I’m the first to admit that I am quite slow when it comes to keeping up with trends on social media. A lot of them can be so fleeting, that by the time I realise what’s happening, something new has started. But one trend that seems to be sticking around is clothing hauls. And I do not understand it at all. A clothing haul is when people go shopping, buy a whole bunch of clothing and then post a video on YouTube to show everyone what they got.
Watching these hauls, I got the feeling like they are really just one, super long (and free) advertisement for different clothing brands. The girls hold up the shopping bags in front of the camera as they excitedly pull out the clothes so we can all see what brand they are. Then they go into detail about the clothes. The size and how they fit, the design features and of course the price are all mentioned. The happy customers also talk about why they like the piece and why they bought it. The word ‘cute’ is excessively used to describe the reason for purchasing.
These videos go for around 10 minutes and I even saw some that lasted up to 20 minutes. I couldn’t even attempt to watch those. I was horrified enough from what I had witnessed in the shorter videos. What is more shocking, is that these videos are getting hundreds of thousands of views. And I am guessing the majority of views aren’t from people like me who are watching on in disgust.
It makes me sad to think that there are so many people out there that think these hauls are something to be proud of. The whole concept is just a new way to promote mass consumption. They all seem to get a rush out of it, but to me it is a very weird way to get a high. Aside from buying things because they were cute, the other top reason for purchase was because it was so cheap. They were ecstatic to be able to buy so much stuff without spending much money. More often than not, they would admit that particular pieces might only be worn ‘a couple of times’, or ‘just for this season,’ or worse still, not at all. What a waste. But according to them, it doesn’t really matter because it was just so cheap and cute! They couldn’t resist buying it!
But lucky for us, the sustainable and ethical fashion movement has come up with a retaliation to this madness. Fashion Revolution created the Haulternative. This encourages people to refresh their wardrobe, minus the mindless shopping expeditions. Haulternative offers up eight alternatives to shopping that enable people to give their wardrobe a new lease on life. The options include the obvious things such as mending and second hand, but also gives the idea of falling back in love with pieces that you own. Whether it is something that you have had forever and it has a special story behind it, or it is a piece of clothing that you have worn to death but you can’t bear to part with it, despite it being ridiculously tatty.
And this is the Haulternative option that I have chosen to focus on. I have a particular jumper from a surf wear brand that I cannot imagine ever parting with. I still remember when I bought it, about 12 years ago now. It was $80 and I put it on lay-by and paid it off using the money I earned from my part time job. I fell in love with it because of the bright green colour and because it fitted me perfectly. It was comfortable and casual and I wore it all the time. These days I still wear it all the time, but to bed and generally not out of the house.
However, the past couple of years have seen a rapid decline in the quality of my jumper. There are huge holes everywhere. On the elbows, around the wrists, on the body, under the arms. Literally all over. It definitely no longer serves its intended function of keeping me warm anymore. Every spin in the washing machine threatens its survival. I don’t even want to have to think about the day that it eventually disintegrates.
All of these Haulternative options are posted on YouTube for people to get inspiration from and see that there are far more practical ways to reinvent and re-imagine our wardrobes without contributing to the environmentally and socially destructive fast fashion industry.
Do you have any stories you’d like to share about your favourite pieces of clothing? What makes them so special? Let me know below!