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Exploring the stigma around privilege and sustainable fashion


Recently I came across a video on TikTok where a girl was showing where she gets her clothes from, she then proceeded to showcase Pretty Little Thing and Ali Express as her favourites. The video itself is not what prompted me to write this blog post however, it was the comment section that sparked the debate of whether buying sustainably and being a sustainable person is accessible for everyone or is it a classist issue that only the privileged can afford?


My initial answer to this question was evidently yes, for reasons such as sustainable brands aren't always being the cheapest (the exact reason why when you buy from sustainable brands you are buying for quality and durability and NOT buying for disposability and conveniency). Another reason is that buying clothes from second hand apps like Depop has become classist and expensive with people buying cheap clothes from charity shops and then proceeding to sell them for extortionate prices. Most of the time the clothes that they are selling weren't being sustainably sourced in the first place, and the clothes they were selling were not bought from charity shops or lying in their wardrobes already but being bought from brands like Brandy Melville and Motel Rocks (fast fashion brands).


I wanted to share the video I saw so you can form your own opinion on this topic and I also screenshotted some of the comments that stood out to me in particular.





I've also seen so many other videos like this on Tiktok of hauls and favourite places to shop online etc and all the comment sections are very similar in viewpoints and opinions.


One thing I want to make VERY clear is that if you feel inclined to comment on this topic is 1. Don't shame people who are unable to buy sustainably, I do believe it IS a privilege to buy sustainably and therefore we don't have the right to judge anyone who either can't afford it or aren't in the right socio-economic circumstances to do so. 2. Most of the people who are against the idea that sustainable fashion is available to everyone are often uneducated on the topic; people need to realise that being sustainable is so much more than buying.


By actively consuming clothes, regardless of whether they are sustainably sourced or not, is still consuming; there are so many other ways to be sustainable such as upcycling, borrowing, lending from friends & family and renting clothes (check out my blog post on '5 ways to reduce your fashion footprint' for more ideas).


BECOMING SUSTAINABLE IS A PROCESS NOT SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS OVERNIGHT OR IS PRESSURED ONTO PEOPLE


We should never shame others for their buying choices whether they buy hauls and hauls of clothes from Shein or Boohoo, or they decide to shop in charity shops. We must realise that unfortunately sustainability isn't accessible for everyone and some people either don't care about it all, are mutual or are all for it, either way we must not press judgement as people can have more concerning priorities in their life then being conscious where they shop at.


What is important if you do decide to buy from a fast fashion brand is that you treasure that piece of clothing, make it last, wear it as many ways as possible, and if you finally get sick of it you can upcycle it into something else, give it to someone, or mend it if it's in need of repair.


We must cancel Haul culture and make most of what we have already and if you are buying something new you are making sure that that this piece of clothing is something you will love and keep in your wardrobe for a very long time and not think of it as a disposable item.

 

In my opinion, this topic is so hard to debate as there are so many factors favouring each side, however, I do believe that there is a strong link between socio-economic privilege and being able to buy sustainably and favour a more sustainable lifestyle.


Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments or send me a DM on instagram @styleclicheblog


Thanks for reading! X

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