Let’s be honest. The majority of consumers know the realities of where and how their clothing is produced. What’s missing is action. The problem is the 1001 excuses about how difficult and expensive it is to change the way one spends.
But that’s just what they are: excuses.
The problem lies with the fact that people do not see changing the way they consume as part of a holistic ideal. They assume that one simply needs to buy from “fair trade”, “organic” certified sources and that’s it.
This is just one element of overhauling one’s spending.
Actually, that’s why this post is titled “how to overhaul one’s spending” and not “how to overhaul one’s wardrobe.”
There’s a big difference between the two. What needs to be recognised is that how much we consume needs to change in line with what we consume. We would inevitably fail at buying ethically if we continued the rate of our consumption.
“Don’t underestimate consumer power.”
In this post I spoke about my shopping addiction and how the problem lay in HOW MUCH I was buying.
So, here are five ways that we can overhaul our spending (and our wardrobes):
1. Donate: The first thing I think needs to be done is to go through your wardrobe and donate anything that you haven’t worn in the past six months. Let’s be honest. There are A LOT of those in our cupboards. Collecting dust. Taking up space. Donate them to your favourite charity. Someone else in need is much more worthy of your neglected jacket than you are. This needs to be a brutal process- my advice is to not over-think it. If you haven’t worn it in months, and it’s not a winter/summer staple, it needs to go.
2. Shop your own wardrobe: Once you’ve cleared your closet of the clothes you don’t wear/need, look at what’s left and realise the potential of how many different outfits you can get out of them. It is surprising how creative one is forced to be with just a few clothes.
3. Buy less: No you do not need a maxi skirt/dress in every colour under the sun. How often are you going to wear the “on-trend” highlighter colour maxi anyway? Probably once. Don’t give in to the trends. Be confident and honest about who you are and what you like. What is your style? Be loyal to that, not what fashion houses and celebrities want you to wear.
One of my favourite street style images. She exudes a happy confidence, and everyone can see it. Image Source: The Sartorialist
“Be confident and honest about who you are and what you like.”
4. Buy quality items: Sure they may be more expensive but they are going to last you a lot longer than a cheap impulse buy item. This is exactly what the major fashion houses don’t want you to do. They want you to keep buying more of their crappy quality clothing which is designed to stretch, fade and shrink over the next few months. Don’t give in! Start a revolution in terms of how you buy. Don’t underestimate consumer power. If we change the way we spend, companies will be forced to cater. Believe it.
5. Do your research: look up which stores are in line with your country’s ethical clothing standards. Every country has a list/directory. In Australia, it’s the Ethical Clothing Australia organisation who not only outline how one can be accredited, but also has a list of accredited companies and manufacturers. Some of the companies include Thurley, Carla Zampatti and Cue (all of whom I love). There are also online companies who strive to provide ethical, sustainable options. My favourites are Raven and Lily, Inayah, Gorman and Honest By.