When we’re shopping and we see something we like, most of us will purchase it if we can afford it. Often, we purchase without a second thought. Every dollar we spend is casting a vote toward what we’re willing and not willing to accept from companies. Consumerism does have an imperative role in the economy. It’s essential to be mindful and thoughtful before making purchases — now more than ever before.
The internet and the media provide a virtually endless source of information both about brands and the companies that manufacture them. There is an abundance of blog posts and consumer helplines that offer inside information about companies that practice unethical methods. The facts are often out there for consumers to obtain if they seek it out.
The key factor to remember is that every time we shop, our dollar is making a difference. We should aspire to make that difference a positive one. But how can we do that?
- Do your research.
Thanks to the wonders of the internet, all the information in the world is at our fingertips. It’s easy to find out all that we need to know when it comes to nearly every fashion company. If you want to take steps toward being a more ethical consumer when it comes to sustainable fashion practices, you ought to begin by looking into where your clothes come from. Ensure that none come from sweatshops or companies that underpay their workers. Educate yourself on what you as an individual can do to make a difference and help.
See if you can find out what your favourite retailers think of as important issues. If you love that clothing brand, dig a little more to see what charities they promote and donate to. Research those charities to ensure they truly go to good causes and that your dollars are being used in a positive way.
- Fashion rental services.
Companies like GlamCorner are excellent examples of how we can be smarter as consumers, and support sustainable fashion practices. On average, the Australian woman will buy 27kg in new clothing. She will only wear 33% of her wardrobe, and when spring cleaning comes around and she clears out her wardrobe, she will discard 23kg of clothing.
By loaning clothing, these rental service companies lower the cost of items from anywhere up to 10 – 20% of their retail price. This gives average consumers access to tremendous brands they might not ordinarily afford. Fashion ought to be for everyone and brands such as GlamCorner make that goal fearlessly attainable.
When you hire your clothes from sites like GlamCorner, you reduce the amount of clothing you throw away. Glamorous dresses while wonderful and fantastic, are often worn to a select few occasions. There are only so many chances you’ll get to rock that floor-length gown or fully-sequined ensemble. It’s ultimately a better decision to hire these dresses than to purchase them for yourself.
Not only do you reduce the size of your wardrobe and how many clothes you throw away, you also save money in the process, supporting the idea of sustainable fashion practices!
- Reuse things as much as possible.
Reusing things as much as you can not only supports the environment but also makes widely-used sweatshops less profitable to businesses.
Wash out sauce jars and turn them into containers for storage. Clear out the plastic containers of your takeout from last night and use it again to take your lunch to work next week. Go through your wardrobe and hunt down clothing you haven’t worn for some time and breathe new life into that dress you bought for an outing six months ago.
While fashion is always changing and we always want to keep up with it, it’s easy to mix some of the old in with the new. It’s easy to engage in sustainable fashion practices – it only takes mindfulness.
- Donate clothes rather than discarding them.
Skip the garbage bin and look into clothing bins. Countless of Australian charities scatter donation bins for unwanted clothing about the streets and they’re always open up for donations. Go through your wardrobe as often as you can, salvaging the clothing you no longer need by giving them a new lease of life through donating.
These donated clothes make a positive impact on the environment while also supporting disadvantaged youth, for instance. Reduce the amount of waste you create and become a more ethical consumer by thinking ahead, being mindful of where your clothing goes after you no longer need it.
- Hold your brands (and yourself) accountable.
Brands and companies don’t care about business ethics because they think their consumers don’t care about business ethics. In a lot of cases, they’re right. They know that their consumers feel bad about unfair and underpaid labour, but not bad enough to forgo slashed prices and cheap clothing.
If we hold ourselves accountable by getting educated about where our favourite brands get their materials and the bulk of their clothing made, companies will take notice and make the move to change. Horrible business ethics won’t change nor budge, unless we as consumers do.
With a little research and some practice, it’ll be easy to begin shopping ethically, with the environment in mind. Being an ethical consumer is something that we all have to practice to make a real change in the business world. Inspire your friends and your family to be more mindful of the items they purchase and make a positive change!