Edited by Sanyam Garg
Fashion, today is a $3 Trillion industry and constitutes for about 3% of the world’s GDP.
There was a time when there used to be two fashion seasons in a year’s time. Now, there are fifty-two. That means that a new trend in apparels literally sways in every week. Whatever you buy today will be outdated in a couple of weeks’ time.
In the year 1930, the average woman had only about thirty clothes.
About 84 years later, the average person has about four times more the clothes.
Here’s the tricky part, we don’t need a hundred and twenty pieces of clothes. All we really need are those thirty.
The fashion industry not only spends $500 billion each year on advertising alone but also coaxes you into believing that buying clothes is something which is absolutely essential for your well being, call it “retail therapy” or just delusioning people into thinking that new clothes give them back the lost confidence, the list is endless.
Buying loads and loads of stuff might not seem harmful to you in comparison to say drugs but it works in the exact same manner.
Shopping high is very similar to alcohol/gambling high, there’s anticipation of a reward, anticipation of how good would it feel when the alcohol finally hits your bloodstream, how good it would feel when you finally win that hand at poker and how good it would feel when you go to the mall and you will find a board which says 40% off. Our brains react to all three in the exact same manner, with a hike in dopamine. It’s funny how you can’t hoard more than 16 bottles of hard liquor in your house and that gambling is illegal but apparel companies are a thousand steps ahead in the game since they promote you to shop twenty-four hours a day.
The end result is, you are out of both, money and space in your house. Unlike alcoholics and drug addicts, shopaholics are not all that easy to spot. Although the one common trait they all seem to have is that there are always in need of things, there’s a particular table mat that they saw but couldn’t buy or a particular bag they think they can’t do without.
We all are guilty of buying or hoarding too much. When was the last time you thought “Oh! I have nothing to wear but your wardrobe was actually full of clothes?”. Here’s an answer, it probably happened this morning.
The misery that comes with the accumulation of stuff isn’t palpable initially, but when it does start to gather around, getting rid of the pandemonium could be a task.
Consumerism might not sound like that big of a problem to deal with but the implications are not only felt at a micro-level where people ruin their well-being but also at macro-level where a tremendous amount of money is being spent on industries that really are just aesthetic.
Above are the figures in USD (billion) of the amount spent on apparel industry in 2013 by the US, India and China and the projected figures of 2020.
Most of this comes from people like us to succumb to the behemoth that consumption is.
The biggest fast-fashion brand in the world, Zara generated a revenue of $17.2 billion last year. It’s astonishing to see how these numbers grow by a billion each year and how day by day people keep getting deeper and deeper into the vortex of the hollow that this industry is.