A fashion fan has revealed how she turned her back on shopping after realizing she was spending hundreds of pounds every month on poor quality clothes that didn’t last.
Kayleigh Fazan, who now lives in Amsterdam, says she would one day invest her monthly salary in fast fashion, after becoming addicted to shopping in cheap clothing stores as a teenager.
After working in retail for 20 years, the former shopaholic had an epiphany when she realized she had so many clothes she could barely wear them all.
The moment led to the creation of the International Retail Academy in 2020, which helps retailers provide advice on how to connect with consumers when buying clothes that last longer.
Kayleigh says she was first introduced to fast fashion when she was 16 when she got a job at a popular high street store — and it wasn’t long before her addiction hit.
Kayleigh still has this green blouse from French Connection in her wardrobe from 13 years ago in 2010
She told MailOnline: “I started out making a wage and I just bought stuff because the employee discount was 50 percent.
‘So you can imagine when you start earning your first paycheck, you get three or £400 a month and I was just buying cr*p all the time. T-shirts, skirts, shoes, accessories, you name it, my wardrobe was overflowing.
“I was just obsessed, absolutely obsessed, because I had my own money, I could do whatever I wanted with it.”
The 37-year-old said her mother told her one day that she had too many clothes in her wardrobe and that she was much too late to tidy up.
Kayleigh bought this black dress in 2012 and wore it to a wedding in 2013 (left). She wore the garment again ten years after she bought it in 2022 (right)
The mother of a child also still has this belt she bought in 2011 – a staple she adds to many of her outfits
Kayleigh then decided to do a massive cleanup and donate her garments to various charity shops in Manchester, where she was based before moving to the Netherlands, meaning she only had 20 percent of her wardrobe left.
While most people have one wardrobe for all their belongings, Kayleigh had two that were filled to the brim with different items of clothing and under her bed were all her many pairs of shoes.
She even said she found it hard to get dressed for work in the morning simply because she had too many choices.
A few years later, in her early twenties, Kayleigh started a new job at Diesel and said that the higher price of the clothes there made her buy less.
The mother of one said, “I’d take 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 in this blue floral dress when she was pregnant in 2017 (left). Five years later, in 2022, she wears it again (right)
“It was around that time that I really started to shop consciously and stop just buying things because it was the latest trend or it was, you know, it was in a magazine or it was 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 little wardrobe where I hang my shirts, I hang my dresses, I hang my coats, and then I have two shelves where I got some tops and sweaters and then some pants. 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, I’m taking out pieces, you know, 10, 12 years ago and I’m feeling good.’
Kayleigh says she now only shops when she really needs something, such as when her body has changed shape, rather than because it’s a trend. She added that she recently wore a blouse she bought when she was 25 – meaning 12 years old.
‘As a person you just have to wear clothes, don’t you?’ Kayleigh says, “And you can get those clothes from friends, like you maybe you have a cool aunt, where she doesn’t wear her sweaters or dresses anymore, go borrow them from her and then have them custom made.”
“You can go to vintage stores or thrift stores and buy pieces, quality pieces and you can breathe new life into them and style them your way.
“I don’t think it’s sustainable to go to popular fast fashion brands every weekend and spend hundreds of euros on fashion that falls apart. It just isn’t and the situation at the landfill site is appalling.’
But even though her house is a lot more spacious, there is more money in Kayleigh’s wallet now than when she was in her twenties.
She saved hundreds of pounds a month by switching to her more sustainable lifestyle, and estimates that she spent most of her salary on clothes and trends when she was a young adult.
She said, “There was a time in my early twenties when I would probably waste most of my paycheck buying stuff.
“The latest bags and dresses and coats and everything else. And over the years I’ve become more in control of my finances, and I’m more aware of: Am I just stuffing my wardrobe to fill it, what’s going on here?
“Especially in the last five or six years, everything I buy has a purpose. I don’t go shopping now just to get inspired, or to be sold on or casually spend £100 or £500.
“I’m going shopping with a purpose now.”
Kayleigh’s best clothes tidying tips
She says, “Set aside a big chunk of undisturbed time and pull out your entire wardrobe. Score all items of clothing out of ten. If you scored something high and decided to keep it, but still haven’t worn it six months after your sort, get rid of it by donating it to charity, selling it, or giving it to someone as a gift.
“If you are tired of your clothes, give your clothes a new life by decorating them in a different way, adding some brooches, sewing some sequins. Otherwise, if it’s a shirt, tie it or tuck it in.
“Swap clothes with your friends and family. Rent clothes online if you need them for an event – you can wear something nice, but you don’t have to commit to the space.’