Why do you crave that fast fashion fix?
I’ve always been driven to understand what motivates us. It’s what drove me to train as a neuroscientist, and it gave me the deepest insights into how our brain and behaviours are intrinsically linked. Our brain shapes our behaviour, and our behaviour shapes our brain.
If we’re serious about creating any kind of shift in our shopping habits we can’t just focus on behaviour. We have to understand the neuroscience behind it all. As both the Co-Founder of dotte (a sustainable fashion business) and a trained neuroscientist, I felt like I had quite a unique combination of perspectives to try to shed some light on this.
So, here are four reasons why our brain craves that fast fashion fix, and how we can overcome this toxic addiction.
1. Our brains are hardwired to seek out the new.
Neuroscientists call it 'novelty preference' and - from an evolutionary perspective - it's pretty important. It means we pay attention to things which could potentially be a threat (or an aid) to our survival.
It's an old brain system that is perfectly exploited in today's buy, buy, buy culture. Look, a shiny new thing! Gotta have it. We can't help the urge to buy new stuff.
But getting your newness fix doesn't have to come box fresh. 'New to you' is just as good at satisfying those neural impulses. So next time you get the urge for a wardrobe refresh, try exploring reseller platforms instead, and let your brain bathe in the glory of something that's new to you, without the guilt.
But here’s a disclaimer - resale won’t actually curb all your fashion fix urges! Every day sellers are loading their preloved items for you to peruse meaning there's a constant stream of new items up for grabs. One of the main pieces of feedback we've had about dotte is just how addictive it is. That's the novelty preference right there for you!
2. We are social animals
It's how we have survived. It's fundamental to who we are and how our brain works.
And it explains why shopping (at least in the pre-COVID era) was something we enjoyed spending so much of our time doing. Why? Because all that socialising while we shop gives our brains a nice dose of oxytocin and dopamine. Chemicals which make us feel connected and rewarded, and all round GREAT.
But alas, in this post- (or not-so-post-) COVID era the new reality is that shopping is no longer a social behaviour. It's you, on a phone, in your house. Nay so rewarding for the old noggin.
This is where shopping on reseller platforms offers something unique; Connection. Finding a community of like-minded people who inspire you and share their wardrobe with you provides us with the opportunity to bathe our brains in feel good chemicals once more. We feel more connected in this oh-so-disconnected world we currently find ourselves in. It allows people to feel part of something, together.