OP/ED: Fashion Addicts Anonymous Take Away's

Written by Aurora Hinz, Edited by Julia Valencikova and Willa Tsokanis

Fashion Addicts Anonymous offers more than one might think it does. Don’t let its name fool you; we’re not sitting in circles and whining about our shopping habits. In all actuality, it is a solution to feeling unheard. Fashion Addicts Anonymous is also a chance to practice active listening. It is an answer to our lack of education. The weekly meetings foster constructive conversation, not attacks, not whines, or just a list of complaints. While our complaints do come up within the conversation, we are more focused on how to figure out the solution to our problems, not just idly sit by and let them continue happening.

“It's always great to see and hear from others who care.” another participator stated, “ We often feel isolated in having opinions that diverge from the day to day mindless cycle of consumption. The meeting was refreshing in that sense.”

Don't get me wrong. We are angry. We’re angry because large corporations feel no obligation to change their malpractices, because they keep consumers in the dark about all of the hurt and destruction that they cause. We are angry because it does not have to be this way- no more business as usual. We come to these meetings to discuss our futures. We hope for all of the things that will save our planet and will fight and fight and fight for the rights for our fellow humans.

This group is for leaders and for creating a community of educated, conscious consumers. By using our power of community, we can come together to combine our unique experiences, learn from each other, and try and find the solutions for a less turbulent future.

It’s becoming all too familiar. You may recognize it yourself. That feeling that you’re not really being heard in the conversation that you are having. This is easily one of the most frustrating situations I experience in my day-to-day life. Not that I’m upset that someone doesn’t agree with me completely and share all of my exact same values after one conversation, but that they didn't even take the time to TRY to understand and listen. Feeling brushed off, dismissed, or even pandered to after a conversation irks my entire soul, and i’m sure that many of you who are also fighting the good fight for a sustainable, equitable future feel all too often as well.

Language is one of our strongest weapons against the oppression that the fast fashion industry and excessive consumerism causes. By creating a community we can choose how we should present the issue of sustainability and figure out ways in which to inform other people about it without being abrasive. We also then control the vocabulary we use, the connotation behind the words we feel so strongly about, and the opportunity to share those words with the full weight of the meaning behind them.

“I loved hearing how people have worded things differently that I would, or I have heard in the past.” One participator wrote, “ I can take this verbiage and the information I learned here (particularly about working in stockrooms and on fitting room floors) and apply it to my practice and share better with my network.”

Check out the results from our May 2018 Impact Survey here!