May 26, 2014
After becoming informed through my classes about the dark side of the fashion world (things like pollution and human rights violations) I became cynical. I could no longer felt good about browsing my favorite stores or keeping up with the latest trends. Seeing “Made in Bangladesh” on the clothing tags began to fill me with disgust. I wondered what I could do.
I have always believed fashion to be a form of art and self-expression, but the idea of shunning the fashion industry just depressed me. I knew there had to be a way to stay stylish while still keeping somewhat of a moral compass. I started thinking and researching and finally created the following ideas below to help myself and others like me become fashion conscious consumers!
If you’re in love with that pair of tribal printed harem pants (you can tell I’m getting personal), then buy them! An early misconception of mine when I was becoming a conscious consumer was that I couldn’t buy something that was trending because of fear that I wouldn’t wear the trend past a season. Instead, if there is a trend I like, I’ll sit on the trend for a few weeks. If I’m still thinking about the trend, and I have outfits planned in my head with the trend, then I’ll buy it. Go out and purchase those harm pants, joggers, crop tops, or rompers, if you think you’ll wear them for years down the road.
Buy From Eco-Friendly, Fair Trade Stores:
During my research for a class assignment, I learned that the city I live in has a few eco-friendly and fair trade stores. I was pleasantly surprised when the stores were carrying fashionable products, too! So, sit your bottom down by your computer and research eco-friendly and fair trade stores in your city or town. Journeying to eco-friendly and fair trade stores was fun because the stores were in areas of the city that I otherwise would have never traveled to. Also, you will find very unique products at eco-friendly/fair trade stores because the products are either made by local artists or artists from other countries.
Buy Quality, Not Quantity:
During the semester, my teacher did a very interesting experiment. She asked us to list five fashion items that have had an impact on us. Many of my classmates wrote broad fashion items, such as jeans, a white button-up blouse, or a pair of black pumps. To me, the experiment suggested that since we can buy clothes for extremely low prices, we don’t buy expensive clothes that are more meaningful. We can easily buy countless pairs of shoes in one year, then buying one pair of iconic Christian Louboutin heels. Instead, try buying clothes and accessories that are more expensive because they will most likely last for years and years. According to Isabelle Thomas & Frederique Veysset, authors of “Paris Street Style, A Guide to Effortless Chic,” the women of Paris are famously known for owning very few clothes and accessories, yet their closets are filled with designer or unique garments. Parisian women are fashionable because they have to creatively mix and match clothes and accessories, since they own fewer clothes and accessories than American women.
When I began to be a conscious consumer, I would put pressure on myself to fit a certain idea of how a conscious consumer looks and acts. I love shopping. I love dressing in trendy and unique garments, and I love dressing in eco-friendly and fair trade apparel. At the end of day, I have to be happy with who I am and how I act. Now, I accept myself for the type of conscious consumer I am. Don’t feel pressured to act a certain way to fit some misconstrued idea of what a fashionista or eco-friendly consumer is. Be you. Conscious consumers come in every style!
I am so happy you’re joining me and thousands of conscious consumers around the world. I hope the ideas above help guide you to become stress-free, fashionably conscious consumers. Also, I would love to hear what other ethical shopping ideas you have, so add a comment below!
Photo Credit: Flickr/kthread, comedy_nose