Let’s Talk About It: What Conscious Shopping Actually Means
With the arrival of holiday season comes the incessant shopping. Does it always have to end in guilt?| November 28, 2017
Black Friday. That single, highly anticipated day where everyone with an inch of shopaholicitis keeps an ear on the ground for the first inkling of a sale, hand by the credit card in case a purchase needs to be made. It’s the day that marks the start the holiday shopping season, welcoming us with open doors and warm, toasty discount. Fortunately, most of Team KULALA was stuck in the office with back to back shoots, else I think we would have required physical restraints. (We’re planning something extremely special for the holidays. Keep both eyes peeled, it’s going to be good.)
It’s a story that is all too old: despite futile attempts to control our wants, we often end up in-between the aisles at the store, desperately keeping an eye out for a sale just so that we can satisfy that temporary burst of adrenaline. By the time regret – or doubt, let’s cut ourselves a little bit of slack – hits us in the face, we’ve already swiped the card and crossed the threshold of the store, receipt bearing the words “no returns” in our hands. It is then we etch a dusty, old New Year’s resolution in our minds: be a more conscious shopper.
What does conscious shopping mean, exactly? It’s definitely more than a buzzword. H&M has Conscious, the division of clothing that utilises recycled fabrics, amongst many other sustainable practices. Stella McCartney ditched real leather for faux from its beginnings. Gucci most recently announced their conversion to faux fur, a move widely considered to be a groundbreaking one. Viktor & Rolf Couture has been known to turn dead-stock fabrics into completely new collections. But, how does that apply to the shopper i.e. you and me?
It all boils down, at the very minimum, to choice, a choice to help yourself and a choice to help the environment. It sounds very Captain Planet, but it matters. With the Christmas shopping season officially here and shopping impulses running at an all-time high, it matters even more.
Think about the pile of tops you bought because they were too cheap to pass up. Now, how many of it are you still wearing? Finally, stare at the unworn pile. How many of it are discoloured? How many of it will you still wear? How many of it will end up in the bin or to wherever will take your old duds? If your answer feels like a kick in the gut, it’s time to rethink your choices. Trust us, we’ve been there.
Women control more than $18 trillion in spending globally, which also means that we hold the power – the power to get retailers to change what they put on their shelves because of what you choose to buy and not buy. Read: supply and demand. The next time you stand in-between shelves, thinking twice and thrice about whether to buy a reasonably priced something, realise that if you stop yourself before that fourth “Do I need it?”, you’ll be cutting back on spending and waste. It’s a small move in the grand scheme of conscious shopping, but again, we have to start somewhere.
When you’re shopping this holiday season – or at any other times of the year for that matter – remember to shop with a purpose. Don’t buy someone a cute but ultimately useless thing because you have to get a gift. Don’t buy something that you’re not going to wear in a year. We’re all for the occasional, well-deserved splurge, but waste isn’t going to do you any favours. Tell us – what does conscious shopping mean to you?
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