And Why I Hope You Do Too…
First off, let me just say this post has been a long time coming. My fear kept me from sharing this – but after a conversation I had with a friend this morning, I realized I needed to do it. So here goes:
My story: A few years ago when I first started Love Zahra, I was a compulsive shopper. I grew up with modest means so for me, having money meant I needed to buy everything I could possibly afford. In order to create content for my blog, I would very often go drop a weeks salary on new clothes just so that I could ‘keep up’. Over time as I got savvier (and more broke), I would sometimes buy stuff to shoot a photo in, then return it. I justified it by saying I was helping that brand with free marketing so – win-win right? I was working full-time earning six figures at my old job but I was actually IN DEBT. By like, a lot.
Then as I grew my blog, brands began to sponsor me so I would get a ton of clothes for free – but I was still shopping like a maniac because there was always something else that I wanted. Don’t get me wrong, blogging and helping out other brands is always something that I felt was nice to do, and there are still many people who do this but not necessarily brands in the fashion industry. New brands can always look into other ways of marketing. One way of doing that could be by hiring a professional SEO agency like Victorious (https://victoriousseo.com/) or the ones like it that can help in the keyword optimization of the website, which in turn can allow it to rank higher in search engines. Apart from that, they can also follow other forms of marketing like advertisements or even starting up on social media and buying some extra followers if needs be! (However, note there is a warning about Muchfollowers if you’re looking into such services). I found blogging was a great way to help new starters, but it turned out bad for me as I got too invested and started buying lots of clothes I didn’t need!
When I decided to work from home blogging full-time and being a stay at home mom, my mindset began to change. I knew my closet was bursting at the seams with stuff, and I didn’t actually need anything – I could have
probably gone my entire life wearing a new outfit every single day with just the things I already had. Also, I didn’t give a shit about the latest ‘trend’ anymore, I had seen way too many come and go too quickly. I was feeling all these feelings about the Fashion Industry, and that is right when I learned about the Rana Plaza factory fire in Bangladesh, which according to wikipedia was considered the deadliest structural failure accident in modern human history, and therefore also the deadliest garment-factory accident in history. The worst part about the fire is that it was completely preventable.
The unreasonable demands placed on the workers who are barely treated as human beings to satiate our endless need for new clothes is what caused the fire. I felt like I caused that fire. Besides the horrible labor conditions workers were subjected to, I also knew about how much the fast-fashion industry was polluting our earth.
At the time, the ‘slow fashion’ movement was starting to make an impact but not in a large scale way. This was several years ago I knew all this, but I still thought it would just be too hard to change my lifestyle. I was a Fashion Blogger after all, right? I was afraid to share my new feelings publicly because I was worried I might not be able to keep it up, that maybe one day all my passion would lose steam and I would look like a sham. But slowly, my inner conflict started eating at me. I couldn’t say that I care about the earth and the people on it, while still spending money on brands that were doing the most harm. I stopped shopping at some of the most notorious fast-fashion houses, but I didn’t tell anyone about it just in case I decided to go back to my old ways.
It took me years, YEARS, to say it out loud – even to myself.
At first it was hard. The allure of buying something new for really cheap isn’t something that ever really goes away. Initially I felt limited by my new shopping standards – I would walk in to the mall and most stores would be off-limits. However, I soon learned a few ways to shop smarter, and three things happened as a result.
1 – I got better stuff – I searched my favorite online shops like The Modist, which carried brands I love, and shortlist my favorite Designer items to buy when they went on sale.
I created a list of ethical brands that I could go to and shop for with confidence and happiness. Yes, I am saying this out loud today, I might never buy anything from a brand whose image has been tarnished due to the unfair treatment of its employees. I may never purchase from a brand that does not have Ethical certification— the certification is the only way I can be informed, as a customer, that they do not treat their employees poorly.
(Note: I wrote that list way back in 2015!) I planned my outfits in advance. I began to dip my toe into resale shopping – (which I am now fully submerged in). I now think of my wardrobe as a curated collection, that I want to slowly add to with only things I am in love with, or stuff I know I will be wearing constantly.
2- I figured out my personal style – I love color! I love easy flowing fabrics! I don’t like knee length dresses! I figured this out by paying attention to the pieces in my wardrobe that I was constantly reaching for, and the outfits I felt the most ‘me’ in, instead of blindly following trends.
3 – I became mentally un-stuck – No longer contributing to an Industry I knew was literally killing my fellow human beings is an instant mood booster I’d say. Also, no longer compulsively shopping gave me back the time, money, and sanity I needed to focus on doing more important and fun things in my life.
My View On The Fashion Industry Is This.
Nothing can change unless we demand it, and if we do demand it, we can make big changes quickly. In my own lifetime we went from a country that didn’t think twice about chowing down on pop-tarts and genetically modified everything, to a place where we can now access the freshest beautiful healthy organic food everywhere. The only thing that changed was awareness. Some people still choose to eat junk (myself included) and that is fine, I don’t expect everyone to care, but I think a lot of people do! We are living in an exciting time where information travels quickly and literally our lives as we know it could change in less than a decade – instagram wasn’t even around a decade ago! Remember life without instagram?!
So here’s my mission and I hope you all join me – let’s change the face of Fashion Blogging and the Fashion Industry. Boycott the brands that are the worst offenders. Be a proud outfit repeater! Shop less, buy better stuff. Let’s celebrate brands who are doing it right. Let’s talk about the way clothes are made and where and who is making them. Let’s appreciate fashion for what it really is, art and personal expression!
If you are up for the challenge, subscribe to my email list and let’s stay in touch!
Thank you so much for being here, I appreciate you!
(Via Joo Joo Azad Blog) Companies To Boycott List