Updated: Oct 25, 2021
Which would you prefer? A chic turtleneck silk shirt cinched at the waist, with a full bust and long fitted sleeves ending in ruffles? Or a plain black rayon t-shirt that fades after multiple washes and looks like it's made of a garbage bag? Yes, this is the difference between high-end ready to wear and fast fashion. One makes you look like a million bucks. One gives you instant validation that lasts as long as a New York second.
Fast fashion may fulfil the potentially ignorant need for excess instant validation, but it fails to replicate high-end pieces' mystery, aura, and originality. Buying very few high-quality, unique staples always has a major advantage over low-quality extravagant wardrobes. If you want to communicate your worth and save the environment, using this traditional method of shopping will always give you an edge.
Have you ever wondered why we dress up? Wouldn't it be more sensible to roam around with maple leaves covering our private parts for decency? Why is fashion design so relevant? Because our desire to showcase our best selves is communicated by what we wear. We wish to be desired, to stand apart, to be one above the crop. But how can we communicate our singularity and worth if we buy into the latest trends of fast fashion, if we continuously buy sub-par clothing worn by countless many, to buy more instantly?
The strategy of understanding clothing designs is inextricably linked to the psychological effect on the consumers. If we buy more, we buy cheap and we communicate 'mass culture. But the ability to understand what a cinched waistline does to the observer, how silk denotes luxury, how purple denotes royalty and black denotes chic, is what separates the desired from the massy. If we master the ability to understand how a specific design communicates our personality to the audience, we will naturally buy less, buy high end clothing and communicate much more effectively. Isn't that more sensible than spending our lives as animalistic ignorant consumers?
How would it feel like to join the high-end club of sustainability advocates? It would not only benefit your social standing, but also benefit the environment. Sustainability is a hefty term used to describe the practice of making wise choices for the sake of the environment. Sustainable practices involve buying less, buying high quality and generating less waste. Buying high fashion brands means that fast fashion will be eventually subdued or, even better, eradicated. Fashion designers will spend a longer period of time developing innovative fashion lines that will preclude mass consumption of wasteful products.
By adopting the buy high, buy less, communicate more strategy, we allow ourselves to attach sustainability advocates to our names and save the environment from a disastrous future.
A truly savvy millennial will be able to discriminate between the herd and lion mentality. The herd follows the wasteful trends of fast fashion while the lion is the trendsetter. The buy high, buy less, communicate more strategy is a double-edged sword: one can use it to be a style maven, and at the same time, be inducted into the sustainable advocates' club.
Op-ed by Aasta Aggarwal
Senior at Fordham University Gabelli School of Business concentrating in Marketing and Consumer Insights