The textile industry has become one of the most wasteful with the introduction of fast fashion. A relatively new trend, fast fashion is defined as “an approach to the design, creation, and marketing of clothing fashions that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to consumers”. Fast fashion promotes cheap clothing, quickly made and constant pressure on consumers to change up their look year to year, season to season, just to stay on-trend. Let’s all wear leggings and sports gear one year and dump everything and switch to crop tops, booty shorts, and high waisted jeans the next. That’s the gist of fast fashion. And it’s nice to switch things up a bit in the clothing department, but from manufacturing to use to disposal, fast fashion and the brands behind it have created a huge problem that they don’t seem interested in fixing anytime soon.

Consumable products are those that we use up and then buy more of when they’re done, like food or shampoo and soap. We never thought about clothing as consumable. Our parents and grandparents used to purchase a new item of clothing once, or maybe a few times a year, and then wear the items for years until they no longer fit or were falling apart. Because clothing was expected to last, quality was important. Fast fashion, with its continual rotation of patterns, cuts and styles and demand for a cheaper price in a mass-market, has resulted in streamlined production of lower quality garments.  Rather than seeing clothing as an investment, we are being taught to see and use clothing as a consumable product to be purchased, worn a few times (the estimate is 6-10 times), and then tossed.

Enter House of Hammm. No, they don’t sell cooked hams or food of any kind. Rather they’re an adorable consignment store based in Lethbridge that sells high quality, second-hand clothing. In Miss Cay Hammm’s own words ``I love unique, one of a kind treasures that are no longer loved by someone else and I have a knack for finding those treasures. I don't love crap. Crap is shit.”

By finding treasures on her own from estate sales and other consignment stores, or accepting them on consignment from the community, Cay has saved incredible clothing from being disposed of and has contributed to our circular economy.

What about the extra pieces that she can’t sell or other donation items that she receives? Miss Cay has that covered too with a donation program that is used for all unsold clothing. Once the garments expire from their shelf life, they are packed up and sent to multiple programs in Alberta for those in need. Her favorite donation program is to Making Changes Association, an organization based in Calgary that helps women and teen girls overcome barriers through their “women-helping-women” network and referral partners.

So if you’re in the market for a new outfit or a special piece to give your closet some more pizzazz, check out House of Hammm and support this wonderful local shop that is working to promote the reuse of quality clothing and reduce textile waste in our community. Follow their Instagram page for outfit inspiration and laugh-worthy posts!  

Written by Annette Kerpel. 
Miss Cay Hammm, owner of House of Hammm