City Scope Hong Kong

Conscious consumerism

Conscious consumerism

Shopping is a word that excites one and all. After all, who does not love to shop? A few years ago, one would go shopping only for essentials but with changing times, the trend has changed. Nowadays, people shop for everything and anything that they desire. For many, shopping is equivalent to therapy. Whether one is sad or happy or is getting bored and has nothing to do, shopping has become an alternative to express moods and emotions. The flip side, however, is that people don’t realise that in the process, they have become hoarders. The huge pile of clothes and innumerable shoes that can’t be supported by the overflowing closets and shoe-racks, trigger a set of questions for shopaholics. Does one really need so many clothes? Do they think before buying? What about the impact caused by each purchase?

Every garment that one buys has gone through several stages in the supply chain. The process begins with acquiring the fibre, which could be grown naturally or synthetically. Fibres are then dyed and weaved into a fabric, which is later stitched into a garment. As simple as the process sounds, it is much more complicated. Textile industries are one of the most polluting industries as they use synthetic dyes for mass production that are later discharged in the water bodies. Being hazardous and toxic, these dyes are not only harmful to the environment but also to us. Moreover, textile workers are employed in poor working conditions at low wages. Another major concern is overproduction. Brands produce a lot more than needed and these garments end up in the dump as most of these are non-degradable. The list may seem never-ending but if people alter their behavioural pattern, a lot can be done to ensure sustainability.

Here are five ways one can become a ‘conscious consumer’ without compromising much.

Quality over quantity
Each year tons of garments end up being discarded. Many of these outfits are not even worn once or just once. The increase in demand leads to an increase in production. Think twice before purchasing an outfit! Research well about the brand as well as the product so that you are fully aware of the item. Ask brands to be transparent about their supply chains and consume mindfully. If we monitor our purchases and consume less, it directly affects the production rate. Thereby, emphasis should always be given to quality products over quantity. 

Revamp your closet
Our wardrobes have a lot of garments which are old and don’t appeal to us anymore. Rather than discarding them, one can easily give them a new look. There are a lot of DIY techniques, which help in transforming the old to brand new. For example, a classic over-used denim jacket can be ripped, embroidered or even hand-painted. Voila! You now have a one-of-a-kind jacket to flaunt. Revamping makes you an artist where your clothes are your canvas. Be creative while making a statement. 

Promote slow fashion
To make greater sales and profits, higher brands have introduced fast fashion where each month or season new fashion products are brought into the market to lure consumers. We are made to feel like we are out of trend and we need to buy the latest collection; this cycle goes on and on. To avoid over consumption and reduce the volume of discarded clothes, one can buy an outfit that can be used for multiple purposes and lasts long. There are several other options that help in consuming less such as shopping secondhand, renting and sharing wardrobes.

Buy local
Support local businesses by buying from them rather than chasing high-end brands. We have a rich history of traditional crafts and fabrics. These crafts are mainly sustainable and represent our culture. However, with changing times, consumers are inclined more towards fast fashion and have forgotten about traditional crafts. These crafts that existed for centuries are now slowly dying. One should buy and promote them so that they can be revived.

Make your own trends
Wear what you like to wear and not what’s in trend. Trends change but what stays is your sense of style. Stay true to the outfits that define your persona. While it may not harm to revamp your wardrobe in order to flaunt that new style or channelise the inner diva in you, the purchases you make might just make a big difference.

On a general note, it is good to hear all about the confessions of a shopaholic that include the deeds of spending moolah on all that is trendy but be sure to research on your favourite high brands first as to how high they prioritise sustainability in creating and serving you the looks! The buyers have to make the conscious decision to choose both sustainable and trendy. So choose to fill your cart wisely!

Rutuja Pawar

Rutuja Pawar

Rutuja is a well-established fashion designer and an entrepreneur with her own label. She studied Fashion Business at the London College of Fashion. She likes to keep a tab on what's trending and create designs that leave a mark.