“Just stop shopping so much…! Practice yoga instead and achieve harmony…”
Can you really shop and be somewhat sustainable? The anwser is yes. I believe so. Because people like me and a whole lot more other people do it even thought it looks like they don’t exist. Remember this think piece is not about you shopping second hand and looking like anybody else (cough cough*) hipster. I know you little reader, you’re looking for your own style. Your own way of concealing flaws and highlighting the best version of yourself. I am here to remind you that I’ve never forgotten you.
Words like “circular Economy” , “sustainability” in relation to fashion and fashion as an industry have popped up more heavily during the last years due to enviromental concerns. And also because of the accelaring speed of mass-produced fashion that has got us all begging for the latest copies of Prada SS17 shoes (just an example) from our beloved Zara, H&M or what do I know & Other Stories? Of course this is not the best of times that we should continue shopping while the rest of the world is in turmoil and our future on earth as it looks feels pretty bleak. But! Buying linen shirts at H&M Conscious probably won’t make us better, solve the issue or contribute to much. The biggest problem that I see is that the consumers is the counterpart group that everybody blames yet.. we are the least informed. We are the least informed in this cat and mouse game. Production against consumer blame game (I’d like to say) and it’s just getting nastier year by year. Consumers are the driver force to our consumerist over massproduced society but most of us don’t even know what a production chain really means. And frankly journalists who have used the words circular economy probably haven’t always understood what it truly means too. It makes one feel utterly and completly stupid. What we need I think and that I personally want to advocate is direct communication. Direct communication via more inviting and democratic way of fashion journalism.
We propably cannot stop shopping because we have to admit, we still live in a capitalist monetary system. And we don’t need to shame ourselves all the time because we like treating ourselves good or just love shopping fashion. I think what we have to do is change the way and how we consume, not evaporate this whole idea that consuming is not good. For example most producer chains within a high street company work by there being different levels of producers within a chain that forms some kind of hierarchy. And imagine that each of the “levels” have their own goal to achieve and perhaps in H&M’s case probably do not even exist within the same country. Or on the other hand these levels reminds one of leasing companies that other high street companies also can hire (because each of the levels are infact offering services). So… do you really think that a company like H&M have much control of their mass production if one part of the chain is located in China (le fabrique) and the other part (managers, business controllers) let’s say.. make decisions in the Netherlands? As you can imagine no matter how much the companies try to do back home, it may just not be enough. If you also realise that China may have their own laws of what is adequate enough while producing standards and legislations made in the E.U for example look very different. It’s very complicated you guys. And this is just a short explanation of “linear economy“.
So what is the opposite of this? – It’s circular… say it with me C.I.R.C.U.L.A.R, Yaaas! So imagine if the other more realistic way ( yes I do think it’s more realistic). Is rooted in consumptuary laws a la 18th century, leasing clothes so that you don’t actually don’t need to buy them. Rental please!! And drums… shopping a lot of second hand, borrowing from your closest friends ( we shall not trust everybody) and keep on buying from high street stores or designer but THINKING before we do it. I urge consumers to not buy so much when it comes to massproduced fashion and strive more to mixing it up, time to time really try to reflect upon these kind of purchases and try to fight for quality and equality. Remember most of these kids, women or men who work in these factories are unprivileged in most cases and belong to a marginalised group. Lest we never forget that sustainbility can mean so many things including public health.
Sustainability is what you think it means to you. It’s about our own way of doing it. I for example have a wardrobe that consists of probably 80% second hand, when I don’t like anything I don’t throw it away instead I give it away. I consume fashion in various ways as well. I spend time reading about it, go to FREE art galleries, and exhibitions. So my advice to you would be to enjoy your life. Decrease your instagram use, get on pinterest instead, create your own social media feed that doesn’t feed you anxiety bullshit 24/7 and makes you buy anything based on the fact that it feeds your insecurities. And if you love to shop, and shop a LOT, PLZ opt for the more circular way.
You don’t need anyone to tell you to calm down and quit all your habits, you need to change the way you consume and in that.. you will change your habits. And also your way of looking at life. But if yoga is your thing, fine!
You’re a lucky one!
Text : Rosa Cruz