Are you looking at your warm weather clothing options?
Look in almost any clothing store and you’ll usually see many items of summer clothing that can be described as “fast fashion.” This is the sort that you wear for a brief period, then are likely to discard.
We get the temptation. Fast fashion tends to be cheap. It’s often styled from looks you have seen in recent catalogues. It’s accessible and a quick solution to “what to wear.”
Now, of course it’s our profession, but we believe a visit to your tailor is a much better solution for several reasons. Let’s take a closer look:
Characteristics of fast fashion
Fast fashion can be characterized as cheaply made clothing, which often borrows ideas from current fashion trends. It tends to have been made quickly to capitalize on those trends, but not made well.
You can find “fast fashion” in any department store or over the internet. For some chains, their entire business model is fast fashion, with pieces being quickly made, usually in a country where labor is cheap. These stores rely on getting clothing that is inspired by the latest trends onto their racks quickly, at prices the average consumer can afford, so there are often corners cut in order to do that.
Impacts of fast fashion
The first and perhaps most obvious corner “cut” is the overall quality of the garments. Most are not put together with any sort of durability in mind. They’re sewn quickly using mostly cheap, synthetic fabrics. These rapidly look worn and the clothing itself often starts to unravel or generally look unkempt after just a few wears.
The old adage “you get what you pay for” holds true here. When was the last time a twenty-dollar shirt lasted you more than a few months with regular wear? At the very least, these items tend to quickly look shabby and lose their appeal. If it’s a piece that is very “trend” related, that particular fashion may quickly be over too.
What happens then? Of course people throw that clothing out. EPA figures show that landfills in the US received 10.5 million tons of textiles in 2015, while 3.1 million tons were combusted. Many of the “fast fashion” pieces we throw out simply aren’t worth donating because of the state they’re in. While a certain amount gets recycled, these figures show there is still a huge amount going completely to waste.
The second concern is also environmental. Constant demand for quickly consumed fast fashion means constant need for production of the materials that make up the clothing. Research shows that the fashion industry is second only to the oil industry in terms of global carbon emissions. The habit of purchasing fast-fashion may seem like a quick fix to an immediate want or need, but it’s a long-term hazard.
Thirdly, there is also much concern about where the fast fashion pieces are sourced from. We mentioned that they’re often produced in countries with cheap labor; the “sweatshop” issue has been one highlighted in the fashion industry. Many people raise concerns that anything they consume is ethically sourced, and of course poor wages and miserable working conditions are the opposite of this.
This third issue obviously depends upon the particular moral persuasion of who you talk to about it, but most people can agree that exploitative conditions in the name of fast profits are not okay. Many companies, including some that sell fast fashion, have made pledges to only work with factories that meet certain conditions for their workforce, however not all have. Most consumers won’t know what is behind that shirt they pick up off the rack, whether standards were met or not.
What you get from your tailor
Thinking of seasonal clothing and warmer weather again, summer generally has a more relaxed dress code than what would be appropriate in the fall. This doesn’t mean you should relax your standards for quality clothing – for reasons we have already listed, it pays to steer clear of fast fashion.
Better quality and comfort
One of the first benefits you’re going to see from going to a tailor instead is that your overall look is better. Your clothes are made to fit, they suit your body shape and they give you an air of polish. Whether you’re in the office or headed to an outdoor gathering, you can stand out for your sense of style.
Your own comfort in the clothes is also likely to be much better. No one enjoys button holes that pull, sleeves that are too short or hastily made items that are just not constructed for comfort. We suggest men and women instead invest this summer in quality pants, shirts and jackets that are tailored to fit. These will stand up to hot weather and help you look cool and comfortable instead of wrinkled, ill-fitting and disposable at the end of one season.
When you visit a tailor, you’re seeing a professional that knows the little details that add up to make good-quality clothing. Items are made with precision and care, not in a hasty assembly line. Even the off-the-rack items we source are held to high standards and we suspect other tailors do too. Our reputations depend on being able to back the quality of our wares so no “fast fashion” is going to pass muster.
Besides the way your garments are made, your tailor can advise on the best styles to suit your needs and body type. When you buy “fast fashion,” you are at the mercy of whatever sizing they have opted to use. Often, this is arbitrary and isn’t a great match for common, standard sizing either. Besides that, many of the trends copied from the catwalk don’t come across so well in mass-produced clothing. Corner-cutting can ruin the original intent of the catwalk design.
In our article on “fashion vs. style” we talked about the key differences and how style is more enduring and personal. By working with a knowledgeable sales associate and tailor, you can get pieces that denote your own sense of style and are made to last. A good jacket in a timeless style that has been tailored to suit you will be worn season after season.
Your tailor can also talk to you about appropriate fabric choices for the seasonal weather. There are several (mostly synthetic) fabrics that are best avoided because they don’t absorb moisture. In hot weather, this can mean you end up drenched in sweat which is never the best look! Most fast fashion choices you come across will be made up of a large proportion of synthetic fabrics – another reason you won’t want to wear it for long!
How you source your clothing is of course, a personal choice. However, if you’re looking for better quality, better comfort and garments that are made to last, your tailor is always going to be a better choice than fast fashion.
There are a number of issues associated with fast fashion that you’ll find on the racks of most department stores, including quality, environmental and ethical issues. Putting aside any moral issues, they’re simply not well-made.
Throwaway fashion is about chasing trends, but you’re unlikely to achieve a polished look. Visit a reputable store and their tailor for timeless elegance, no matter the weather.