No More Fashion Victims

Hello! I’m Ekta and I’m an addict.

I love scrolling on online shopping websites. It’s my favourite past-time. No, that doesn’t sufficiently justify my relationship with online shopping.

I’m like a ninja. Finding the right colour of the exact silhouette of the perfect dress is probably my biggest achievement. I labour over the outfits for days. I choose everything for my wishlist and then one by one eliminate the ones that don’t seem me – or are over budget.

Oh, and that’s my other secret – I’m cheap. I pride myself on finding the most attractive outfits at extremely attractive prices. That’s my thing.

I don’t call myself a shopaholic because I don’t shop for no reason, I look for special occasions. BFF’s birthday, a cocktail party, change of weather – the triggers are often very specific but it’s a week-long process of obsessively scrolling across multiple shopping websites to find matching accessories and putting the outfit together.

I do it in the cabs on my daily commute, I do it in bed before I go to sleep, I do it in the bathroom, I do it on the weekends WHILE watching movies on my couch – it’s my dirty secret. When I decide to shop, it takes over my whole schedule. I’m like a mom looking for a rishta; choosy and whimsical, but unexpectedly practical at the same time.

I knew this obsession was unhealthy, but when I measured it against the validation I got from pretty clothes, the boost of self-confidence, and elevated sense of self-worth; the mild vertigo I developed from the endless scrolling seemed like a small price to pay. And the actual small price I paid because I always hunted out the best bargain.

A job interview? Going for a date? The hours I spent looking for an outfit gave me a sense of control over these uncertain situations. I couldn’t control what happened at a party I didn’t know anyone at, but I could control how I looked. And I knew I always looked good.

But I never thought of it as a problem. I had it under control and I wasn’t hurting anyone. And then one day I read about something called ‘fast fashion’. The reason I was getting great bargains on trendy clothing wasn’t because I was especially talented. It was because corporations with vested interests had found out about my greed for pretty things. I was still scouring the apps on my phone for outfits, but I kept coming across news stories about horrible working conditions in factories, unfair wages and the damage to the environment. I realized that this was all in play, purely because I thought I needed a new look for the monsoons.

I understood that these clothes I was buying weren’t that cheap after all, someone somewhere in the distant past or future was paying a price for it. Maybe a child laborer in a remote village? Maybe the coming generations, surviving with no water? Maybe it was the trees and endangered animals, the coral reefs and the seals, maybe it was poor people in the present.

I guess I don’t really understand who’s paying?

Well, I’ve realized that this is a question I can no longer put off.

I love fashion and I’d never thought my ‘hobby’ was hurting anyone. But if there’s any way I can play my part in doing something about correcting my wrongs, I’m in.

So I’m taking a pledge today – to shop less and invest more. Invest time in seeking answers to the question. Invest more money in the clothes I do buy. And invest my efforts in this cause where I’m guilty of being a prime offender.

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