Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion

{ Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion Elizabeth L. Cline }

'Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion' is the result of a three-year investigation by Elizabeth Cline into "fast fashion." The book explores typical consumers of cheap fashion and how the fast fashion industry of producing high volumes of low quality clothing has fundamentally changed the way we shop and dress. This quantity over quality system where profit for retailers is driven up and value for money is marginalised, has turned clothing into disposable goods that damage not only our environment and our economy but also our society.

Chasing trends has become a mass activity, a hobby accessible to anyone with a few pounds to spare as a result of low prices. Quality is no longer a concern when we are encouraged to regularly discard clothing when the next trend in fashion comes around. Consumers are encouraged to renew their wardrobes every few weeks by chasing trends, buying cheap, and rejecting the traditional values of the fashion and clothing industries.

Cline offers a solution to the consumers who want to break the "buy-and-toss" cycle, she encourages us to "make, alter, and mend" our clothing, alongside shopping secondhand and supporting independent designers.

What I felt 'Overdressed' lacked was a more indepth analysis of why consumers have become hooked on fast fashion, whether this is symptomatic of a larger issue and whether social media including blogging and YouTube (which Cline does explore briefly) has encouraged and altered our shopping decisions. I also felt the middle ground was ignored; where are the fairly priced, good quality clothing options? I feel Cline would have us believe there are only three choices: fast fashion (extremely cheap), high end fashion (extremely expensive), and recycled second hand clothing.

'Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion' is a good starting point for anyone wanting an introduction to fast fashion and its consequences. It makes for light reading due to Cline's relaxed, informal writing style and raises some interesting points.