If you’re anything like me, you’re rolling your eyes right now, in anticipation of reading about yet another thing that requires your conscious changing effort. Since I started my path towards a more conscious life, I have been seriously surprised at how badly we’ve screwed things up.
The fashion industry is a mess. The production and consumption of clothes produces the second largest amount of waste; second only to oil. We live in a consumer driven world where we always want more – faster and cheaper. Trends are designed to always change and keep us in a state of wanting the next thing. This is an illusion created by the fashion industry to make more profit.
Cheap clothes come at a cost. One that you may not pay directly at the cash, but one that affects us a whole. Cheaper cost means cheaper production which ultimately all falls entirely on the worker assembling the garment. Out of every $10 dollar T-shirt made guess how much goes to the worker? ONE CENT. That figure doesn’t even exist in Canada – so basically they get absolutely nothing.
This never ending desire to buy more means that we’re producing waste at a rate that can’t be sustained by our environment. So what can we do?
Here are five tips to get you consciously thinking about your consumption habits:
- Thrift shop: pop some tags at your local thrift store – or donate your old clothes.
- Have a clothing swap with your friends: get together and make it a party. One man’s garbage is another one’s treasure. BOOM – sustainable and inexpensive shopping!
- Pimp up your old clothes: there’s this thing called Pinterest (or the internet) that has countless ways to revamp your old clothes and make them new and fashionable. Reusing old materials is the best way to reduce waste.
- Support local businesses: look for local artisans that are handcrafting their own goods. With the warmer weather approaching, there are tons of small markets filled with local vendors. My favourites in the Toronto area include: Evergreen Brick Works, Leslieville Flea and Bellwoods Flea.
- Look for companies that are using recycled materials to make their creations: my absolute favourite company, Chic Made Consciously, works with artists in Bali to create one-of-a-kind, STUNNING accessories made entirely of truck tires and inner tubes. The goods are ethically handcrafted and fair-traded from Bali. This helps reduce the tire waste that would otherwise sit in landfills and turns it into gorgeous accessories that sit on your wrists or neck instead.
Conscious fashion means thinking about where your clothes came from. Becoming aware is the first step to a positive change. Make the effort to find alternatives to fast fashion and ask yourself; are my consumption habits hurting people and the environment?
Be conscious of where you invest your money as you are casting a vote with every dollar you spend. Look for alternatives and enjoy the process.