The big fast fashion stores have made clothing so affordable that it has led to an over consumption of unsustainable clothing. Because prices are so low, it is easy for a shopper to almost overlook the fact that they are actually spending money in these stores. £5 here, £3.99 there, another £10.99 there.
´After the recession started, consumers weren’t reining in their consumption, they were just buying cheaper clothes.´
We believe that we are saving money by buying cheap clothing but sometimes do not realise that it all adds up in the end. Often times, someone will buy something they only wear once (even knowing that it will be only worn once) before discarding it. Enough change can be found in the cushions of a couch to go out into the fast fashion world and buy a plain T-shirt, but one may not realize that after its been washed once or twice, the dye will fade, it will shrink, or become misshapen. Once a garment comes to the end of its short lifetime, it is time for the buyer to go and replace it thus doubling the amount of money spent. This cycle repeats and eventually the same amount of money is being spent on fast fashion as it would be on more sustainable clothing with longer lifetimes.
The allure of cheap prices and trendy clothes attract the consumer and persuade them to buy. Shoppers now have an option to buy things they want but don’t really need. Consider this scenario: you walk into Zara thinking you are there solely for a pair of jeans, but then see huge window displays showing cool, hip, perfectly put together outfits on mannequins, giant signs advertising the clothing, a vast array of different garments and a whole section for things on sale (imagine how affordable fast fashion on sale is). How could you not be tempted to pick up something else?
Big fast fashion stores are also constantly getting in new things, and their websites add several new items every day. The continuously changing inventory makes it easy for fahionistas on a budget to keep up with the latest trends, but it also causes previously purchased items to be in style for shorter periods of time. When it is felt that clothing has gone out of style it is time to go back to the store to buy more. As long as prices remain microscopic and inventory rapidly changes, fashionistas on a budget will continue to shop ‘til they drop while hardly denting their bank balances.