It wasn’t until my third year of college that I really began to look outside of myself and become aware of the tragic events happening in and around our world. There is so much injustice in social, environmental and business aspects globally. People do not know their own worth. We have trashed our own planet, and the supply chain ignores the truth about fairness in work well done. I started looking at labels and tags of apparel and doing some research about transparency in the manufacturing of the items. I’ve learned that being a conscious consumer means journeying into something that is inconvenient at times and abiding in the process of remembering that my purchases, no matter how big, impact the world around me and I get to choose whether or not is it for good with every transaction.
1. Ask yourself
Figure out what you want to support and not support. Think about the little and big changes that you would be willing to make in order to support your cause. Why do YOU think it is important?
2. Start local
What companies do you already know about? What people in your community could you support more? I suggest going to your local farmer’s market and buying goods and such from people who produce it in your own hometown. Community builds a fun dynamic in knowing that you can support your own neighbors and empower them.
3. Ask around
The truth is, you are not alone in trying to make an impact with your dollar. There might be somebody in your own area who feels the same way that you do. Look to see if there are any fair-trade shops nearby. I searched the internet for a fair-trade store when I was visiting a friend and I was pleasantly surprised and I even made a friend that day!
4. Read up
There are some apps and websites that are great for information on how to shop and be confident in your purchases. (Apps: Good On You, Better World. Websites: Michelle For Good, The Good Trade). There are films to watch and feel inspired such as The True Cost. There are also movements to follow such as Fashion Revolution. These resources are here to inform the world about a cause worth getting behind. What kind of cause do YOU want to get behind?
5. Branch out
Ask questions about where and how things are made to employees and to the companies themselves if you feel inclined to call or write to them. Target started carrying brands that, in my opinion, can be supported, such as Burt’s Bees, Swell bottles, Shea Moisture, This is L., and Ecoscraps. I hope to continue to see more brands and products like these!
6. Follow & learn
There are bloggers, like myself and many others, who want to promote ethical fashion and a conscious lifestyle that is sustainable. Come follow and join us as we look deeper and research for companies who are transparent and trustworthy. There are so many companies to support, but they are sometimes difficult to find. Myself and others want to make it easier to access such great organizations, so follow along!
7. Recycle & Reuse
Bring your own reusable bag to the store with you when you shop to eliminate the usage of plastic bags. Conserve the usage of plastic by getting a refillable water bottle, my favorite is Klean Kanteen, it even keeps your water cold! Glass straws, like the ones made by Simply Straw, are limiting the amount of plastic straws from ending up in our oceans and affecting our marine life. Thrift stores can be hit or miss, but they are almost always a good time. Go shop at your local thrift store, they typically tend to give back in different ways too. Let’s keep clothes out of landfills by recycling at second hand stores!