BE A CONSCIOUS CONSUMER
The start of a New Year is the time for resolutions and changes. This year we challenge you to be a more Conscious Consumer. What exactly does this mean? Ways of Change is here to share some simple and stylish tips for making your wardrobe interesting, unique and ultimately ‘greener’. A Conscious Consumer is someone who is aware of what they are buying, why they are buying it, and how long it will last. It is a person who wants to have a closet full of pieces that will last and be worn for seasons to come. It is not fast fashion but quality and honesty over quantity.
I love to shop and my passion is finding that perfect piece to enhance any outfit. My resolution this year is to buy with purpose and to make smarter fashion choices. I pledge to be a Conscious Consumer. Here are my easy to follow guidelines to makes smarter decisions when shopping.
Vintage & Second-Hand
Photos from Pinterest Board - http://www.pinterest.com/lcbairdy/
This is one of my favourite tips, buy something vintage or slightly used. Vintage fashion will add a unique element to your wardrobe because most likely no one else will have this piece but it is also saving clothing from clogging our landfills. Just because someone else has thrown it away does not mean that piece is not perfect for you, it’s that idea of ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. There are some amazing sites out there for second-hand high quality items such as The Real Real, where you can buy luxury consignment, meaning they are pieces that are high quality that will last. Ebay is always great too for second-hand or vintage and my other favorite places to shop are flea markets, swap meets or your local thrift store. Half of all the clothing purchased in a year will end up in landfill, or my personal favorite find your local flea market, swap meet or garage sales. Save our planet and update your wardrobe by searching out unique pieces that came from someone else closet.
Know Your Fabrics
Read the labels of item you are going to buy. The textile industry is one of the most chemically pollutant industries in the world and the number two contributor to water pollution, so make sure you know what type of fabric you are buying. Avoid synthetics and focus on natural fibers which are biodegradable, meaning they will decompose quicker than synthetic fibers such as polyester which will take over 200 years to breakdown in a landfill. Eco-conscious materials such as viscose, organic cottons, cruelty-free wool or cashmere are fabrics that will feel amazing on and will make you a Conscious Consumer. Who wants to wear formaldehyde anyway? Chemicals are so not chic!
Seamless Supply Chains
Photo from Everlane.com
A seamless supply chain means a company will tell you exactly where their product was made, that the employee who made it was paid fairly and worked in a clean and safe environment, and that the product was shipped in the best way possible. My favorite label doing this is Everlane, they have a completely transparent supply chain. You can see exactly how much they paid for the raw materials to make your new chambray shirt, the cost of labor, duties and transport so you know the true cost of an item compared to the traditional mark-up price. They work with factories that value integrity and workplace safety. It can take a little bit to find brands that offer this but another tip is just knowing where you item is being made and by whom. If it says ‘Made In China’ and you don’t know anything about this company more often than not the health and safety rules and regulation in those factories are not up to standard and the waste and pollution they produce is not worth one little t-shirt for you. Don’t buy it until you know where it is coming from.
Preserve Artisanal Traditions
This is our favourite obviously because at WoC because this is what we believe in. We want all of our products to be an investment in preserving artisans skills but also a conversation piece in your wardrobe. By buying items like this you not only will you end up with pieces that are unique and beautifully hand made but you are keeping jobs in the hands of the producer instead of sending them to large quantity factories. Items made by hand in India or like our products in Thailand are offering a livelihood to those workers but also preserving traditional skills that might otherwise be forgotten. The craftsman in Italy and Spain have been working with leather for hundreds of years but a lot of their jobs are being sent now to big factories in China where things are over produced leading to more waste and your new handbag never touched an actual persons hands only factory machines. Choose small quantity made product that you know have touched an artisans hands giving you an item that it unique but also preserving important crafts and skills, not mass produced items from H&M for example.
Do you have any favourite sustainable brands that you have come across? Where do you like to shop? We challenge you in 2015 to step away from fast fashion and become a Conscious Consumer.