Why I’m Avoiding Forever 21 and H&M This Year

Shopping in a mall

I am not a new year resolution kind of person, but this year I’m making an exception. I’m not going to buy anything from Forever 21, H&M, or any other “fast fashion” stores for one year.

I know what you’re thinking. “Why would anyone want to avoid the wonderful, cheap, trendy goodness that is F21 and H&M??” Believe me, it was not an easy resolution to make. But after I started reading about fast fashion, I had to try it.

What is “fast fashion”?

Fast fashion is clothes that are produced quickly and cheaply to reflect current trends, sold en masse. This is embodied by stores like F21, H&M, Zara, Primark, and Topshop. (Yes, even my most beloved Primark).  It tends to follow fast trends, and the clothes are often poorly made and don’t wash well or last very long. Don’t get me wrong, probably 75% of my wardrobe right now is made of more classic pieces that I’ve picked from these stores, but I’m trying to move away from it for a few reasons.

Why avoid fast fashion?

Some of you may know that I have a degree in biology and environmental science, so it’s very hard for me to ignore the environmental impacts of things.

When clothes are hyper-cheap and made quickly and poorly, they don’t last long and end up needing to be tossed out, potentially after a few wears. Of course I’ve had shirts or dresses from F21 last years, but there are some things (I’m looking at you, weird collars) that are never quite the same after one wash.

Psychologically, it also makes me think I need clothes that I wouldn’t normally buy or aren’t exactly my style, just because they’re on steep sale or discounted below the already cheap price. I found several things in my closet just a few days ago that still had tags on them from who-knows-when.

I end up buying several button up, see-through shirts when I could have just bought one that I really loved, costing me more in the long run.

What’s the alternative?

I basically get all my clothes from these kinds of stores, so what am I to do? One, I don’t need nearly as many clothes as I think I do, which is always something I’m working on. So I may not need to buy any extra clothes at all this year. Two, there are so many second-hand shops, websites, and even apps that I can use. This not only reduces environmental impact by keeping clothes from being thrown in landfills, but it also reduces the cost. Double win! I’ve had great luck in the past with apps like Poshmark, Mercari, and thredUP. (Speaking of which, you can score $2 Mercari credit by using the code JDEKFX when you sign up!)

How do you feel? Don’t think you could give up your beloved stores? Thinking about quitting fast fashion? Leave a comment and let me know!

Why I'm Avoiding Forever 21 and H&M This Year