Why (and how) to stop trying to be fashionable all the time #543


According to a study conducted by Fashion Revolution in the UK, a quarter of the people who have ever thrown away a piece of clothing did so because they didn’t like it anymore. Why this dislike? Color that no longer pleases, cut that no longer fits… but also, let’s be honest, an evolution of trends that ends up making it “old fashioned”. Seriously, who kept his Bensimon or his denim leggings from the early 2010s?

The result: clothes in good condition end up in the garbage simply because society decided they were no longer worthy of being worn. Not cool for the planet, especially when you know the environmental impact of the fashion industry. But then, how to get out of this trend logic? How to stop trying to follow fashion at all costs (and keep your clothes longer)?

The advent of the fashion micro-trend

The current model of the fashion industry is based on a rapid and constant renewal of clothing collections: this is called fast fashion.

A few figures are enough to understand the problem. In Europe, fashion brands have gone from two collections per year in the early 2000s to five collections per year in the 2010s. H&M offers between twelve and sixteen collections per year, Zara twenty-four collections, and we stopped counting for Shein, the emblematic brand of ultra-fast fashion, which puts thousands of new models on sale every day on its website. Every. Day.

In short, if, before, the fashion trends lasted at least several years, today, they change at full speed (and that has many consequences that we detail here). So much so that we now talk about “micro-trends”: ultra-ephemeral trends that disappear so quickly that you sometimes discover them at the very moment they become out of fashion.

A model that has become the norm

Why do fast fashion and ultra-fast fashion work so well? How do brands convince you that you need that new trendy crop top, right now? By investing a lot in advertising and influence.

As far as advertising is concerned, you are confronted with it every day in a thousand different ways. It can be that advert before your YouTube video, the poster on your bus stop, the shop window you walk past, or the photo that slips into your Instagram feed. Each French person is exposed to an average of 1,200 advertising messages per day! Advertising relies on a very detailed knowledge of how the human brain works, which explains why it is so effective at getting a message across… and getting you to buy.

And influencers? They have become essential to promote a product, especially to young people. Normal: 94% of 15-17 year olds and 91% of 18-24 year olds follow influencers on social networks.

Problem: the most followed accounts promote, in an overwhelming majority, a mode of consumption not very ecological. “We’re right in the middle of the overconsumption model”, regrets Amélie, co-host of the Insta account @payetoninfluence, which challenges influencers on environmental issues. Léna Situations with Adidas and Jennyfer, Justinacessible with Zalando, Anistxa with Boohoo…: “Influencers don’t realize the scope of their impact. What they wear is seen by thousands of people. An individual behavior seen by 300,000 people is no longer an individual behavior.”

So how do we get out of the logic of fashion trends?

On the side of brands and influencers

Brands, of course, play an essential role. They can choose to slow down the pace by turning to the slow fashion model, a model of clothing production that promotes quality, transparency, ethics, sustainability… In short, good quality clothes, that you will keep for a long time, and that have been designed with respect for the planet and the workers.

And the influencers? Some are already using their influence to highlight other modes of consumption and/or their transition, like Clara Victorya, ambassador of vintage fashion, or EnjoyPhoenix, who collaborates with slow fashion brands through her own brand HonestMind.

“The big accounts should really and openly engage,” Amélie supports. “In addition, it is these already powerful accounts that can weigh on the choice of partnership. In the United States, a group of tiktokeurs launched the People Over Prime campaign to put pressure on Amazon and improve the working conditions of its employees. Imagine if we did the same thing for fast fashion brands!”

➔ Read the full article (in French) on Kombini