Woman reveals how she weaned herself off fast fashion

A fashion fan has revealed how she turned her back on shopping, after realising she was spending hundreds of pounds every month on poor quality clothes that wouldn’t last. 

Kayleigh Fazan, who now lives in Amsterdam, says she would once invest her monthly salary on fast fashion, after becoming addicted as a teenager to shopping in budget clothes stores.

Having worked in the retail industry for 20 years, the former shopaholic had an epiphany after realising she had so many clothes, she could barely wear them all.  

The moment led to her founding the International Retail Academy in 2020, which helps advise retailers on how to connect with consumers on buying clothes that will last longer. 

Kayleigh says her own first taste of fast fashion came at 16 when she got a job in a popular high street shop – and it didn’t take long for her addiction to kick in.

Kayleigh still has this green French Connection blouse in her wardrobe from 13 years ago in 2010

She told MailOnline: ‘I started earning earning a wage and I would just buy things just for the sake of it, because the staff discount was 50 per cent off. 

‘So you could imagine you start earning your first salary, you’re getting three or 400 pounds a month and I was just buying cr*p all the time. T shirts, skirts, shoes, accessories, you name it, my wardrobe was bulging.

‘I was just obsessed, like absolutely obsessed, because I had my own money, I could do whatever I wanted with it.’

The 37-year-old said that she one day, her mother said to her that she had too many clothes in her wardrobe and she needed a well overdue clear out.

Kayleigh bought this black dress in 2012 - but didn't wear it until this wedding in 2013

Kayleigh is pictured here in the same place dress a decade after se bought it, in 2022

Kayleigh bought this black dress in 2012 and wore it for a wedding in 2013 (left). She re-wore the garment a decade after she bought it in 2022 (right)

The mother-of-one also still owns this belt which she bought in 2011 - a staple which she adds to many of her outfits

The mother-of-one also still owns this belt which she bought in 2011 – a staple which she adds to many of her outfits 

Kayleigh then decided to have a massive clear out and donate her garments to various charity shops across Manchester, where she was located before she moved to the Netherlands, which meant she was left with only 20 per cent of her wardrobe.

While most people have one wardrobe for all their belongings, Kayleigh had two which were full to the brim with different garments and underneath her bed were all of her many pairs of shoes. 

In fact, she said that she found it hard to get dressed for work in the mornings simply because she had too much choice.  

A couple of years later when she was in her early twenties, Kayleigh started a new job at Diesel, and said that the higher price point of the clothes there meant she bought less. 

The mother-of-one said: ‘I would be taking too much time getting ready in the morning because there’s just too much choice. There was so much noise in my wardrobe.

Kayleigh is pictured sporting this stylish blue floral dress when she was pregnant in 2017

Here Kayleigh is wearing the same dress but five years later in 2022

Kayleigh is pictured sporting this blue floral dress when she was pregnant in 2017 (left). Five years later in 2022, she is wear it again (right)

‘It was around that time I started to actually consciously shop and stopped just buying things for the sake of it because it was the latest trend or it was you know, it was featured in a magazine or featured on a celebrity. One day I just stopped buying stuff.’

She said: ‘I’m really happy to say that to this day, I still only have one small wardrobe where I hang my shirts, I hang my dresses, I hang my coats and then I’ve got two shelves where I’ve got some tops and jumpers and then some trousers. And it’s a small wardrobe.

‘Now it takes me two minutes to get ready in the morning. I know exactly where I’m going to, I pull out pieces from, you know, 10, 12 years ago and I feel good.’

Kayleigh says that she only shops now if she really needs something, for example if her body changed shape, rather than because it’s a trend. She added that just the other day she was wearing a blouse that she bought when she was 25 – meaning it is 12 years old. 

‘As a human being, you just need to wear clothes right?’ Kayleigh says, ‘And you can get those clothes from friends, like you maybe you’ve got a cool auntie, where she no longer wears her jumpers or dresses, go and borrow them from her and have then tailored. 

‘You can go to vintage shops or charity shops and get pieces, quality pieces and you can give them a new lease of life and style them in your own way. 

‘I don’t think that heading off to popular fast fashion brands every single weekend and spending hundreds of pounds on fashion that falls apart is sustainable. It’s just not and the landfill situation is dreadful.’

But while her home is a lot more spacious, Kayleigh’s purse has more cash it in now than it was when she was in her twenties.

She has saved hundreds of pounds a month converting to her more sustainable lifestyle, and estimates that she was spending the majority of her salary on clothes and trends when she was a young adult.

She said: ‘There used to be a time in my early twenties, where I would whittle away probably the majority of my salary on just buying stuff. 

‘The latest bag and dresses and coats and everything else. And over the years, I’ve had more of a control on my finances, and more of an awareness of am I just filling my wardrobe for the sake of filling it, what’s going on here?

‘Certainly the last five or six years, everything I buy has a purpose behind it. I don’t just go shopping now to be inspired, or to be sold to or to casually spend £100, or £500.

‘I go shopping now with a purpose.’

Kayleigh’s top clothes-clearing tips

She says: ‘Put aside a huge chunk of undisturbed time and strip out your whole wardrobe. Score all garments out of ten. If you scored something highly and decided to keep it but still have not worn it six months after your sort out, get rid of it by donating it to charity, selling it or gifting it to someone.

‘If you get bored of your clothes, give your clothes a new lease of life by decorating them in a different way, add some broaches, stitch on some sequins. If it’s a shirt, tie it up differently or tuck it in.

‘Swap clothes with your friends and family. Rent clothes online if you need them for an event – you get to wear nice something different, but you don’t have to commit to the space.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk