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Fashion Corporations Are The Enemies Of IndividualityAnd Authentic Self-Expression.



Growing up, I was taught to express myself through fashion and be bold in my opinions. And so I mimicked 1980s goths, I screamed at sexist and racist teachers and blasted Bikini Kill, and my obsession of political writing began as I amplified my leftist beliefs to the world. I presented as a punk, and I believed what punks should believe, in equality and justice by any means. But capitalism is killing the punk. And the goth. And the casual. 

Shein Isn’t A Punk Rocker

In 2020, when punk was the thing to be, it became diluted. YouTube and TikTok were flooded with “2020 Shein Alt Hauls”, videos of people buying “edgy” clothing in bulk to conform to a non-conformist movement. This is contradictory. Shein violates the morals of any true punk, like workers rights and equality for all. Bulk buying fake punk clothes to be “trendy” is the ultimate form of fashion hijacking. Shein has been accused of workers rights abuses on multiple occasions[1], with workers labouring on for 75 hour shifts[2], and next to no time off, for an unliveable wage. This makes it’s garments incredibly cheap, and hardly worn, with American consumers wearing a garment less than ten times before throwing it away, Chinese consumers only after three[3]. Consumerism has hijacked punk, stripped it of its morals, and is selling it with worldwide shipping for less than the price of a coffee. 


(What’s The Stoney) Morning Glory?


Mike Ashley’s Flannels can be accused of a similar crime against fashion. The casual fashion scene surrounded the value of individuality, and expressed that through its members all actively searching for unique pieces. My younger brother shares my dad’s love for casual fashion, but it is impossible to replicate nowadays. Near every independent that sells a Stone Island has been bought out by Flannels, including our beloved Xile on George Street, where I got my first pair of ROMs at fourteen. 


Flannel’s ability to, like a Shein consumer, buy in bulk, allows them to discount their prices which makes it impossible for small independents to keep up. Independents are being undercut and bought out by Flannels, with some independent owners claiming Ashely wants to be the sole provider of Stone Island. Flannels taking over the casual fashion scene with no competitors restricts the stock available to customers, whilst an independent can buy unique and limited stock from manufacturers, making every independent unique. Thanks to Flannels, the casual value of individual style has been booted by consumerism. 

Image Credit: Jess Urquhart

Don’t Try Sambaside (Nobody Care’s)


The solution to this is relatively simple. Care about your fashion. If you see a company changing its style and the kind of clothes it popularises every six months or so, then that brand does not care about authenticity, it cares about your wallet. Learn what you yourself are going to still like when the hype is over, otherwise people like Mike Ashley are going to be robbing you and dirtying authentic fashion for the rest of your life.  

Featured Image Credit: Jess Urquhart

2nd year politics and journalism student. Politics co-editor. Mostly just complaining.

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