How a fashionista tries to lead a sustainable lifestyle

By Marilù Gasparo

I admit it: I am a “fashion victim”. What does that mean? I have always been drawn to the world of fashion. I’ve always loved mixing and matching, choosing my clothes on a whim, matching accessories and makeup to my outfit. That’s why I understand why fast fashion is so appealing to so many people. 

The term “fast fashion” refers to a sector of the clothing industry that produces collections inspired by haute couture, but offered for sale at low prices and replaced very quickly by newer collections.

To some, fast fashion may even seem democratic, as it allows broader segments of the population to dress according to the latest trends and at affordable prices.

But how do fast fashion chains come up with these low costs? The key words to understand this phenomenon are mainly the following: Labor wages and production costs.

Production costs are kept low by depressing the wages of workers in textile factories, especially in Asia. But disadvantaged populations often find themselves forced to take even low-paying jobs in order to have any income at all. However, the low wages, which are often not enough to cover the cost of living, keep them trapped in a poverty spiral.

Apart from workers’ wages, fast fashion chains also manage to save on production costs by using cheap materials and highly polluting products as long as the final product costs little. 

More background information on these issues can be found here.

I’m not a journalist, so it’s not my job to report on official data here, but it’s estimated that apparel production is second only to the petroleum industry in terms of environmental impact.

A few years ago I wasn‘t aware of these figures, but today I can no longer ignore these realities. That’s why I invite you to read or listen to the advice of activists on social media platforms to become more aware of the problematic conditions under which our clothes are produced.

But back to my passion for fashion. How do I manage not to succumb to the temptation of fast fashion? A crucial turning point for me was to ask myself a simple question: 

Do I really need this piece of clothing or this item? 

Try it and you’ll find that the answer is often “no”! 

Another simple question is: Do I already have something similar in my closet?

At this point you may be thinking: but then the solution is to stop buying clothes? 

That‘s not the solution I am proposing here. Another big problem of fast fashion is the enormous waste production. One way to reduce the environmental impact in our own way is to buy second hand clothes and items. Today there are various apps like vinted or websites like Depop and Kleinanzeigen that make it easier to buy secondhand clothes.

Apps are certainly a quick and easy way to buy second-hand clothes, but I personally prefer shopping at flea markets or thrift stores, which are often really great places to find unique and fascinating things. You can let your imagination run wild and fantasize about the history of each item and its former owner.

But if you haven’t found the right piece for a particular occasion, such as a lively party, a serious job interview or an elegant wedding in your closet or at your favorite second-hand store, how about simply asking your friends? Have you ever thought about swapping clothes that you no longer use but that might look good on your friends?

The satisfaction of wearing a piece of clothing you’ve never worn before remains the same! The words from the lips of a fashion victim!

So, have I convinced you to take a trip to the flea market the next time you fancy a shopping spree? 

Here are my tips in Munich:

ReSales: is a chain of second-hand stores in Munich with several addresses. If you haven’t got your dirndl for the next Oktoberfest yet, why not pop in there? 

ReSales Munich-Karlsplatz / Sonnenstraße 2 

ReSales Munich-Altstadt / Sendlinger Str. 21

ReSales Munich-Schwabing / Hohenzollernstraße 29

ReSales Munich-Ludwigsvorstadt / Lindwurmstraße 82

Courtyard flea market: A flea market organised in various parts of the city. Anyone can take part with their own stall. Here‘s the website for upcoming events:

The big flea market at the Theresienwiese, unfortunately only once a year, but it’s well worth it! 

The flea market at Bahnwärter Thiel or at Alte Utting. You can find the dates on the organization’s websites. 

Olympiapark flea market: Fridays and Saturdays from 7 am – 4 pm. 

Discover additional tips put together by ClubIn here.

Translated by Joeline O‘Reilly

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