Feminism, Overconsumption and Fast Fashion

This blog post was edited on March 19th, 2023

“Get Ready With Me!” “Shein Haul!” “Ulta Haul!” “5 basics you NEED for your closet!”

I’m sure that you have heard most, if not all of these intros to a video while scrolling through your tiktok or instagram feed, and if you’re like me, you watch almost all of them. I caught myself taking the information I heard in these videos like absolute truth. I mean, your favorite influencer knows everything about what it means to have the perfect wardrobe right? But then I thought to myself, should I actually be spending my hard earned money on the latest trendy sneaker, only for it to be replaced in a few months with something newer? 

Fast fashion brands like Zara, OhPolly, Fashion Nova and many others like it feed on the culture of materialism that our society has built. The industry pumps out to styles or different colors at a rapid rate while targeting women and the LGBTQ+ community. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am not shaming anyone who buys from these companies or falls under the influence of one of their favorite tik tokers. As a broke college student, I completely understand. However, I do think it is important to understand the impact that over-consumption and fast fashion can have on our financial health.

When Mikaya Nogueira, a viral tik tok influencer and talented makeup artist, reviews the newest Fenty lipgloss and says that everyone should run to Ulta and grab it before it sells out, you quickly go to Ulta’s website and put it in your cart. It’s only $20! That’s nothing right? But now, someone with your body type is trying on the newest Zara summer dress and it looks GREAT on them, so you have to get it! It’s only $60 and it will look so good on you, so why not? These purchases may seem small, something you can earn back in just a few hours of work, but they add up quickly. Within a span of less than five minutes who have been influenced to spend $80 on two products that you’ve never tried on before. You might have the extra money to spend right now which is great, but what kind of spending habits does this create? What impulsive patterns are we reinforcing?

The tik tok below is from Paige, a content creator and spending coach, who helps women overcome impulse shopping and overspending. Paige goes over spending habits that may not be healthy for your finances and points out things that you should look for when shopping online or scrolling through social media.

4 Things to look out for that promote unhealthy spending according to Paige:

  • You always need the newest and shiniest things  
  • You should prioritize instant gratification rather than delayed gratification 
  • Things have to complete immediately (like moving into an apartment and believing it has to be fully furnished right away)
  • More is better. Bigger is better

So what can we do to create healthier spending habits? 

  • We can start by taking the time to research and try products before buying them. Look at what you’re buying as an investment, something you want to use for the long haul.
  • Learn to say NO to yourself! With the wise words from Paige, “say no to your present self so you can say yes to your future self!” 
  • Learn to be comfortable with the in-between stages, not everything has to be complete right now. 
  • Quality over quantity! Try investing in some quality pieces, whether that be clothes, furniture or makeup. 

We don’t have to fix this issue in a day but it starts with awareness! 

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