In this day and age, it’s inevitable to be a consumer. Whether we’re buying food, clothing, beauty products, cars, or home appliances, we just simply can’t avoid purchasing things in order to live. Despite years of environmental damage from most of our industries, we certainly have reached a positive point in consumerism where we’re shifting our demand to an ethical, environmentally aware, and conscious form of business.
At its core, being a conscious consumer means that you look beyond the label.
Instead of mindlessly shopping, you pay attention to what the brand values, what they practice, and what they stand for. If you’re just starting out, it might feel a little daunting in the beginning, but conscious consumerism doesn’t have to take the fun out of shopping. With a little help in the beginning, it’ll soon enough feel like second nature and your conscience will never have to suffer ever again.
When we say natural, we don’t literally mean naked!
Of course, that is the most sustainable option, but second best is natural fabrics. Synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon, and acrylic might cost a little less, but in terms of environmental stress, it costs much more than natural fabrics.
There’s a reason that fabrics like these are so loved by the fast fashion industry, and it’s because it costs less to make and they can be produced in high quantities. As we talked about in our blog post last week, slow fashion takes a much more responsible approach to producing clothes by using natural fabrics that don’t heavily impact the environment.
Always look for fabrics made from a natural resource like organic cotton, Lenzing modal, tencel, hemp, linen. These fabrics can be broken down at the end of their life whereas synthetic fabrics can take up to 50 years to decompose.
Buy and Sell Second-Hand
Like we were always told as children, sharing is caring.
When it comes to sustainability, it’s best to remember that we don’t always need something brand new. Anytime we’re in need of something, someone else is always looking to get rid of that exact item!
Buying second-hand is a cost-effective way to shop, but it also helps us practice waste-reducing methods instead of tossing everything we no longer use into the trash. You’ll be surprised by how many treasures you’ll find when you simply take some extra time to see what you can buy used before buying new. Once you’re ready to let go of things of your own, close the circle by selling or donating it.
Support Conscious Brands
Supporting certain brands over others certainly goes a long way. If you take a moment to think of some of the top clothing brands, they’re only at that level because of the support they’ve been given by consumers. When trying to be more planet-friendly, supporting conscious brands is one of the most effective ways to do so.
This is where looking beyond the label becomes so important. Brands that are worth supporting will be transparent with how they produce their products, how their workers are treated, and will provide you with the details on what makes them an ethical company.
As a consumer, you’ll want to make sure that the brand provides these details in full so that you don’t have to take anything at face value. If a brand claims to be sustainable, be sure they offer you with some information about what makes them sustainable such as the materials they use etc.
Quality Over Quantity
Perhaps this is one that we can apply to all areas of our life, always choose quality over quantity. Our products should be built to last years, not months. We all love a good deal, but we have to think to ourselves, is it really a good deal when you end up having to repurchase it after only a few uses?
When it comes to our wardrobe, we know how difficult it can be to not give in to the temptation of often having a new outfit to wear. With sustainable fashion, we put our focus into being more unique and expressing our individuality rather than following trends.
As trends die out, your wardrobe will always have to change. But when you find clothing that makes you feel beautiful on the inside and the outside, they’ll last you for years to come.
Shop Small and Shop Local
When it doubt, always pick the small or local shop over the big brand name. In general, small businesses are more likely to implement sustainable practices, even if eco-friendly isn’t something they necessarily claim to be.
Shopping local and small means that less energy and resources were used to create the products, meaning, less pollution. Small businesses also add so much diversity to our shopping experiences and supporting them whenever possible means that we’ll continue to have options other than generic brands.
The most important thing to remember as a conscious consumer is that you don’t have to be perfect. Simply making the effort to learn more ways to practice sustainability in your own life is more than enough.
Small actions will eventually create drastic changes so continue to do what you can and encourage those around you to do the same!
-The Woron Team