Along with the majority of students who attend the Fashion Institute of Technology, I’ve always been an avid shopper. I love the joy associated with buying new clothing pieces as styles come into trend and seasons pass by. In fact, the predominant reason I started this blog in the first place was because I am so passionate about the way that clothing can enhance someone’s self-confidence and allow them to express their individuality.
Lately, though, I haven’t been as motivated to write for my blog or even come up with creative outfit ideas to take pictures of. At first, I chalked this up to the fact that I’ve been extremely busy this past month with finals, moving to a new apartment, working more hours, and taking summer classes. Which seems like a reasonable explanation:”adulting” is a lot more work than I initially expected. But when I finally had a day off to sit down and write a post, my mind went blank. It was almost as if my internal motivation for writing for this blog for the past 3 1/2 years had finally given out on me. Before, I would dedicate any free time I had to writing and creating content because it gave me a sense of purpose, made me feel as if I knew who I was. But now, I sat in my room and tried to ignore the blinking cursor on my screen.
So, if this motivation loss isn’t because of how tired I am or how much free time I don’t have, what’s causing it? Why can’t I write about the subject that I’ve been so incredibly passionate about for years and am currently pursuing in school?
About a month ago, I watched The True Cost documentary on Netflix. I’m not sure what I expected from the film, but it was much more powerful than anything I could’ve anticipated. I’ve always been interested in environmentally friendly fashion (heck I work at Reformation for that exact reason), but I never thought about the subject too far beyond the surface. The documentary made me truly realize how much of a negative impact the fashion industry-which I had glamorized for so long-has on not only the environment, but on the well-being of people across the world. It also made me realize that I don’t want to contribute to companies and brands who are so blindsided by money that they disregard the conditions of workers in the factories that make their merchandise and the post-consumer impact of their merchandise when it’s discarded. The largest paragons of this are fast-fashion brands like Forever 21, H&M (their “green” label is b.s. but that’s a topic for another day), and Zara. While I’d love to preach about how awful they are and how we should boycott these rapidly-growing retailers, that would make me a hypocrite. I understand the appeal behind fast-fashion; current trends are made more affordable and accessible to the general public at a faster rate than every before. However, the low-priced merchandise that these retailers are so well known for comes at a cost. It’s payed for in the physical and emotional costs associated with manufacturing the merchandise. And while you may not be directly affected by these “costs”, that doesn’t make them any less significant or worthy of public attention.
So this is the real reason why I’ve been somewhat “lost” as of late. I’ve spent so long only focusing on the external benefits of clothing and fashion in general that I, like most Americans, have become blind to the where and the how. After watching this movie, I vowed to not buy clothing that has little to no information on the ethicality of the factories doing the manufacturing and the environmental impact of the fabrics/processes used. This has led to me buying a lot less stuff, as you can imagine. Although eco-friendly clothing is becoming a trend in the industry, (hello Reformation!) the majority of retailers and brands care more about profit than anything else, which proves a challenge in maintaining a trendy image;especially when ethically sourced clothing throws a much bigger punch wallet more than a $20 H&M dress. Despite the negative stigma that eco-friendly fashion gets due to higher prices, there are still plenty of places to shop that don’t break the bank and care about the impact of the apparel industry-which is where I come in. (also if you were wondering about the title, yes it’s definitely clickbait)
My primary goal in this blog is still to inspire people to express themselves through apparel and styling; however, I want to continue to do this with an added focus on lessening the negative impact that the fashion industry has on the environment and global ethicality. Altruism shouldn’t be sacrificed for the sake of art; and likewise. Although 3 years sounds like a brief amount of time in the grand scheme of things, the past 3 years of my life have been my most pivotal and dynamic years so far, and it’s only fair that my objective in creating content for Millennial Chanel changes with me.
Thanks so much for your support, and I hope you’ll continue on this sustainable and ethically responsible fashion ride with me.