7 places to shop instead of Shein, Zara or H&M

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By Frances Ariole, Copy Editor | The Metropolitan

In this age of instant gratification, overconsumption, and willingness to sacrifice quality over quantity, subpar clothing has become the norm for the average consumer. The increased demand for the next hottest trend or outfit but at a cheaper price gave birth to places such as Zara, Shein, H&M, etc.  It would be hypocritical for me to demonize these large corporations because I, too, have succumbed to their allure, especially when trying to maintain a certain image on a tight budget—it’s essential to confront the uncomfortable truths surrounding fast fashion.

 I encountered numerous articles about sweatshops, underpaid workers, and less-than-optimal work environments associated with fast fashion brands. I was left with a sense of guilt surrounding these purchases that had a low closet life span and required repurchasing multiple times. I did the math already and investing in a quality piece always saves more money in the long run than repurchasing similar clothes every quarter. After the guilt passed, I found myself asking “Now what?”. I have been educated about these corporations so I can no longer blame blissful ignorance, but I am also not rich enough to hire a personal shopper or stylist to purchase pieces for me. After doing some homework, I was able to source some alternatives to these popular brands. These brands have timeless pieces and a longer closet life:

  1. Lioness Fashion: This brand boasts unique and stylish pieces at a price point comparable to Zara.
  2. Aritzia: Known for high-quality basics that last, Aritzia also offers a similar price range to Zara.
  3. Abercrombie & Fitch: The brand’s recent rebranding has yielded impressive denim and accessories for individuals who want to elevate their basics.
  4. The Frankie Shop: High-quality materials define this brand, making it a great choice for cozy sweaters, cardigans, and trench coats – perfect for Minnesota winters!
  5. Source Unknown: This brand caters to those who crave a luxurious look and feel. Their sweaters and outerwear are highly recommended.
  6. Nakd Clothing: A personal favorite, Nakd offers H&M-comparable prices, well-fitting bottoms, and stylish tops.
  7. Oak & Fort: This brand carries trendy pieces with a curated selection. Reviews praise their accurate sizing.

Some tips to remember when shopping:

Focus on timeless basics: Opt for classic pieces that won’t go out of style, avoiding the trap of an overflowing closet filled with unworn clothes.

Resist social media pressure: You don’t need every trendy item you see online.

Embrace delayed gratification: Save up for that perfect piece instead of impulse buying.

Utilize wishlists: Add items to a wishlist and wait. You might be surprised how your feelings about a piece change over time.

By making these conscious choices, you can cultivate a stylish and sustainable wardrobe that reflects your values.