Your local shopping mall is on its way to becoming the world's next endangered species. There are approximately 1,000 retail shopping malls left in the United States, with about 25% of them slated to close for good within the next five years. Meanwhile, shoppers are seeking new ways to shop for the latest styles.
Enter online fast fashion retailers.
The term "Fast Fashion" refers to trending fashion garments that manufacturers produce in response to a shift in pop culture. These companies work quickly and don't expect the pieces (or the trends they represent) to last long. In our fast-moving, social media-driven world, influencers and consumers alike are hungry to keep up with the best of fast fashion trends.
There are concerns surrounding fast fashion, however. Only the most ethical brands can balance style and ecological impact. We've created this guide to explain how Subtleflight goes above and beyond to ensure you look and feel great about what you wear.
Read on to learn everything there is to know about the best of fast fashion.
What Is Fast Fashion?
Imagine you've logged onto your favorite social media app, like Instagram or Facebook. After scrolling for a few seconds, you come across an ad. You love the outfit they're selling, but you've never heard of the brand.
Today, many online fashion brands exist to capitalize on the latest trends. These stores offer low prices and respond to the latest celebrity trends in real time. The store you're browsing has so many inexpensive, stylish pieces.
Should you take a risk and buy the outfit?
Style and Speed
If you were going to reproduce the trendy garment on your own, it would take a considerable amount of work. You'd have to develop a pattern, source materials, assemble the pieces, and make alterations. It would involve time and labor, plus the cost of materials.
By the time you put everything together, the world will have moved on. Even so, you'd have a thoughtfully crafted, long-lasting garment to show for your efforts.
Meanwhile, fast fashion manufacturers have also been racing to reproduce the style. They have access to cheap, bulk materials, massive overseas factories, and low-cost labor. They can have the same garment in your hands in half the time.
Fast fashion brands work fast so consumers can buy their products before the next influencer changes the game.
Faster Isn't Always Better
Your outfit has arrived, but something doesn't seem right.
You may be unhappy with the materials, sizing, or overall quality of your new outfit. It might lack details from the photo in the advertisement. It might even arrive damaged.
The manufacturer did not design this piece to last—and it shows. The company designed the piece to maximize its profits, not provide quality.
Often, these speedy manufacturers hurt the earth, too. They outsource labor to overseas factories, where they pay workers low wages. They produce waste that harms foreign ecosystems.
Imagine how much fuel they burned to get the outfit to your door. Where will the packaging end up once you throw it in the trash? Where will the garment end up after the trend has come and gone?
Your new outfit may have been inexpensive, but it came with a high ethical cost.
Fast Fashion vs Slow Fashion
There is a broad chasm between fast fashion and slow (or high) fashion. Fast fashion is a business, while designer fashion is an art.
Designers craft their high-quality runway pieces months in advance. You might see a piece on the runway six months to a year before you can find it on store shelves. The pieces are hand-crafted, bespoke, and enduring.
They are also more expensive. When you buy a designer piece, you are paying for quality. Your purchase is an investment in long-term wear.
If you love vintage fashion, you've seen this in action. There is a reason why your grandmother's hand-me-downs still hold up decades later. A designer piece can last for generations without losing quality.
The average consumer cannot afford a wardrobe full of designer pieces, however. Plus, fashion lovers take pleasure in following trends inspired by minute-to-minute culture. There must be a balance between inaccessible designer fashion and mass-produced fast fashion.
Doing Fast Fashion Right
Fast fashion garments are inexpensive, trendy, and timely. Brands can achieve those elements without contributing harm. Many businesses, such as Subtleflight, embrace eco-friendly practices when producing their garments.
Your goal should be to find a manufacturer that produces trendy garments without sacrificing their ethical standards. Many go out of their way to use ethically sourced materials, pay their workers a living wage, and balance their carbon footprint. You may be paying a little more for your trendy outfit, but you'll be getting peace of mind in return.
Here are a few things to consider when shopping for the latest trends with sustainability in mind:
Pick versatile pieces that you can wear more than once or twice
Choose garments with organic, sustainable materials
Pay careful attention to sizing charts
Be wary of prices that seem too good to be true
Take the time to read brand mission statements
Take notice of any online store that offers hundreds of trendy garments in one place. They are likely sourcing their pieces from overseas sweatshops. They might have never seen the pieces they sell in person and cannot vouch for their quality.
Slowing Down, Styling Up
Subtleflight embraces the speed, trendiness, and accessible price point of fast fashion but slows it down.
The problem with fast fashion trends is their specificity. Other brands respond to fleeting trends with pieces that quickly go out of style, so even quality, sustainable pieces end up in landfills.
At Subtlefight, we combine the best, most accessible aspects of fast fashion with the timeless, enduring quality of designer style. Our pieces are minimalistic, specific, and versatile. One piece can transcend seasons, and you can wear it in many ways without sacrificing your modern aesthetic.
The key to Subtleflight's aesthetic are three S's: our garments are subtle, simple, and sustainable. We guarantee quality by offering a 30-day money-back guarantee on every purchase. Shipping both ways is always fast and free.
We aren't a faceless warehouse. Our staff is a community of fashion professionals who want to meet your needs. We're obsessed with travel, quality, and customer service.
Rock Your Hometown
The Subtleflight aesthetic is simple: we embroider the names of states, cities, and countries onto basic, eco-friendly cotton garments so you can proudly display your passion for your hometown. We use a trendy, sans-serif font that will never go out of style. Combed, ring-spun cotton is soft, sustainable, and does not produce microplastics.
The Basic T
There is nothing more versatile than a basic cotton t-shirt. When you begin with basics, there's nowhere to go but up. Basics help details stand out, so everyone will notice your hometown pride.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to rock Subtlefight T-shirts:
Tucked into a skirt for a dressy-casual look
With denim shorts and an adorable pair of low-top sneakers
Tied up with an amazing pair of leggings
Under a blazer for casual Friday vibes
Layer it with a button-down to add depth
Styled with a middle tuck and show off your waistline
Paired with high-waisted paper bag trousers
Layered with a funky scarf or a statement necklace
There are infinite ways to rock your Subtleflight graphic t. This is one shirt that won't go out of style as trends and seasons change. The high-quality means this subtle, stylish top won't fall apart.
Our customers are constantly saying how surprised they are by the quality and thickness of our basic hometown T's. Plus, they only get softer after multiple washes. We promise your Subtleflight T will stay in your rotation for a long, long time.
Sweaters and Hoodies
The only thing more versatile than a t-shirt is great, eco-friendly outerwear. Our sweaters and hoodies also boast the names of your favorite countries, states, and cities. The bright, neat embroidery pops off of these cozy cotton and polyester garments, so you'll always feel at home.
These eye-catching hoodies are some of our favorite choices for fashion-forward holiday gifts. Opening a Subtleflight sweatshirt is like receiving a warm hug from your hometown. They are the perfect remedy for homesickness and make fun gifts for faraway friends.
Here's how we wear our Subtlefight hoodies and sweaters:
Layered with a collared shirt for preppy vibes
Paired with stretchy leggings for athleisure vibes
Dressed down with a cozy pair of joggers
Worn over denim shorts for chilly summer nights
Matched with a great pair of jeans
Underneath an amazing denim jacket for seasonal transitions
Popped over a bright, contrasting t-shirt for a pop of funky color
Over a skirt for a casual look
Beneath a puffer vest for cozy Autumnal layers
You can't go wrong with a trendy hoodie or crewneck sweatshirt. Our embroidered favorites are more personal than a sweatshirt pulled off store shelves. Wear yours with pride!
Hats and Caps
A stylish hat is as trendy as it is practical. Our cotton twill ballcaps will keep out the sun and keep off the rain with our classic minimalist style. The right hat can help you dress down any outfit while adding a personal touch.
Customers obsess over our embroidered bucket hats, which lean into fast fashion trends in a big way. They are a simple, subtle way to embrace the recent 90s revival. The sewn-in eyelets make these 90s staples as breathable as they are stylish, so you can wear yours all day without breaking a sweat.
All our hats coordinate perfectly with our t-shirts, sweaters, and hoodies. It's easy to mix and match. Pair a state hat with a country hoodie, or throw on a matching set.
How to Make Your Fast Fashion Last
You've got your hands on an awesome Subtlefight shirt or hat, so get ready to wear it a lot! Now it's up to you to make sustainable choices that serve the planet. There are ways to ensure that your quality, minimalist pieces don't end up in a landfill, even once you've worn them out.
Here's what you can do instead of throwing your worn-out Subtleflight garments away:
Recycle them into cleaning cloths
Include them in a t-shirt quilt
Compost them (they're 100% cotton, after all)
Repurpose them into a reusable grocery tote
Use the material to repair other garments
Bring them to a private clothing recycler
Use them to curl your hair
Donate them to a local daycare as paint smocks
Cut or tie-dye them to give them new life