Beyoncé and Taylor Swift fans turn to fast fashion for concert attire

It’s been a summer of giant pop culture events. Beyoncé and Taylor Swift’s mega concert tours. The Barbie movie release. All of these spectacles have spurred a buying frenzy as fans shop for just the right outfit to wear to the event. And all that buying has fueled what experts in the clothing industry call “fast fashion.” Cheap, sometimes single-use apparel that fill malls and online shops that may also swiftly end up in landfills. But, there may be a surge in recycling those outfits too.

Beyoncé recently told fans to show up to her concerts wearing silver to celebrate her birthday season. Like “a shimmering human disco ball,” the queen bee said. “Everybody mirroring each other’s joy.” But maybe it’s causing some anxiety too?

“Anybody else completely stressed about what they’re wearing to the Beyoncé Renaissance concert?” said Facebook user Mrs Kevonstage.  

Rosie O’Donnell weighed in on TikTok.

“I don’t have silver clothes,” she said. “Does anyone know where I could get silver clothes?”

Then there are the Swifties like Nena Shelby, who’s on the hunt for the perfect concert look.

“These different Taylor Swift looks from each Era are going to be from Amazon,” she said, in a YouTube video.

In other words, a lot of consumers spending money on clothes they’ll probably wear for one big night. 

“We have people coming together around fashion and clothing and culture, which is really exciting,” said Elizabeth Cline, a professor of consumerism, sustainability and fashion policy at Columbia University.

Still, she says clothing production requires a lot of resources — water, energy, land, fossil fuels, and more.

“There’s an environmental impact that is often not being considered when people are buying clothes for these events,” Cline said.

And she said, “fast fashion” or cheap clothes are often made by underpaid workers in poor conditions.  

But there’s another trend alongside all this concert and movie going frenzy. Some consumers are going secondhand to find their sparkly halter tops or pink cocktail dresses.  

“The search for Barbie and pink went up like 138% after the trailer dropped,” said Erin Wallace with the online secondhand apparel company ThredUP. 

She said some buyers even use the hashtag secondhand to show off their outfits.

“And you know, tagging that they shopped secondhand in the first place on social so that’s, that’s encouraging as well,” Wallace said.

And she said that’s helping to build a culture around sustainable consumption.

“We all love these moments and want to participate,” said Wallace. “I mean, I’m going to Eras. I went to Barbie.”

Wallace said she wore an oversized pink cashmere cardigan to see the movie. Secondhand, of course. 

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