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Why Are We Obsessed With Fast Fashion?

by Vivify Sales on May 02, 2022

Why Are We Obsessed With Fast Fashion?

By: Phillip Nhel

 Buying clothes has never been easier, you can get most clothes shipped straight to your door for any occasion, with some retailers even offering next day shipping for your last minute hauls or impulse shopping sprees.

Clothes shopping has become a popular habit, a strongly enjoyable and sometimes addicting activity that, like social media, is always present. Shopping has become a type of cheap, endlessly available entertainment, thanks to the fast paced trends and the abundance of affordable clothing. The point isn’t what you buy so much as it's the act of shopping itself. We all buy clothes, and many of us enjoy keeping up with trends, fashion styles, and buying in-and-out-of-style garments on a regular basis.

Shopping feels good, studies show that we feel pleasure from the act of shopping. Using fMRI technology, a team of researchers from Stanford, MIT, and Carnegie Mellon examined the brains of test volunteers while they made decisions while shopping for clothes. The pleasure area in the brain, known as the nucleus accumbens, lit up when the researchers showed one of the study's subjects an appealing object for sale. The fMRI detected increased activity the more the person desired the item.

Price is also related to the sparks that fly inside our brain when shopping. While there is joy in simply looking, there is also pleasure in buying, or more precisely, in getting a good deal. These sparks of joy from shopping perfectly feed into our consumer culture engraved into our brains. This neurological mechanism is well fed by fast fashion. To begin with, the clothes are quite inexpensive, making it simple to purchase. Second, stores receive fresh delivery on a regular basis, giving customers something new to look at and desire.

Fast fashion companies are known for ripping off high-end designers or from people's favorite TV and films, letting customers receive something at least superficially similar to the original for a fraction of the price, and their items are priced lower than the rest of the market, making them feel like a bargain. With this influx of so much clothes being produced we can also expect that a lot of clothes will be donated but manufacturing and distributing clothing that will be returned (consuming even more fuel) has an indisputable energy and carbon impact as well. Over consumption doesn't stop at second hand stores as these stores are having trouble keeping up with just how much can be donated. 

People's consumption habits aren't the only thing to blame. Media also fuels the flame that is the obsession with fast fashion. Every time I go on TikTok,I nstagram, or even watching my favorite TV shows, I'm inundated with content showing me the latest clothes that I ‘need’. There's a lot of pressure to be on-trend, and fast fashion retailers make it so easy to purchase into these fads that you might have the item in your closet the following day. 'Hauls' and, more recently on TikTok, 'What I'd wear to...' videos are social trends in which artists show off a large number of things they've acquired for the sake of a 30-second video. Although they may appear to be a fun, creative video, videos like this can lead to more people purchasing clothing in excess. Even when I watch one of my favorite shows like Euphoria I am tempted to go find the clothes that they wear and fast fashion brands realize this and pump out quick replicas for people to look like what they saw on TV.

So what does this signify for the fashion industry's future? Although social media has gotten a poor rap over the years, it isn't all negative! It may be an excellent tool for educating others.

There has been an increase in demand for fashion brands that focus on sustainability in recent years. Noticeable that fast fashion is a trend, but our future generation (like kids) are ever more concerned about the plant they live in when they grow up, and they have been educated for more sustainability topics than when we brought up. Whether it's the rise in TikTok videos showing people how to re-work pieces in their wardrobe, showcasing vintage clothing combination,  or the growing number of influencers who buy second-hand clothing through sites like Depop, or sites like GoodOnYou to inform the consumer on sustainable brands and brands to avoid.

Sustainable brands that are gaining traction, or the increase in TikTok videos showing people how to re-work pieces in their wardrobe. More people appear to be getting aware of the negative effects of fast fashion and are beginning to convert to a more environmentally friendly shopping method. Slow fashion and secondhand buying look to be growing in popularity and, even better, accessibility!

So, before you swipe up on that influencer's story to buy another piece of clothing, ask yourself, "Do I really need them?" You'll probably discover that you don't. You'll not only be saving money but also saving the earth.

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