How to avoid Fast Fashion Faux Pas

fast fashion faux pas florida senior photography
You know those cool shoes you bought for only $30 and you wear them everywhere? You know the sole on them that is starting to flap because the glue wore out? How about the stitching around the sole that start tearing apart? Oh, and you know how you thought it was leather but now you realized it’s something else that stains and wears out quick? You’ve just made a fast fashion faux pas.

What is fast fashion?
Fast fashion isn’t just about the quality of the clothing you’re buying, but also where and how your clothing is made. It’s a little like fast food… yeah, it’s easy to get and tasty, but you don’t know where it came from and you’re going to regret it later. But like everything, there’s exceptions to this (even in fast food—think Chipotle using hormone-free meats and using fresh ingredients).

Knowing where your clothes came from and how they’re made is an important part of your style.
The working conditions overseas are notorious for sweatshops and inhumane labor conditions. We’re seeing the results of these labor practices these days, like the recent Bangladesh factory collapse. A $10 t-shirt isn’t worth human suffering so many of us are turning to companies that are able to give us quality clothing and accessories that are made by people in humane conditions making reasonable wages.

What if I can’t afford it?
You can’t NOT afford it. The simple approach to avoid buying fast fashion is understanding that when you buy products at better quality and craftsmanship, they should have a longer life. So that $30 pair of shoes that lasted about 3-months? A classic, quality pair from a company that puts more importance on the build and quality of their shoes, like at, will last longer giving a better return on your purchase.

Won’t the clothes go out of style?
When you’re buying higher quality clothes, it’s better to go with more classic items that will always stay in style. A pair of nude or black pumps can be multi-purposed for both professional and casual wear which will never go out of style. Now, that t-shirt with the cat wearing sunglasses playing a banana like a saxaphone? That might not be a piece you invest as much in. Although, 20 years from now that may be a collector’s item… so you may keep it in the bottom of your dresser for a while.

Where can I buy better made clothes?
Fortunately, some of your more favorite stores like Forever 21 and H&M are taking strides to improve the quality of their products and work conditions where their clothing is made. The Swedish-based H&M promised changes since the Bangladesh incident and Forever 21 announced a better line of shoes  but there’s many more places available that aren’t at the local Oaks Mall in Gainesville or Mall of Millenia in Orlando.

How else can I help others when I buy my clothes and accessories?
One of our favorite companies is Fetch Eyewear out of Portland, Oregon, who donates all of their profit to the Pixie Project, an organization that helps the welfare of animals through rescue, vet care, and education. Another clothing retailer, Sevenly, donates a huge chunk of change from each item purchased to a charity of the week, with over $3 million donated to date.

What are you doing to be a slower fashionista?

fashionable young woman in front of graffiti brick wall

Kim - Love this post! Something I try to think about more, as I find myself to be a bit of a hypocrite when it comes to clothing. Like, oh, I have to have all organic fair trade coffee and chocolate buuuuut I buy ALL my clothes from disposable fashion websites sourced from underpaid overseas labor. Gah!

One of my favorite clothing stores that I’ve been trying to put more stock into is Everlane — based in the US, they are EXTREMELY transparent with what makes clothing so expensive and offer designer quality at wholesale prices. Love them!

“What should I do after I graduate?” 6 ideas for starting a fun and fulfilling post-high school life in Florida.

what should i do after graduation
On many of our high school senior photo sessions, I like to ask the pre-graduates what their plans are post-graduation. The answers range from assurity to indecisivity. Some students know exactly where they plan on going after the caps and gowns are off but, by my own experience, many of them will change their paths as they go through their college years. I hope this list may give you some ideas and help when deciding your path after high school.

Make friends and have fun—it’ll help you later on.
Making friends, socializing, attending sport’s games… parties… it’s all part of the college experience for many. It’s also a building block for having a personally successful future in whatever you will do in life. You will most likely meet your future co-workers and colleagues on campus and upperclassmen and professors may become mentors. I can’t tell you how important past professors back at the University of Central Florida have been in helping guide me, endorse me, and introduce me to people who have shaped my career.

Intern Intern Intern!
Did I mention intern? While tests and grades are important to get you through college, the plan is to do do something with that degree afterward. Being in college is a great way to get your foot in the doors of companies you’ve always dreamed working with. Most companies will only take students for internships, so it’s a great way to learn, network, and possibly get a job after you graduate. Shoot for the top in terms of the companies you want to work with but also look around at ones that show potential. It’s all part of the path of learning what you want in your life.

Attend a community college for your general education (Gen Ed) courses.
I’ve always felt community colleges get a bad rap by most. I may be a little biased because I went to one, but there’s so many pros that you may like the idea, too. I was lucky to have the Florida Bright Futures scholarship but that didn’t cover things like living/housing expenses, food, and the countless other things that living at home can help with. You may even get a jumpstart by dual-enrolling while you’re still in high school.

There’s so many great community colleges around the area now like Central Florida College in Ocala (my alma mater), Valencia College and Seminole State College in Orlando, Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, and Brevard Community College and Daytona Beach Community College on the east coast. With your associate’s degree from these schools, you can transfer into most state college’s with your general education courses finished so you can go straight for your major’s courses while paying much less to have done so.

Don’t rush into graduate degree if you’re not ready.
There’s a lot of great reasons to get a graduate degree after you’ve earned your bachelor’s but unless you have a specific reason to continue on with your education (like becoming a lawyer or doctor), you may want to consider getting out into the working world before heading back into another program. I don’t necessarily agree with everything said in it, but there’s an interesting article by Penelope Trunk about graduate degrees postponing the entry into the working world. It’s something to consider along with all of the pros of having an advanced degree.

Don’t wait for it—go and get it! (A tip for the introverts)
One of the things I love talking about during our sessions are people’s hobbies and the different activities they participate in at school. If you decide to attend college, your chances to join different clubs, try different sports or activities, and excel in something you already know and love increases ten fold. If you’re not naturally gifted at networking or socializing, this is the best way to get out there and meet people without a lot of pressure. The only caveat is that you’ve gotta go out there and do it and not wait for it to come to you.

Take some time to explore.
Many American high-schoolers’ dreams are to backpack across Europe or some foreign country after graduating. If you have that opportunity—take it. There’s so many awesome programs out there to see the world. In fact, my cousin just came back from two places the past two years: working at Mammoth Springs in Yellowstone National Park and then going across the world to work in Melbourne, Australia! There’s so many great opportunities that won’t necessarily put you in debt that allow you an alternative to your college education.

I’ll leave you with Joseph Campbell’s quote, “Follow your bliss.” It’s become almost cliché, but it’s a great reminder to make the most of your life and live your own dream, not someone elses.

What should you do after graduation? Central Florida Photographers Foxtale Photography

University of Florida Senior Portraits | Asheton | Foxtale Photography

Gainesville Florida photographers Foxtale Photography

Graduation isn’t limited to only high school. Being so close to Gainesville, we frequently get requests to photograph graduating seniors at the University of Florida. It’s a beautiful campus that reminds me of the classic colleges of the Northeast…it’s hard to believe you’re still in Central Florida.

We recently met with graduating senior, Asheton, on campus for a wonderful portrait session featuring her favorite spots around campus and around the swampy city. After having her hair and make-up done by Jamie B (included in all of our sessions), she showed off her school spirit in blue and orange—even posing next to the famous Albert and Alberta statues across from the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Having toured the campus, we ventured off to some of our other favorite spots around Gainesville and before we knew it, the sun had set. It was a real pleasure to have gotten to spend the afternoon photographing and getting to know this super-talented, stylish and smart young woman. Asheton, as we speak, is already off to do some great things post-college (including a graduation celebration at Disney World). A big congratulations and we wish her continued success.

UF graduate portraits

UF graduate portraits Foxtale Photography

2013 graduate Foxtale Photography

UF 2013 graduate

Gainesville Florida photography Foxtale Photography

College graduate pictures

UF graduation Foxtale Photography

Florida portrait photography