I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about my clothes-shopping habits and I’ve begun making a few changes to the way I buy clothes.
A couple of years ago I read a sensational book called To Die For: is fashion wearing out the world? by Lucy Seigel. The book talks a lot about the social and environmental impact of fast fashion. It opened my eyes to a whole lot of issues that I’d never been aware of before.
I recently read The 100 Things Challenge by Dave Bruno. Once again, I found this book to be a real eye-opener about consumerism and our drive to acquire new things.
I’d really like to change the way I shop in order to reflect my personal ethics. In particular, I don’t want to buy mindlessly. I really want to put more effort into considering my purchases to make sure that my money goes to businesses that support my beliefs.
There are a few things that concern me about my current shopping habits:
– Firstly, a lot of the clothing I buy comes from retailers that produce clothing overseas in countries with less-than-stellar labour laws. A lot of this clothing is produced in sweatshops or by home workers who are forced to work in dangerous and degrading conditions.
– I buy a lot of clothing without thinking about where it’s come from and the impact of producing it. I’d like to start choosing more clothes that are made using more environmentally sustainable practices.
– I tend to shop for price rather than quality. I find it easy to be drawn into buying something simply because it’s cheap.
So, what can I do about it? I’ve come up with a few ideas:
– Buy less. I have more than enough clothes hanging in my wardrobe right now. I really don’t need to buy as much as I do. I’d like to start reducing the amount of clothing that I’m purchasing.
– Buy more second hand. This is an easy one for me, because I love thrift shopping. It’s a great way to recycle items that are already out in the world and support charities that run the op-shops.
– Buy better quality items. I’m going to try to save up to buy better quality items that will last longer and won’t have to be replaced as frequently.
– Choose Australian made items. I’d prefer to buy items that are made in Australia because I know that workers here are protected by our labour laws. However, this one is hard to do, because most clothing that is sold in Australia isn’t actually made in Australia.
– Make more things for myself.
– Mend and make do. Rather than replacing items when they fall apart or break, I should attempt to fix them.
– Upcycle. With items that are worn out and can’t be repaired, I’d like to try to use them to make something else. I’ve been brainstorming lately and I’ve come up with a bunch of awesome things to make out of my worn-out tee shirts and linens.
– Buy from independent retailers. As a small business owner, I feel that I have a duty to support other small businesses. Even though I have a pretty small budget for spending money, I like to pour as much of it as possible into independent retailers. I’m trying to buy many items from etsy sellers and small retailers that make their own stock. This way, I’m ensuring that my clothes have an ethical background and I’m supporting a small business owner.
– Look for environmentally sustainable fabrics. This can be very tricky, but I’m trying hard to look for clothes that are made from organic cotton and wool, bamboo fabric, hemp and recycled materials.
Although I understand that I’m not always going to be able to stick to these changes, and I’m sure to slip up occasionally, I really want to make an effort to change the way I shop and pour my hard-earned cash into businesses that are doing the right thing.
Do your shopping practices reflect your ethics? Are there any changes you’d like to make to your shopping habits and your wardrobe?