fashion industry

Shhh! Quiet luxury, fast fashion, and you 

Luna Coscolluela

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Shhh! Quiet luxury, fast fashion, and you 
What’s the deal with quiet luxury, and why should it matter to you?

MANILA, Philippines – When I think of fashion, I think of The Devil Wears Prada. I remember watching the film when I was younger and obsessing over every little detail — from the clothes to the pressure to the drama, I loved every second of it.

The one scene that will always stick with me is Miranda’s (Meryl Streep) monologue about the fashion industry. She explains how common people (that’s us!) don’t actually have much of  a choice in what we wear. The clothes that we buy and the clothes that are available to us are dictated by the select few who decide what fashion really is. 

Your cute top? Inspired by fashion houses like Dior and Gucci. Your shoes? They’re probably just cheaper versions of ones that a celebrity wore. Your favorite color? Some designer must have picked it for their collection ages ago.

I always thought that this idea was fascinating. When I went out to look at clothes at the mall, I couldn’t help but notice patterns in the different trends and designs that occurred in popular brands. Recently, I noticed a rise in items that leaned on the more minimalist side of the fashion spectrum. Instead of loud and bold pieces, the colors of the clothes grew muted and the styles became more conservative.

That was how I learned about “quiet luxury” and just how deep into society this fashion trend actually goes.

Examples of ‘quiet luxury’

To pull off a quiet luxury look, you only have to do two things: wear something simple and make sure it costs much more than anyone would expect.

Let’s take a look at Sophia Richie, the unofficial and reluctant face of quiet luxury, and how she has mastered the look:

In her Instagram post from July 25, the 25-year-old model sports a simple black dress with a sunflower print. While she definitely wears it well, most people wouldn’t think twice about the piece. So how much would you have to spend to copy her look? According to Bernadette, the brand that makes the dress, it would only cost you around P33,000.

We can even see this trend in our own celebrities. Take this example of one of Heart Evangelista’s more casual looks:

In a post from June 6, the media personality looks laid back in her crisp white button-up. Upon first glance, the top looks like the kind everyone can have in their closet. What makes this particular shirt different? It’s made by Prada, and it’s worth approximately P60,000.

The deal with ‘fast fashion’

The truth is that most people can’t afford to splurge on expensive pieces the way that celebrities like Sophia Richie and Heart Evanglista can. As everyone starts to feel the effects of inflation, non-essential items like luxury clothing are more unobtainable than before. That’s where fast fashion comes in.

To meet the demand of people like you and me who want to follow the trend that these popular personalities have set, fast fashion brands like H&M and Shein have adapted their designs to fit the quiet luxury look. Now, you can cop the outfits you see on your favorite trend-setters without breaking the bank. 

Just like Miranda said in The Devil Wears Prada, the clothes that we choose have already been chosen for us by personalities like Richie and Evangelista who not only inspire the quiet luxury trend but shape the way the fashion industry reacts to it.

However, fast fashion has a lot of problems in and of itself. From the environmental effects of its production practices to the often unethical labor conditions required to keep costs low, the weight of purchasing clothes from fast fashion brands often doesn’t sit well with consumers who are conscious about the things they buy.

Better options out there

So what options are left for people who can’t afford to drop P30,000 on a dress but don’t want to support fast fashion brands? How are we supposed to build a wardrobe that matches our growing style while making sure our clothes are made sustainably?

Lucky for us, there is a growing community of brands that offer quality clothing without all the complications of fast fashion. They provide outfits similar to the ones worn by the personalities leading the quiet luxury movement without the hefty price tag. 

Here are a few local brands you can check out when making your next fashion purchase:

Just Because

This clothing brand offers vintage-inspired basics that can go with any style. They only produce a “limited number of units…per style” and adhere to a slow fashion philosophy. Their prices range from P1,500 to P3,500, which is definitely a better entry-point when it comes to buying investment pieces compared to the alternatives from luxury brands.

You can purchase their pieces on their website

Candid Clothing

This local brand gives you the opportunity to buy ethically produced clothing at a manageable price. On their website, they explain that they “[provide] training opportunities, fair pay, and flexible work schedules” to their garment makers. Most of their products are priced below P2,000 with their fan favorite basics being sold as low as P390, pricing it in the same range as fast fashion brands but with better labor practices.

You can purchase their pieces on their website

Dandy Ona

Looking for accessories to dress up your basics? This independent label offers handmade jewelry to go with your quiet luxury looks. Dandy Ona assures customers that they only produce quality pieces made “using methods passed on from generation to generation.” Their prices differ based on the material of the piece ordered, but they guarantee that all their products have been made with the same thought and care. They also accept custom orders.

You can purchase their pieces on their website. –

Luna Coscolluela is a Rappler intern.

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