For many fashionistas out there, an addiction to fast-fashion is simply a part of their day-to-day lives. Shopping is fun, it’s exciting, you get to do it with your friends and at the end of the day, you’re going to look great. Why not go for a shopping spree at your favorite clothing outlet store?
Addiction can take many different forms, but most often, we associate addiction with things like drugs. For anyone who’s seen the hit tv show My Strange Addiction, you’ll know that drugs are definitely not the only option. People can be addicted to eating mac and cheese; to sniffing gasoline; some people are even addicted to eating drywall, and drinking nail polish.
With all the strange addictions out there, is anyone surprised that people can be addicted to something as seemingly innocuous as fashion? If it doesn’t do any harm, should it even be considered an ‘addiction’ in the unhealthy sense?
Many psychologists argue that fast-fashion addiction is most definitely a real thing, and in some cases, it does plenty of harm. Known as compulsive buying disorder, the condition affects 1 in every 20 people, and is characterized by the sufferer’s relentless need to go out shopping. These impulsive shopping sprees often result in serious financial, psychological and interpersonal issues, the kind that have skeptics wondering whether fast-fashion addiction really is an issue.
For those who are still on the fence, the evidence of addiction speaks for itself. Some sufferers have been pushed to lie, to embezzle, and even to divorce their spouses, all to buy the next big thing; the same tell-tale signs of a stereotypical addict. And if you thought that women are more prone to addictive shopping, you’d be wrong as well. Both men and women are almost equally likely to have this condition, adding further credence to the fact that this is an actual psychological condition.
Like any categorized and legitimate psychological condition, compulsive buying disorder has its own associated set of symptoms. The following are the seven symptoms of CBD, as described by Dr. Cecilie Schou Andreassen, a psychologist and expert in the field:
1. You think about shopping all the time.
2. You buy things to make yourself feel better.
3. You shop to the point where your daily life is interrupted and affected negatively.
4. Your need to shop intensifies as greater amounts of purchases are required to produce the same effect.
5. You want to shop less, but you have difficulty doing so.
6. You feel bad when you are prevented from shopping.
7. You shop to the point where your well-being is affected negatively.
Each of these seven symptoms, or “warning signs” is accredited with a score ranging from zero to four, zero being completely disagree, one being disagree, two being neutral, three being agree and four being completely agree. According to Dr. Andreassen, if you scored a three or four on at least four of these symptoms, you may have CBD.
In an interview, Dr. Andreassan explained that the condition is often seen in people who are either high in neuroticism or extroversion. Neurotic people would be inclined to have unhealthy spending habits as they are more likely to be self conscious and suffer from depression related issues. Because of this, they are also more likely to use shopping as a coping mechanism. As for extroverts, shopping is a way to gain social status. When buying new items, not only do they want to feel good buying something new, they also want to look good to others.
As researchers gain a better understanding of the psychology behind the issue, biologists are also hard at work explaining, well, the biology of CBD. Researchers from Stanford, MIT, and Carnegie Mellon completed a study on the neural patterns of people while they shopped. What they discovered (as many of us can attest to) is that the part of the brain responsible for pleasure, the nucleus ambens, lit up like a Christmas tree when the subjects saw an item they wanted to purchase (on a side note, the greater the desire, the more activity in the nucleus ambens; a direct, physical reflection of a very subjective, and difficult-to-measure phenomena). When the subjects were then presented with the price tag, the medial prefrontal cortex, or the area of the brain responsible for making choices then lit up, at the same time as the indula, or the area of the brain responsible for pain.
This process of pleasure, decision-making, and pain is something that many shopping addicts are familiar with, the reason being that fast-fashion is perfectly designed to engage it. Because of the speed of fast-fashion, there is always a new item to buy, and on top of that, the items are usually incredibly cheap. A 25 dollar shirt is hardly a chunk off your savings, making it easy to accomplish lots of quick, impulsive purchases without realizing the greater costs over time.
Fast fashion is not only problematic for your mental well-being, its also very problematic for the environment. Approximately 10.5 billion tons of clothing waste is annually added to landfills, putting excessive strain on our waste disposal systems. Not only that, some second-hand clothing outlets receive so much product that only 20 percent of it is sold, meaning the rest is simply thrown out again.
So what can we do to stop this? The circular economy is a great place to start! As a company, we advocate sustainable business practices, including the implementation of the circular economy, the hero we’ve called to fight fast fashion. The circular economy aims to replace the fast-fashion craze that is affecting both our minds and our planet, and thankfully at ÀLA.HAUSSE we provide an application that acts as a portal for all your conscientious purchasing decisions. You can buy, sell, rent and lend quality, gently used fashion items all with the click of a button, without adding to landfills across the country.
À New Wave to Fashion. À New Way of Living.
Your First and Last Sustainable AI and Social Powered P2P/B2C Multifunctional Ecosystem (BUY/SELL/RENT/LEND/ SWAP/GIFT), for Me and You.
Via ÀLA.HAUSSE’s Multi-functional and Multi-purposeful Fashion Ecosystem- BUY/SELL/RENT/LEND mobile application, INDIVIDUALS & brands ( BETA) are encouraged to REBUY, RESELL, REUSE and UP-CYCLE their personal “Clossets” aka Clothing Assets. Through this consumerism habit shift we slow down the urgency on fashion carbon footprint, aiding sustainability as a whole.
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