Why Do I Feel Guilty About Liking Fashion?

One editor responds.

Image c/o Topshop Unique
Like many of you reading this, I am passionate about fashion. It encompasses most of what I do on a day-to-day basis and  it is one of the few things that I truly feel I’m good at, yet there is a part of me that often feels slightly guilty about investing so much time and admiration into the industry.

While I see fashion as a powerful tool for freedom of expression and creativity, the industry has its darker sides. Sides that are often swept under the rug and kept on the DL. Whether it’s racism, sexism, and homophobia, or sweatshops and slave labour, these issues very much exist, and are oftentimes the source of my guilt. Should I be worried about lusting after the latest collections, when taking into account those darker sides of what’s going on?

A few months ago, there was a lot of hype about The True Cost, a documentary film highlighting the truths of where our clothes actually come from. In the aftermath of the film's release, I saw countless pledges from both average consumers and those aspiring to work in the fashion industry, who vowed to start shopping ethically and to say good-bye to fast fashion labels. But I have a confession: I didn’t watch this documentary, not because it doesn't sound interesting, but because there is an element of willful ignorance holding me back. If I watch this film, will I come out of it feeling like a barbarian for consuming fast fashion?

This being said, films like this do need to be made. The fashion industry simply cannot continue to sweep these moral issues under the rug because quite frankly, we all know that they exist. Cheap and affordable fashion is all the rage, but this comes with a great cost to those making it. It really is time for fast fashion corporations to take a step back and consider the impact that they’re having on the world - consumers, producers, the environment, the economy. Despite the fact that most shoppers can't afford to satiate their consumerism at higher end brands, fast fashion produces a wealth of severely underpaid, severely exploited, and severely endangered factory workers in the developing world. There is no excuse for these poor conditions from organizations making such huge profits.

These issues often leave me torn; I’m a frequent consumer of fast fashion and I know that this habit will be near impossible for me to shake. I have a great admiration for those who have cut fast fashion out of their lives and hope to one day I join them in this venture. There is no easy answer, but in the meantime, we need to at the very least advocate for change, because the industry truly cannot be allowed to continue on like this.

WHO: Xenia, Managing Fashion Editor at Couturesque magazine
WHERE: London
OBSESSED WITH: Pink sneakers
CAN BE FOUND AT: @xeniatheklein

1 comment:

  1. I thought I was the only one struggling with this issue! While I personally can't stand the social and environmental consequences of fashion (I'm especially passionate about latter), it definitely is a hard habit to break. On the other end, an artists wage can't exactly afford higher quality, responsibly made clothing every time. Thankfully, with the population becoming increasingly aware of the dark side of fast fashion, we can hope to find change. In the meantime, H&M also has their conscious line that's pretty affordable! Thanks for the article, Xenia. It was a great read :)


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I founded Couturesque Magazine when I was 15 years old because like many of my peers, I felt ignored and talked down to by all of the other teen fashion publications out there. I figured that at the end of the day, the people who knew the most about my generation, were the people who belonged to it. The fashion industry is becoming increasingly dependent on the creativity of younger voices who challenge the status quo and make us rethink what we wear and why we wear it. And that is exactly what Couturesque set out to celebrate - authenticity, intelligence, originality, and diversity... in other words, what makes Gen-Z tick. Fast-forward to 2016 and we now have a staff of more than a dozen fashion distruptors contributing to our daily content from all around the globe, 100K+ readers following us from Toronto to New York, to London, Copenhagen, Berlin, Tokyo, and Tel Aviv, and a plethora of big-wig industry fans and collaborators. But what matters to us the most is the responsibility that our publication has to make a positive impact in the lives of those who come across it - we stand against retouching our photoshoots and we stand for sharing the beautiful, individual, complex voices of everyone, especially those who feel marginalized by mainstream fashion media. We hope that you love our site as much as we do and that you take the time to follow us (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / Tumblr / Snapchat / YouTube) throughout our journey to make fashion accessible to the powerful young adults of today.

Tia Elisabeth Glista
Editor in Chief