Overconsumption of Fast Fashion and its Effects on Shopping Habits


Not long after people finish back to school shopping, their consumer instincts point toward new directions. The change to cool sweater weather, pumpkin spice season does not distract one from the inevitable question of what their summer wardrobe will look like. Luckily, stores online and in malls might be hosting an end of the summer sale, and little do the consumers know about the summer clothing that will hit the shelves before thanksgiving break. This cycle of rounding up a year’s worth of energy for a season’s wardrobe is not only encouraged by retailers but promoted by online influencers as well. How could one avoid the temptation of the summer wardrobe when their feed is full of enticing weekly vacations and aestival fashion from their favorite micro-celebrities. 

The “buyer’s brain” is a phenomenon that negatively impacts the consumers, young adults included, and their calm decision making skills. The factors of influence may range from advertisements, mall trips, online marketing and even to youtube hauls. Commercials and ads are everywhere, in the media and streets, making it hard to avoid persuasion by the newest deals. Shopping in person is often an overwhelming experience; many may find it hard to even concentrate in certain stores with blasting music, obnoxious lighting, and pungent perfume smells. The sense of unease and discomfort leads to unnecessary purchases, in an attempt to quickly and productively disengage from the stressful environment of the stores. Perfect examples of this are hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch, Aeropostale, which all carry summer wardrobe staples all year round. As soon as you step in you are attacked with strategically placed advertisements, noise, and the compulsion to buy something and get out of there as soon as possible. Social media presses the importance of having the newest and best trends as soon as they gain attraction. How could one miss out on the Urban outfitters corset top or even a new up and coming Shein, Jaded London. Influencers on all platforms reinforce these standards because that is how they are financed, and it is too easy for any ordinary person to succumb to the consumer trap. 

Fast fashion has made shopping for summer even easier, and the threat of mass consumerism even more prominent. Websites like H&M, Shein, Zara, and others alike, carry a summer line all year round. Admittedly, this is a convenience for vacations in the winter to warmer places, but do not be mistaken at the scale and essence of the issue. Shopping for vacations is not so much a problem compared to downright bad spending habits and shopaholism. There are deeper psychological explanations to this phenomenon, but for now it is important to recognize these patterns and minimize them. Just because the summer clothes are available, it does not mean they are necessary and may only be fulfilling the mind over the wardrobe.  

Of course not everyone who shops all year round for one season is a shopaholic. For one, people shop off-season to minimize their cost. Budgeting for the summer is a responsible habit and the appeal stems from sales and off-season discounts. It also may be a good opportunity to be prepared and ready for any possible returns and alterations in time, taking the stress factor away from last minute summer shopping. Even further, some merchandise may only be in stock during the winter months as demand is not exceptionally high. Without stress for time and cost, people can make healthier consumer decisions and even reduce their waste. 

Living in times of mass production is dangerous to our society and planet. According to Boston University, 66% of all clothes, once discarded, end up in landfills. This concerning number will only increase as time goes on and more fast and cheap fashion stores emerge. As much as everybody wants to be a fashionista, they should consider the effects of their purchases in the long run.  Keeping the state of the world in mind, getting a new wardrobe every season, accumulating it for an entire year, and falling into consumer traps can be extremely harmful. The most conscious decision to make is to draw back unhealthy shopping habits and minimize your carbon footprint by sticking to a limited wardrobe.