You know that saying about the weather in Vancouver? “If you don’t like it, wait 15 minutes.” Comparatively, major clothing retailers change inventory as frequently as the weather changes in Vancouver. Sadly, we have become a society of mindless shoppers. We are encouraged to purchase more and upgrade whenever possible. Many of us have closets crammed with cheaply made, flimsy clothes in order to keep up with current trends. The landfill is teeming with garments that were worn only a handful of times. Our planet is in trouble and every one of us has a duty to the earth to become a more conscious consumer.
In her 2013 book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, Elizabeth Cline shone a spotlight on the horrific conditions of garment factory workers in China, Bangladesh and other third world countries. She made us aware of modern slave labour and the environmentally damaging practices of many clothing manufacturers. Cline also reminded us of the growing amount of personal debt we are incurring in the name of fashion and the impact our frivolous end-user habits are having on the planet.
As a mom, personal stylist, fashion lover and earthling, these discoveries were difficult to swallow.
Of course we all enjoy having new things to wear, but it has become an addiction. Our society has completely bought into the notion of purchasing as much as we can for as little as possible. Clothing prices are lower than ever due to overseas manufacturing practices and the fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters. Shopping hauls on YouTube are a “thing”.
“How can we rethink our approach to what we buy and shop more mindfully and more sustainable? We need to become better informed as consumers. Where is all this cheap clothing clothing from? How is it even possible to produce at this insanely cheap prices? And who is really paying for it?” Jill Cheevers, My Year Without Clothes Shopping.
3 Ways to Become a Conscious Consumer
- Buy Less, Buy Better and Take Care of Your Clothes Purchase a few more expensive, quality, classic items that will last longer and not be out of style next season. Think quality over quantity and investment pieces vs fashion fads. Joe Zee, editor-in-chief at Yahoo’s fashion site suggests that a woman’s closet be 70% classic and only 30% trendy. Wash garments in cold water and less often.
- Buy Local Nicole Bridger, Second Yoga Jeans, Soia & Kyo, Movement, Judith and Charles, Simone (available at Plum) JAC by Jacqueline Conoir, M0851, Leah Alexandra to name just a few.
- Buy Second Hand You can often find preloved goodies that are better quality than new items from the big box retailers. Consider consignment, thrift and Ebay. This is ideal if you are a new mom and/or in between sizes. Value Village has long been a Mecca for thrifters. They are not just for amazing Halloween costumes.
We can help you become a more conscious consumer. By curating your wardrobe with highly functional, quality, perfect-for-you items, you’ll not only be saving time and money, you’ll also be saving the earth. Book your seasonal closet refresher or style party today.
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