By Casey Nyhus
When we were children, we didn’t have to worry about shopping for our own clothes. We didn’t have to worry about the quality, quantity, aesthetic, and functionality of our clothing because that was only a concern that our parents had. Our young teen years begin the start of the desire to shop to be able to express our individuality and personal style for ourselves.
Stores like Forever 21 and H&M, among other fast fashion retailers, tend to be appealing to young people of this age because of their affordability and trend-focused merchandise. It’s way too easy for teens who don’t know much about shopping to get into the habit of shopping at stores like these without paying attention to the quality and functionality of the clothing they purchase. I know that I was affected by this trend of unsustainable shopping when I was younger, and it wasn’t until late in high school and college when I started to worry about the quality of my clothing.
This quarter, I’m currently enrolled in a textiles class in which we learn about the fibers that different types and calibers of clothing are made out of. Learning about the quality of these fibers has really opened my eyes to the way my clothing is produced and how much it costs to do so. Each week, we have to bring in clothing pieces that are made out of different fabrics to analyze the fibers and then discuss what they would be used for in the industry.
Learning about textiles and doing these activities has made me curious about whether the cost of my clothing reflects it’s actual quality. Now, when i shop, I stop to determine whether what i’m actually paying for is worth the markup i know it now has.