Fast fashion is a business model that uses cheap materials and labor to churn out clothing collections at a rapid pace.
But although fast fashion leads to great prices for consumers at stores like H&M or Uniqlo, there are some serious drawbacks to it.
For one, fast fashion might not be such a great deal after all. According to McKinsey and Company, the average consumer purchased 60% more items of clothing in 2014 than in 2000, but kept each garment for half as long, whether because the garment fell apart, went out of style, or was simply viewed as disposable. That number is only growing.
It’s also easily to overlook the industry’s devastating working conditions and environmental abuse when the consequences aren’t visible.
Read more: Sneaky ways stores like H&M, Zara, and Uniqlo get you to spend more money on clothes
Luckily, we have many options outside of fast fashion, and it’s possible to find stylish, affordable, and ethical clothing if you just know where to look.
So last April, I decided to kick my fast fashion addition for good. I stopped going to H&M, Uniqlo, Zara, Forever 21, and Target altogether. I’ve leaned heavily on second-hand stores and borrowing. And I’ve started questioning why I feel the need to buy so much in the first place.
Nearly a year into this experiment, I know I’m never going back. Here’s why.