Eighteen years ago, at the tender age of nine, I sat down to watch The Lizzie McGuire Movie: a classic, coming-of-age tale where Lizzie goes to Rome on a post-graduation trip and somehow, during the course of two weeks, the 16-year-old manages to end up exposing an Italian pop star as a fraud. At the beginning of the film, Kate Sanders, aka Lizzie’s nemesis, calls out the protagonist for wearing the same outfit twice. “Lizzie McGuire, you are an outfit repeater!” she shouts. That’s when the cogs in my brain started to turn. “Wait,” I thought. “It’s embarrassing to be caught wearing the same thing twice?”
And it wasn’t just Ms. Sanders. As I grew up into my tweens and teens, a key staple of the movies I was watching (The Princess Diaries, Clueless, The Devil Wears Prada, and Miss Congeniality—heck, even every Disney movie) was the makeover montage. It helped to form an attitude I lived by until my mid-twenties: new clothes = new you. The clothes were fun, affordable, and they made me feel good. Until they didn’t.
Primark was a favorite until I realized how bad the fast fashion model was to people and the planet. | ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images
Factory worker scandals & climate guilt
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