Recognizing How Fast Fashion Retailers Create Hidden Expiration Dates for Clothing and How we can fight back.

When you usually think of things with expiration dates, what generally comes to mind is food, milk and coupons. But rarely do you ever associate expiration dates with clothing and yet Fast Fashion retailers have built into their clothes multiple levels of expiration redundancies. How have they been able to pull the wool over the eyes of unsuspecting customers all these years? Let’s explore and find out.

To understand how they have been able to trick and con us into buying clothes with expiration dates we need to be able to recognize and understand the types of expiration they have.

Quality Expiration — This is the type of expiration that is obvious. When the quality of the product breaks down due to the type of materials used or shoddy construction.

Planned obsolescence — This is when a brand actually strategically builds a piece of clothing so that it will break down in X amount of time. This is done so you keep on buying from the brand over and over again giving them a constant stream of cash flow.

Size Expiration — This is the least obvious one that no one really realizes. Whenever you out grow your pants or you shrink and no longer can wear your oversized old clothes, you have just experienced a size expiration.

How can you fight back?

The easiest way is to let your dollars do the talking. The only way to change the behaviors of fast fashion companies is to show them that you’ll no longer buy clothing that has these built in redundancies. Let your dollars and your foot traffic do all the talking.

The second thing you can do is start changing your mentality. Don’t accept clothing that has less than amazing quality. Don’t accept inferior products. Try to buy American made products.

The last thing you can do to combat these fast fashion giants and their expirations is to go out and look for brands that fight against these expirations. That stand for quality. That say no to cheap labor. That believe they are making more than just another piece of clothing.

The industry won’t change overnight. But if we continue to be conscious of the purchasing decisions we make, we can, slowly, change the fashion industry for the better.