How Your Smart Buying Choices Create a Sustainable Future
“There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.”
– Annie Leonard, Proponent of Sustainability
How We Dress Ourselves
Style and Fashion is very personal. We make choices about what to put on everyday, many of us go for a new look when the next morning comes ‘round.
It can be confusing.
The Steve Jobs’ of the world choose just once. Then stick to wearing the same style, color and fabric each day — maybe Steve Jobs wore black in bed, who knows.
He wore black, and he made sure everybody knew the reason why. Apparently, it saved him thinking time of which he could use more effectively elsewhere.
He didn’t spend much on fast fashion.
It was important to him to make a choice, though. It’s important to most of us to a least have a go at being stylish.
People dress to impress, to fit in, to be accepted — and sometimes, to set a trend that ruffles feathers among the critics.
Mostly, the cat walks are loudly expressive, flamboyantly wild and exciting places to see ideas that never even make it into your wardrobe.
Great fabrics and colors, handmade by the best and top tier designers in the World. For most of us, on show, but please, don’t touch the fabrics.
Take a walk along your main shopping street and look at all the choices that people made that day. In fact, at first it looks varied, colorful, or in winter safe dark colors, hats on some heads, expensive hair on others.
How We Make our Purchases
But a closer look tells you that a lot of people play it safe. These days, its not purchasing power that defines what you wear — there’s a lot of choice out there in the stores, too much in fact. Its the fear of making the wrong choice.
So, people follow the pack, they do it habitually, unconsciously, but also by being guided to make a choice.
What was seen on the catwalks, in the fashion shows all around the World, are swiped and noted by the fast-fashion retailers. They see the ideas needed to fill the racks of retail stores.
If wool pants weren’t seen, picked up by a celebrity, then cut, copied, and fast fashion manufactured for next week’s offering, then you won’t find any wool pants hanging on the rails this winter.
The practicalities of clothing always take second place to the perceived desires of change hungry fashion buyers want.
Most people are creative. What they think they’d like to wear is very different to what they wear.
Clothes define an attitude, a mentality.
They are an expression of beliefs. If a person gets it wrong because they don’t know the about the history of a piece of clothing, they might find themselves embarrassed in the wrong crowd.
Wool Pants and Your own Choices
Wool pants are great for winter. Warm and snug around the legs, they look great, plain or checkered, grey or dampened red tones to match the season. Wool is traditionally what you wear in winter.
But according to the fashion shops and manufacturers, nobody wants warm, They want cool, dapper clothes. They want what the celebrities are wearing, and they want it now.
The problem here, people don’t get the chance to express the ideas that they would like to see on the racks of fashion stores. The racks hold similar items to what was seen on a celebrity, but instead of wool or cashmere, it’ll be the acrylic version of a warm winter pullover.
Manipulation of Your Wallet
There’s a lot of coercion going on in marketing these days. We buy through choice, the choice is the offer on the rails. Like it or not.
When that offer stems from the same old minds, the same ideas of how to sell clothes, then we will be offered what they want us to buy, and we never get those wool pants until some celebrity with good taste wears them.
Of Wool Pants to Bow Ties
Bow-ties are neat little things that fit snuggly under the chin. They add beautiful dashes of color to the throat area and brighten an otherwise conservative collar. But they are full of history, and that history depends on who’s talking about it.
I think bow ties are cool, there are so many styles. You can get creative with the whole thing, tie it up generously and let it flop a little, and you’ve a got a drooping mustache under your chin. Stiff fabrics that jut-out at the sides, in danger of looking cartoonish, but fun. Or like a fusty old guy from Mark Twain’s school of thought.
Multi-colored fabric that flashes different shades of love, depending on which room your standing in, can make you appear relaxed, independent and just damned stylish.
Courage to make up Your Own Mind
The thing about a bow-tie is, you need guts to wear one everyday. Or you need an obvious reason to wear one. It doesn’t keep you warm. It just looks very, very, individual.
All of our clothes make statements. Jeans and tee shirt makes a big statement. If you saw me wearing jeans, and how they crease all round, you’d wonder if I actually had any legs at all.
The Coolest Guy on the Planet
If you look at George Clooney, a stylish suit man, who also carries off his own individual style of casual, with panache, could wear jeans and tee shirt without losing his presence.
If he did, a lot of men would wear the jeans he’s wearing.
His presence, is his self expression. Style and fashion is firstly about how we look, how we are perceived and accepted in various circles of society.
Like the bow tie is out of fashion these days because it has too much political history, jeans are in where they were once out. Formal looking attire for business are only for a special night out. Or, a special clique of friends.
Dressing up for our day at work, or day off, can be a stress related activity — if you allow yourself to think in terms of only what others will like, and what’s acceptable among your peers, you’re headed for the loony-bin.
Dressing to impress is throwing yourself to the wolves. Being creative about what you’ve got, and what you can do with it, will impress and give you more style and expression.
But where do we find what we want?
If you like wool pants, seek, and you will find them. Just go to the right places.
Instead of giving your hard earned cash to a big retailer, take a stroll down the back lanes of fashion and look for a vintage clothes store, or second hand outlet. It’s a goldmine of opportunity, it’s a quick way to find exactly what you were looking for, after all these years.
The threads and shreds that you find in vintage and second hand stores, are well chosen. They are on display for you to make good choices about how the garment might fit your style.
It’s very personal in a vintage store. It’s very much all about what you want.
“I have always believed that fashion was not only to make women more beautiful, but also to reassure them, give them confidence.” — Yves Saint Laurent
Only the Best of Old Stuff
No shopkeeper buys rag-tag clothing to sell, she’d be out of business in no time. Vintage and second hand has made a big comeback by offering customers what they are really looking for.
Secondhand and vintage clothing is steamed, cleaned, and repaired before it goes out on the racks. It’s chosen with care, and presented in the way you want to see your future clothing.
These days, more and more people are becoming aware of the good it does to buy second hand, the discovery of a whole “new” line of styles and fashions that hark back to the days of dance music and wild parties, is like discovering the hidden motherload.
Big fashion retailers are trying to “own-it” by offering not only what the celebrities are buying at the shows, but by copying vintage looks.
Fast fashion wants to emulate the clothes of the past and own the concept of vintage and second hand.
And it’s fighting hard to retain an already owned chunk of market place, fast fashion.
Now, it wants vintage and secondhand.
The crazy world that we live in, I can see this as being a real battle to the death for retailers.
Money can just about change everything in business.
Carbon Footprints and the Easiness of Shiny Buttons
When you think about the carbon footprint that fast-fashion is creating, the buy and throw cycle of consumerism, and the easiness with which we can grab something needed from the local stores.
Temptations in the Garden of Zon
The temptation, on tired days, to give your money to the vendor with the biggest smile, can override your desire to do good in a world that needs people turn back to smart buying habits.
Big business, corporate strategies and the large platform that grab the market for everything, are hard to combat. They know how to create a smile that makes you all warm and fuzzy inside.
Playing their game is a matter of how much marketing money you have, how many of the top marketing people and PR people you get on board to do the work.
People have an addiction to the “Like” button, they want to know what’s next in their feed. So, they scroll. And with that, they encourage more adverts to show up in their feed.
They are hooked on the simple process of the, “Buy Now” buttons that make life so simple.
Visiting a store close to home, spending time browsing the racks and rails of colorful finds that stop you dead in your tracks, is fun. You only get this when you do it. A vintage shop, with its, “not seen one of those jackets in years”, moments, offers a rich experience.
The Habit of Buying
Buying is a habit that we all learned. Corporate business also learned how to teach the consumer efficient buying habits. Look, see, respond with buying before it’s no longer available. Manipulation at work.
The trouble is, your purchase will be available for many years to come. Wasting space in your closets and wardrobes, on a city dump, and with nowhere to go but around in circles as private companies try to figure out which country might take it off their hands.
Second hand and vintage products, clothing and goods that we need everyday, fast fashion and recyclable are in the grip of combat.
We can change things fast by supporting the team that gives us a future.
We can change our habits easily if we find a much more powerful fun-factor in purchasing than simply looking for the convenience of pushing a Buy-Button, or going for cheap clothes over quality clothes.
The present situation of sustainable vs unsustainable goods, is like a horse race, the two top tier horses are galloping neck-a-neck towards the post.
Sustainable vs Unsustainable
I believe the sustainable horse has a better name and a longer game, and the odds are in favor for the sustainable fashion of buying.
Buying and wearing fashion is a personal choice about expression and social status.
We should honor our own needs before falling into the trap of believing it doesn’t really matter.
Each purchase that we make is a reflection of our inner self, our intentions, and our ability to show responsible behavior towards our planet.