Conscious Consumerism

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Conscious Consumerism

Those who criticise people for enslaving, exploiting, and eliminating entire races, but also are the first in line to buy a new Nike shoe when it comes out, are living hypocrisy. There is blood on their hands. Some people really just don’t know, but if they are aware of how Nike (and other brands) treat their workers and employees then they are as bad as the slave traders. People may say “everyone does it, we need to buy clothes,” yet there are so many companies who have an open door policy that allows both public and private investigators to check their working conditions.
It is not difficult to be conscious, to prove my point here is a  small list of companies who have ethical standards, open-door policies, and/or had high rated facilities.
  1. Adidas – largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and second largest in the worldconscious consumerism
  2. Timberland – Waterproof shoes and outdoor wear
  3. Under Armour – sports apparel
  4. American Apparel – clothing retailer
  5. New Balance – multinational shoe company
  6. Lush – beauty and self -care products
  7. Modcloth – various indie and vintage clothing items and accessories
  8. H&M – made from sustainable resources, recycles clothes given to them and gives them to charity.
  9. She Thinx – period underwear that provides menstrual products for women and girls in third-world countries.
  10. Alternative Apparel – men’s and women’s clothing and accessories
  11. Fair Trade Winds – fair trade goods and gifts
  12. Toms – donates shoes to inhabitants of third-world countries
  13. Alex and Ani – supports women’s empowerment and has a Charity by Design collection for
  14. Lokai Bracelets – current orange Lokai bracelet support mental health awareness, supports various causes.

Some can’t afford to buy ethical clothing, that’s fine. But if a new pair of Nikes is affordable, then so is thoughtfulness. No more excuses.

More, more, more

We are in a world obsessed with new. New music, new TV, film etc… Within this cacophony of zeitgeist we search for the unique, but the covetable. The young, but the classic. In no other industry are these dichotomies more present than fashion. Fashion designers are always looking for the new thing to catch the eye of a consumer, prime example of this being Gucci’s new meme advertisement campaign on Instagram. The fashion press always craves the newest story, a new angle and they want it first. All of this behaviour is a reflection of the consumer base of fashion. Bright young things behaviour to Topshop or Urban Outfitters, to buy the latest slogan tee, to Instagram later on whilst on a night out at a new club or cool gig. The next week they’ll do the same thing, it’s cyclical. Rinse and Repeat.

I challenge this behaviour because it seems to have no end. When these teens grow up will it not just be the same behaviour only with cars, or houses, holidays and spouses. Use until it’s not cool anymore then get a new one. The desire to cop new fashion is nothing new but I believe this new cycle of fast fashion has been powered by social media. It’s all about the likes at the end of the tunnel. Fast fashion is a lose, lose situation. Many workers suffer at the hands of large companies such as Zara and Forever 21 to bring you, let’s be honest, below par quality garments at a reasonable price. Only for you to walk in the week after to buy a new top because the one you bought the week before is no longer the “look” anymore. In the cycle of fast fashion there is only one winner, and unfortunately, that is the business owners who are multi-billionaires, profiting off of cheap labour, and a consumer’s need to be current.

So how can we change this? I understand that ethically sourced clothing is expensive and that not everyone can afford to pay £50 on one item of clothing. But I appeal to frequent shoppers of stores such as Zara or New Look, who would happily pay £100+ per month on clothes. I would say to them that if that money were saved and put towards an item from a shop such as Cos or Asos Africa, that the item would be long standing, and retain its quality and style far longer than that of the £15.99 blouse from Zara.

My point being: be thoughtful; be kind. If you know any brand that is partnered with a charity and/or is ethically made and sources, please include them in the comments below I would love to check them out.

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