Why I Swore Off Fast Fashion

Aaron Smet
2 min readMay 12, 2023

For years, my closet had served as a daily reminder of my reliance on fast fashion. Every time I looked at my clothes, I saw past trends, shirts, and sweaters with random words and low-quality fabrics. They were forgettable pieces I had bought, worn, and donated — a cycle of consumption I wasn’t proud of.

As a millennial growing up, shopping malls were the go-to place to get clothes. If I wanted a new outfit, the solution was pretty simple — I would go to the mall. This habit continued into early adulthood. I remember going to H&M just to pick out a new outfit before my date.

After college, I picked up a part-time job at Zara. I worked in operations and saw firsthand the number of clothes we received on a weekly basis. Some mornings I was shocked to see 30 boxes. Our stock rooms were constantly filled to the brim, and you could barely move. From my perspective, the supply was much higher than the demand.

Around the same time, my mother introduced me to the world of online reselling. She started taking me to Goodwill Outlet and taught me how to pick out quality clothes. Every time we went, my knowledge of designer brands and quality fabrics grew. Soon enough, I was sourcing my own clothes and selling them online. Interestingly enough, fast fashion brands had little to no resale value.

Thrifting not only provided me with additional income but also allowed me to upgrade my closet for free! I felt unbelievably empowered — I was no longer beholden to the fast fashion industry. No more trips to the mall, no more last-minute buys at H&M.

In 2019, I made a life-changing commitment to no longer buy new clothes. I quit my job at Zara, and I haven’t been to a mall since. Now, when I walk into a department store, I feel completely out of place. I no longer have the urge to buy. I look at the price tags and laugh. $60 for something at Nordstrom! Pass!

I had reset my relationship with fashion and broke the ties that bound me to mindless consumption. My closet doubled in size and was now filled with timeless pieces and quality fabrics. My days of shopping for fast fashion were over.

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