ect. The pieces arrive at my mailbox in a garment bag with handles for carrying and a return shipping label. All pieces at RTR are freshly dry cleaned and come insured so you don’t have to worry about additional costs! After I graduate in May, I am looking to switch over to the Unlimited Subscription which is about $150 a month. Through this subscription, consumers receive four pieces at a time throughout the month, and can swap for new pieces whenever they want! These users usually get a total of 12 pieces every month, with a rotation of four items at a time. Rent the Runway is challenging the typical structure of the fashion industry by providing consumers with an alternative to fast fashion. Users can stay on trend without breaking the bank and can remain sustainable in their purchasing practices by renting their clothes instead of actually purchasing them. Lastly, Rent the Runway subscribers are helping support a female-founded company that stands for positive ethical practices and fair working conditions/wages for all!