Rise of the Conscious Consumer
There has been a noticeable change of late from the unconscious to the conscious consumer. Consumers are beginning to challenge retailers to be transparent when it comes to manufacturing standards and sustainability. They are demanding to know if the practises and morals of their beloved brands are honest and pure.
Blogging For the Conscious Consumer
It's interesting being a fashion blogger in this climate where consumers are hungry for new. Many bloggers feature garments that you need today but discard tomorrow speaking to consumers en masse. It's all about new trends and without the latest pieces you'll be style redundant. I like to write about investing in quality pieces with longevity plus the positives of vintage garments. Due to the price of quality pieces and the fact that many vintage pieces are one-offs, I'm speaking to a niche audience. My audience may be niche but I believe in purchasing classics and keeping them for years, therefore creating less waste.
Buying new and affordable pieces are not out the question though when it comes to being a conscious consumer. There are some amazing brands creating change in the retail market and succeeding. A few of them are Everlane, Design Republik, Fame and Partners and Reformation.
US company Everlane is all about Radical Transparency. Everlane is educating us to ask questions, know where our clothes are made and how much it costs to make a garment. Australian brand Design Republik releases curated monthly collections producing quality garments made to last. Another from Australia, Fame and Partners, are attempting to beat mass production. They create less waste through custom, made-to-order pieces instead. Reformation designs and manufactures limited-edition collections in their factory in downtown Los Angeles. Their other garments are produced by responsible manufacturing partners in the U.S. or abroad using sustainable methods and materials. Reformation's mission is to lead and inspire a sustainable way to be fashionable. We should all adopt that mindset.
The Benefits of Secondhand
Buying secondhand is not an area in which people feel they can find value. But there are many great reasons to buy secondhand. The quality is often better than modern-made products and items are cheaper so you're helping your wallet. Also you're giving them a new lease of life.
Here are a few places to buy secondhand items:
ebay - Bypass the big sellers and search for users who are clearing out their closet or home. You'll be in for a bargain.
Etsy - Not everything is secondhand on Etsy. Search under the 'Vintage' filter and discover some great finds, especially international ones!
Facebook Marketplace - You can spend hours browsing through here. But if you use the search function wisely you'll discover some underpriced gems! I found an art deco brass coffee table on there for a pinch.
Gumtree - Become a search tool expert on Gumtree as well as. You'll find amazing things. My friends found their best pieces for their Fremantle warehouse apartment through Gumtree!
Auction houses: If you live in Melbourne you're in luck because there is an abundance of auction houses. Leonard Joel, also located in Sydney, sells everything from jewellery and collectables to luxury clothes, handbags (including Chanel!) and furniture. Other auction houses like Mossgreen or Philips seem to have higher quality pieces and they come with the price tag to match.
Vestiaire - A luxury reseller with pieces from all over the world.
1stdibs - This site has amazing and rare antique and modern furniture, jewellery, fashion and art. While expensive, they're worth it.
Vinnies, Salvos etc - And let's not forget opportunity shops!
LEARN TO RECYCLE
We should all practice recycling our goods. You never know, you might make enough to buy a secondhand Chanel bag!
As well as the above places to sell and recycle your once-loved items, Freecycle is another fantastic network where everything listed is free. Givers and receives post items that they are giving away or seeking. It could be bikes, a microwave, school books or furniture that you no longer need that can find its way into a good home. Freecycle is all about reuse and keeping good things out of landfills.
When making your next purchase, whether it's a garment or something for the house, be a conscious consumer. Ask yourself, is this a quality piece? Is it something I'll use/wear/love for years to come? Let's all aim to switch to the mindset of a conscious consumer, it will make a world of difference.
What are your thoughts about the consumer world we live in?
Here are two great videos which bring light to the world of fast fashion consumerism and the waste it creates. Have a watch.
Jeremy Fernandez speaks to journalist and author Clare Press and designer Clara Vuletich about the rise of fast fashion globally, and its far-reaching consequences on both the industry and labour markets. This is a very interesting watch if you have the chance.
Business of Fashion Earth Hour 2017
Cover image by Stylesnooperdan