Teenagers and resisting fast fashion

One of my pet peeves is fast fashion — buying heaps of cheap clothes on impulse only to discard them after a few wears. But, as my girls get older, I’m finding it more and more challenging to avoid the fast fashion pitfalls.

Up ’til now, dressing my children was pretty simple. They are easygoing girls who did not care too much about what they wore, as long as it was “comfy”. Things are slowly changing with age.  The idea of shopping as a way of spending time together has cropped up. Also my choices in their clothes are being challenged, and they want more of a say.  (I actually like being challenged. I am glad that my girls do not just do everything I say. It is good that they make up their own minds and even argue  -if it is done politely.)

The Rana Plaza disaster four years ago, made a lot of us realise that we needed to actively start changing our shopping habits. We are bringing up a generation of kids who will suffer because of our generation’s flippant attitude towards the environment. A favour we can do them is to make our children conscious of this and encourage them to change the attitude toward disposable fashion. After all, to quote Whitney Houston ” the children are our future”. ; )

I am lucky to be friends with girls like Esther. Regularly, when we meet up, we swap our kids clothes. Clothes that are to small for Sara come over for Coco and Vivi. Others are sent back to Ava. When Courtney was still living in the UK, some dresses would finally end up on Marlow! So I prefer to buy a smaller amount of quality clothes rather than loads of cheaper ones, as they finally get used a multitude more. The cost actually works out at being the same or even less.

One of my favourite dresses at the moment is one of Courtney’s pregnancy dresses she had when she was pregnant with Quin. It kicked around with Esther for a while, got handed on to Helen. Finally, last year it arrived in my hands. I belt it at the waist and off I go.

If you don’t have anyone around to hand clothes down to, buying durable clothes does not need to be prohibitive. I spent a lot of my student years in British Charity Shops. They seem to be as popular as ever. On top of that, the internet has now so many second hand shops, and swapping shops.

Convincing my big girl that going for a walk in the park with me is as much fun as going shopping is not the easiest thing. But, once we are on that walk, I don’t answer my phone when it rings and we get to spend time together, I am hoping she will take on at least a bit of my perspective. Fingers crossed!

x Emilie

Above a photo of Coco, my distinctly pre-pubescent child and a photo of both girls – Violette is wearing a dress she inherited from Sara (and below is a photo of Sarah in the same dress!) and  Coco is wearing a sweater she inherited from her cousin that in turn I am now wearing as I type…


Comments (7)

Esther in Amsterdam
March 8, 2018

Totally agree. It makes sense to invest in consciously made clothes that are good quality, so they can be passed on and enjoyed for a long life-cycle. (I even think that it’s not even about spending more money, but about spending it differently!)
I always love seeing my kids’ clothes on my friends’ children, it makes me slightly sentimental :). And — I also have a teenage girl who sometimes raids my closet now. So fun!! xx

March 8, 2018

great post. I think it is hard to resist fast fashion at any age so as a teenager it must be a real challenge. I completely agree with your take on buying clothes of quality and using them to their utmost and then passing on. It requires a different way of thinking which is a little hard sometimes (as the high street clothes do look really good and tempting ). For some basics it does seem easy to run into those shops and pick up items… The Rana plaza tragedy is unfortunately forgotten sometimes. so thanks for the reminder and the inspiration !

March 8, 2018

Thanks for this thoughtful piece. “The True Cost” is a documentary about fast fashion and it certainly inspired me to think differently when it comes to purchasing clothing. I recommend watching it with kiddos who are old enough to understand the impact their choices can make! 🙂

March 12, 2018

I love what you are teaching your children (all of you!). I think it is equally exciting (if not more) for children to inherit clothing from other children that they admire or look up to. Those clothes are as good as gold, most often! For women’s clothes, do you have any great websites or apps you can recommend for sourcing well made second hand clothing? Most that I am familiar with sell second hand fast fashion items, which I would like to stay away from. Thanks in advance!

April 6, 2018

I agree with Jen, The True Cost is a huge eye opener and my teen has watched it twice. This has really helped curb her fast fashion consumption. Side note: the documentary also led to me opening my own bricks and mortar shop sellijg ethically made clothes. So if you haven’t already watched it please do! Xo

April 9, 2018

Most certainly will do! Thank you for the reco!

October 3, 2018

I love this post! I own a small company and make girls’ clothing out of upcycled materials and for years my daughter was happy to wear my clothes or hand me downs from her cousins. But now as a 12 year old she wants what most of the other girls are wearing at her middle school and it’s a lot of cheap fast fashion clothing. So this is certainly a new struggle that we are navigating!

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