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Why Fast Fashion is: A Local Artist Perspective

Updated: Nov 30, 2020

Have you ever gone to a local show in your city and wondered where the lead singer got those vintage boots? Or where they found those funky pants? Welcome to the DIY music scene. This is your local artists’ perspective on fast fashion. What do you know about thrifting and vintage shopping that can help the environment more?

I’m probably not the only one, but I always pay attention to what people are wearing at different social gatherings (when social gatherings were a thing). Especially in the Providence music scene, no one is ever wearing the same piece of clothing at a show. People thrift so much here that you’ll hardly ever find yourself in a situation where another person has the same top as you. Even if it's the same style. It’s moments and times like these that you’ll never think of shopping at the mall again. Maybe not ever again, but a lot less than you used to.

I am sure you’ve heard of the term “fast fashion” before. Fast fashion is a term used for designs that are similar to the current fashion trend. They are usually made quicker and of cheaper quality. It is important to realize that fast fashion is not something we can eliminate completely, but something we simply must bring more awareness to. If you don’t know how the average t-shirt is made, click the link. All those stores like H&M, Zara, Forever 21, TopShop, Zaful, and yes- Fashion Nova, are fast fashion.

At the same time, fast fashion’s biggest consumers are those of lower income. In times of back to school season, it is most affordable for families if buying in big quantities. And btw, it is no shame to want a more affordable version of something and still be fashionable. I understand, but we gotta know what’s good with its environmental impact. My point being that your local DIY music scene can do a great job in pulling you away from fast fashion and educate you on how to sustainably be trendy.

As a performer in the music scene, one thing I have noticed in my local scene is how unique everyone’s style is or how your local DIY scene can pull you away from fast fashion. Local musicians such as Gwen Babalato, Karla Gonzalez, and Olivia DeToma have a unique sense of style and all do it mostly buying second hand. Gwen and Karla are from local Providence-based band Late Night Trip, and Olivia is the former lead vocalist of Providence band Delko. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California, and continues to write and collaborate with other creative individuals there.

DeToma’s interest in clothing came from fashion magazines and movies at a young age. Like others, thrifting didn’t become a thing until around the end of high school or beginning of college. She said college friends took her on her first thrift store trip, and it quickly became a part of her lifestyle. DeToma said her school clothes were usually bought from places like Old Navy and Kohl’s as a kid because it was so inexpensive. As she got older, she became more conscious about what she was wearing.

Olivia DeToma

“I realized I had more power and control when I was doing secondhand, vintage and thrift rather than fast fashion.”

Being a part of the music scene introduces you to a lot of different people with diverse personalities and characters. At the end of the day, we are all performers. We are all looking to connect with our inner selves and express ourselves the best we can. DeToma said it is different than seeing everyone wear the same fast fashion stuff because the people you idolize in the scene do it with so much authenticity.

“As performers we are always trying to portray something or someone,” said DeToma. “When you are in an environment and a culture of people where that’s always what people are doing, it makes you wanna break the norm and find your own little niche.”

The music scene has influenced us so much because creativity is everywhere. From how people dress to how people think, and it is very interesting how the music scene life inspires you to express yourself.

Gwen Babalato

Babalato who came from the Philippines when she was 14 years old said she started learning about fast fashion when she came to America. She said her clothes used to come from street sellers in the Philippines, which were made of very cheap quality. When she came here, it was glamorized to shop at places like H&M and Forever. Even though her family influenced the way she dressed, she was exposed to different clothing styles from the public. As a teenager, social media such as Pinterest affected her sense of fashion too. Once she began thrifting, she said she started finding clothes that fit her personality more. She said that the local DIY community is so unique unlike other spaces, and it just makes you wanna be yourself.

“I feel like local indie artists want to be themselves with how they dress,” said Babalato. “They want to be their own person and express it through clothing without including any gender norms.”

Karla Gonzalez

Karla who plays bass along side Gwen said DIY scenes are super cool right now and the local music scene tends to fall into that.

Gonzalez on the left

“We all have a certain ‘look’ to us which heavily includes thrifted/vintage clothes,” said Gonzalez. “A stray from what fast fashion looks have to offer.”

Even though all these individuals have created their own style, they all understand that fast fashion is not the worst thing. It is simply the way they choose to live their life and dress themselves. They are doing their parts as creatives to care for the world. Because being green is not just good for our environment, but it is now becoming a trend so people can be more aware of it. Gonzalez mentions it’s hard because it's a profit centered market that is helping destroy our ecosystem but at the same time it allows low income people prices they can afford. She said ever since thrifting became popular (& especially thrift-ups) it can sometimes take away the lower priced items from people who really need them.

“You can’t just shut down the old navy’s and kohl’s of the world because those people are in a different pocket of their culture" said DeToma. "They wanna go to those places because that is their thrifting.”

Hopefully when this whole pandemic settles down and live music can be normal again, pay attention to what the artists are wearing. When you go to an art gallery or a show, ask them where they got those funky pants. You may be visiting a thrift or vintage shop sooner than you think. You can follow these women and their creative work at links below. As well for Late Night Trip, you can find their song “Auntie Orca” streaming on spotify, bandcamp and apple music.

Olivia DeToma

Instagram: @odt____

Music: @delkojams

Gwen Babalato

Instagram: @__gweneth

Karla Gonzalez


Late Night Trip

Instagram: @late.night.trip

What do you know about thrifting and vintage shopping that can help the environment more?

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