With Black Friday gone and Christmas just around the corner, there are a lot of conversations at the moment about how consumerism affects the environment.
According to Glamour, the Christmas season is an “especially unsustainable time of year”, particularly with regards to clothing.
With everyone worried about what’s going to happen to the planet and the environment, attempts are being made to try and reduce our waste and combat fast fashion.
Fast fashion is a term used in the industry to describe cheap and trendy clothing that moves from fashion shows and celebrity culture to the high street very quickly.
Retailers often pump out a lot of this clothing in order to keep up with trends, bringing out new lines seasonally or even weekly depending on what’s going on in the fashion world.
Plus-size women and men struggle to find clothing on the high street
The idea that clothes are disposable and must be discarded after a single wear is something that we need to address – it is not sustainable to throw away our clothes after every season.
To combat this phenomenon, consumers are encouraged to buy their clothes second-hand through charity shops and other stores, and are now able to rent their clothes through businesses set up for that very purpose.
By Rotation, Hirestreet and My Wardrobe HQ are sites where consumers can rent a variety of clothes, be it everyday-wear or even designer pieces.
Unfortunately these methods of buying clothes aren’t for everyone.
Plus-size women and men, who go beyond a size 18, already struggle to find clothing on the high street. When it comes to charity shopping, their options are even more limited.
As a plus-size woman myself, going out into town to buy an outfit is near impossible. My own local high street in Nottingham has few stores that I would be able to buy clothes in – and even those have limited options.
Charity shops are always light on clothes past a size 18.
For people my size, we’re already alienated by the high street and the fashion industry in general, so to be more environmentally conscious and shop second-hand is unrealistic.
Charity shops are always incredibly light on clothes past a size 18.
I can wander around shops all day and usually find only one thing in my size and, to be blunt, it is normally very ugly.
I’m always so jealous of people who manage to find cute, vintage pieces for a bargain price.
I wish it could be me, but it’s just impossible – second-hand shopping as a plus-size lady isn’t an option.
Of course, they can only sell what they are donated, and it’s just hard luck that they don’t receive many donations past size 18.
The second-hand market is so limited, it’s simply not an option for many
This is at least partly due to how few options plus-size people have, and a lot of the time if I find something I like wearing, I will hang on to it until it can’t be worn any more.
Renting clothes is something new to me. I love the idea of it and want to get involved as it’s a great way to keep your wardrobe fresh and experiment with new styles without committing to a purchase and damaging the environment.
But My Wardrobe HQ currently offers exactly one item of clothing past a size 18, a pair of silk trousers in a 20, and you’d be hard pressed to find an 18+ on any of the other companies’ websites.
Again, I understand that these companies are limited by demand, but I wear clothes too! I am a person!
Just because I’m not a size 10 doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get the choice or the option to buy into these great schemes.
And what about men? In charity shops they’re usually limited to a single rail in the back, and I have yet to find a man’s garment available to rent on the previously mentioned sites.
The second-hand market is so limited, and while I agree that this is definitely the way to go in order to minimise the impact on our planet, it’s just simply not an option for so many.
In general, consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious, but in reality fast fashion isn’t likely to go away soon.
The demand for cheap clothes will always be there, and until second-hand shops and rental services become more reliable and all-encompassing, the industry is here to stay.