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We Are What We Buy

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Hold onto your chokers and brightly embroidered bomber jackets- it turns out that fashion, or rather the modern fashion industry, may be doing us much more harm than good. Sure, everyone knows that the industry has a history of promoting unrealistic and unhealthy body standards, but could the wrongs of today’s fashion run deeper and span a wider variety of issues than previously imagined?


In short, the answer is yes. By allowing consumers to buy fashion on such an enormous and highly manufactured scale, the consumer is removed from the middlemen who would traditionally assist in the process of clothing and accessorizing individuals. Fashion has instead come to revolve around making as much money as possible instead of creating art and/or practical clothing for those who wear it. After all, what purpose do trends serve other than to make the fashion industry lots and lots of money? Trends don’t account for the fact that they will not flatter every person that wears them, that a great number of people exist whose body shape and/or size might make wearing particular garments difficult.


What’s more, most fast fashion sites are not concerned with the quality of their clothing, nor do they put any real effort into sizing their clothes consistently. On top of this, clothing sizes vary significantly from brand to brand, and when coupled with the demonization of “larger” sizes, this variation leads many of us to wear clothes that are the wrong size or do not fit us properly. Tailors have been more or less erased from the clothing industry, their services sought out almost exclusively by the wealthy or  for special occasions. The fashion industry has managed to sell the lie that there is a “typical” set of measurements for any particular “size”, that attaining as many cheap clothes as possible in a short period of time is more worthy one’s money than taking well-crafted items to a tailor, regardless of whether or not the aforementioned cheap clothes actually fit the person who’s buying them.


In this age of social media, too, it’s important to consider the role of blogger as a part of the larger fashion industry. Style bloggers often market themselves as being “relatable” and providing honest, practical advice and reviews of clothing, accessories, and beauty products. However, behind this illusion lies a reality in which the bloggers are essentially nothing more than paid models and/or spokespeople for a particular brand: they are given money to wear, review, or otherwise promote the brand’s products in a positive and enviable light, and rewarded positively for spending that money (as well as their time) on curating bodies that are or at least appear to be perfect. Of course, all of this is done with the ultimate goal of associating those “perfect” bodies with the brand itself, as if the two are somehow inexplicably linked and in buying the item, a person can buy perfection, as well.


If the fashion industry is killing us, manipulating our idea of beauty in a way that robs of both our money and our peace of mind, how do we get them to stop? How do we say no to trends, to flimsy chokers and bomber jackets with loose threads and cheap buttons, when this manipulation has been taking place our entire lives? What do we do when the fashion industry has been killing us since the day we were born?

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