6 Fast Fashion Habits Keeping You Hooked: How to Break Them

Giada Nizzoli

6 Fast Fashion Habits Keeping You Hooked: How to Break Them

Maybe you heard that fast fashion is bad for the planet (true) but you just can’t quit it? Do you find yourself buying clothes you don’t need—regularly?

We bet it’s because of a few (if not all) of these fast fashion habits.

From sales to social media, you’ve been pushed to embrace them, and buying fast fashion clothes has literally affected your brain, trapping you into chasing new dopamine hits.

So, if you’re serious about moving towards a more sustainable fashion lifestyle, you must first break those habits.

In fact, we had to do that ourselves! So, we’ve written a simple guide to help you overcome the most common fast fashion habits, too.

1. Seeing clothes as disposable

Fast fashion shop

Fast fashion’s entire business model is based on:

  • Producing new clothes quickly
  • Using the cheapest materials and exploiting workers to keep price tags low
  • Designing clothes so that they fall apart after a few wearings
  • Encouraging consumers to buy new ones regularly

But this model is unsustainable and detrimental to the planet. No wonder it results in 18.6 million tonnes of clothing waste every year!

How to break this fast fashion habit

    • Remember that your clothes don’t magically disappear once you bin them. They’ll stick around in landfills (sometimes for hundreds of years), pollute the ground with their chemicals and dyes, and release gases that contribute to climate change
    • Keep in mind that donating clothes isn’t the eco-friendly alternative we’d like it to be
    • Fall in love with your clothes
    • Remind yourself that, to justify their environmental footprint, you should wear them at least 30 times. So, stop buying garments you can’t see yourself rocking that often

2. Shopping therapy

Consumer trapped in the fast fashion habit of buying new clothes as shopping therapy

Feeling under the weather? Buy new clothes. Your boss annoyed you? Buy new clothes. You want to feel like you can fix your entire life in one moment? Yep, you guessed it: buy new clothes.

Films, social media, memes celebrating overconsumption… You’ve been conditioned into using shopping as therapy, especially when you’re feeling down or insecure.

How to break this fast fashion habit

  • Remind yourself of that other "new" garment you bought when you were feeling blue: did that happiness last? No, otherwise you wouldn’t have felt the need to buy a different one the following week. And it didn’t take long for that “new garment” to become “just another item in your wardrobe”, did it?
  • If you’re unsatisfied all the time, buying new clothes isn’t going to fix it: take a step back, and try and figure out what’s making you feel that way 
  • If you’re just feeling a little low today, replace a fast fashion haul with something that also feels good but isn’t harmful, like treating yourself to some self-care

3. Buying clothes to celebrate

Consumer buying fast fashion clothes to celebrate

The opposite situation but the same outcome: cheap garments bought on a whim—and that you’ll probably only wear a couple of times.

How to break this fast fashion habit

  • Remind yourself that it’s unsustainable to buy new clothes without thinking about the consequences
  • We’re not saying you shouldn’t celebrate whatever made you happy! But maybe reward yourself with an experience instead (like a coffee with a friend, an afternoon at the beach, or a self-care night)
  • If you really want to buy yourself a material present, consider an item with a better environmental footprint or a sustainable garment you actually need or have been thinking about for a while 

4. Shopping as a social activity

Friends buying new clothes because of their fast fashion habits

Has Sex and the City sold you the dream that “shopping-with-your-besties-is-the-life”?

If you often go shopping with your friends—and end up spending money you don’t really have on clothes you don’t need—this can be one of the main fast fashion habits keeping you trapped.

How to break this fast fashion habit

  • Talk to your friends about ethical fashion and why you’re trying to embrace it
  • Suggest other activities, like meeting up for coffee or going for a hike
  • And if they really want to go shopping together every once in a while, you can still tag along: just be strong, and remind yourself of why you won’t be buying any random fast fashion clothes 

5. Not wanting to be seen wearing the same clothes

Woman choosing a new outfit to avoid repeating it

Do you feel like you shouldn’t be seen with the same outfit twice in a row, whether that’s at work, parties, or*shrieks in horror*—on your Instagram feed?

This is a manufactured belief: it was pushed onto you to keep you in the fast fashion habit of buying more. It’s not normal and sustainable!

How to break this fast fashion habit

    • Unfollow brand accounts and influencers that promote new outfits every day
    • Start following content creators who showcase the same ethical clothes more than once—and get inspired by celebrities who do that, too
    • Embrace repeat outfits
    • Get creative repurposing your clothes to try different combinations: it can genuinely feel like you’re wearing a new outfit altogether!

6. Thinking “I have nothing to wear” before an event—and buying a new dress out of panic

Consumer who bought too many fast fashion clothes

Have you got some kind of party or holiday lined up? You’ve probably looked at your wardrobe, got overwhelmed in front of your heap of random fast fashion clothes, and thought nothing could work.

So, you went and bought another dress… adding to that pile.

How to break this fast fashion habit

  • Do a proper declutter so that you’re left with clothes you actually love
  • Give yourself time to find the right outfit for those special occasions 
  • Experiment with different combinations (as we’ve seen before, they can look like new outfits!)
  • If you really can’t find the right one for that party—are you 100% positive?—consider renting one

It takes an average of 30-60 days to break a habit, so don’t be too harsh on yourself if you relapse.

But whenever you find yourself wanting to buy new fast fashion clothes, pause and think: what fast fashion habit is causing this?

Then, reread those tips again (you did bookmark this blog post, didn’t you?). It’ll soon become second nature, and you’ll finally be able to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle: buying fewer higher-quality clothes (made ethically) and loving them for years.

Found this helpful? Start receiving our tips and inspiration to make even more sustainable fashion choices.

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