Sunday, March 18, 2018

Thoughts On Conscious Shopping

Today's topic is probably again a little controversial, but something that I feel needs to be talked about because I feel not enough people do. Ethical fashion and conscious shopping. Now, I can't say I'm a model student or anything as it is, and I can openly admit I still have a lot to learn, but I'm keen on making my closet more ethical as I can.

Knits


The reason I'm inspired to write this article is the amount of Wish hauls and wholesale hauls seen on YouTube nowadays. It seems everyone and their mother is buying from those places, and it rubs me the wrong way. Not that you couldn't do anything you want with your money, but I wish that all the young people would be aware on the things that may go on when they buy from certain stores. Only Simplynailogical seems to have had a little informative piece about places like Wish in their videos, but I hope more people would follow.

If you don't already know, Wish is a site that has many different sellers who sell things for very affordable prices. Many of those sellers are wholesale sellers, which means they manufacture a ton at a time. This might lead to lesser quality, and you not getting the item you thought you ordered. There are many wholesale sellers out there who take "an inspiration pic", which might be from another site or it might be an item they've manufactured for a marketing photoshoot. But when they actually create the items they sell, they are made for cheap, not in the best conditions and with not that much care. Also something people have made videos about, which actually are quite informative in a way.

Other thing to note about some wholesale companies is that they sometimes send influencers nice quality items to get them recommend them to especially younger audiences, but once a "nobody" orders from them, the quality will be bad if the customers even ever receive their items. 

When you buy from China, you should remember the laws are different there than for example in the US or Finland. In China, all the cosmetics have to be tested on animals in order to be sold in the mainland. Also, there are many reported cases of children's toys, clothes etc. having to be pulled from market in other countries because the manufacturing plant in China has used toxic or other ways harmful chemicals in the manufacturing process. There are also countless cases where items have been blatantly copied from other brands. And then there's the fact of not knowing the working conditions out there.

Of course these problems aren't relevant with every Chinese company, and they can apply in other countries' companies as well. China is the example here because a lot of things sold on Wish seem to be coming from there. 

If you wish to do your own research concerning things like this, you can start with following articles:

capsule wardrobe items

Personally, I do my best to avoid Wish and skecthy looking sellers in places like eBay, Amazon and Aliexpress. I also don't care about buying from wholesale companies in general, because they don't give me a good enough vibe.

I would love to incorporate more into domestic clothing, but most brands here don't really fit my style enough. But I would prefer Finnish/Europe made clothing because it would be easier to track the origin of the clothes and materials. Also I think there would be less chance of the clothing having harmful materials and animal cruelty behind them. I could also be more confident that the workers are payed better. (Of course that totally depends on where the company manufactures things, but still.)

When talking about sweatshops and possibly even child labor, I've heard the argument that stopping buying from sweatshops doesn't really help the workers getting payed better, but instead they would get laid off completely and their family wouldn't even get the tiniest paycheck so that boycot would actually be worse than buying. While I do see the point in that argument, and it probably is true in a sense (knowing how business can be), I'd like to keep believing that if we as a market demand better, things will get better bit by bit. I totally understand if someone wants to call me naïve because of that, but I don't think we do much good through guilt tripping people to buy from sweatshops. 

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If you've been here a while you know I love shopping as much as the next girl (and that I've shopped in VS and H&M etc.), and that I don't want to spend a fortune on my clothes even if it means the clothing is better in many sense. But, I would pay a little more to know that the items are more ethical. Just like I'm willing to pay more for my cruelty free cosmetics if there is no super affordable option. But that doesn't mean there are no affordable ways to be ethical. You can also shop second hand. I have friends and people in my life who think buying used clothing is somehow unsanitary, but I beg to differ. More often than not, every outfit I wear has at least one second hand item in it. There are so many ways to get second hand items in perfect condition that it would be crazy not to at least take a look into it. There are traditional thrift stores where you go and browse items yourself, but there are also many sites that sell previously loved clothing, like Poshmark, ThredUp, Zadaa and many others (even Etsy, which is also a good place to buy unique handmade pieces). You can find a list for some places here, but I will create my own list later on when I get enough knowledge. Also, a good way to refresh your closet is to do a clothing swap with your fashion loving friends.

One thing that will help to get your fashion sense more ethical is to think style over fashion, and timeless over trendy. I'm by no means saying your style should stick to an old time and never evolve, but rather that you find your style and stay true to that instead of jumping only on trends. Even a sustainable closet can be trendy, if you have good basics and staples and then find few items that are trendy (and that you can maybe donate or sell once you don't feel like them anymore). I feel like I stopped following trends a while back because I don't find catwalk photos inspiring due to them including pretty impractical looks. I'm way more inspired by street style and lookbooks on Instagram. And like I've told you before, I aspire to have a capsule wardrobe and ethicality does go nicely with this. Not having too much stuff will be better for the planet but also for me.

Packing

I know I've gone on and on today about not buying so much or buying second hand, but of course there are clothing and accessory companies who manufacture brand new items and who we should by all means support. Examples of these companies can be found in articles on The Good Trade, Huffington Post and Independent. There are brands I'm very intrigued about, and two places I will give extra mentions to are Northgild, who have very nice looking accessories, and Pact, who have neat looking basics. Like with second hand shops, I will try to make my own recommendations list once I get more experience with the ethical brands.

If you want to start discovering brands yourself, I recommend downloading an app called Good On You (see their website here). It seems to have quite a bit of information on major brands and how ethical they are. And they also have interesting articles about fashion in the app. You can also suggest brands for them to review in case the brand you are looking for isn't there yet. I've personally suggested some Nordic companies because there isn't a ton of info on most of them so far.

Lastly, the disclaimers: The opinions here are completely my own and none of you have to agree with me. Spend your own money whichever way you please. This is not written to hurt anyone's feelings or to make you feel like you should do anything in your life like I do. I'm just wishing to help at least one person - and of course myself - to make informed choices. Also, if something I said can be corrected some way, feel free to leave links for me to check out. I'm the first to admit this post is mostly the thoughts I have, which may not include all the info there is. My entire closet won't be just eco brands and organic cotton any time soon due practicality, but I will try to think where to shop and what I actually need to buy. Like said, I try to be more ethical, not a perfect example. But I do think all the tiny steps help. I'll be probably writing more thorough posts that are focused on one thing or shop at a time once I find enough material for posts. This is a learning process for me, and I doubt I will learn all that I should know during this year, but on the other hand, what's better time to start learning than right now.

Have you done any second hand shopping? Or do you have any favorite ethical clothing store? Let me know in the comments below!

I hope you enjoyed this bit more serious post today. I really like writing more thoughtful stuff every once in a while even though I do love the light girly posts as well. If you rather see something light now, head on to my Instagram @silvertigo for daily outfits and more. 

Have a lovely new week ♥

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