Sustainable Fashion: How To Purchase In A More Responsible Way (Even During Sales!)
Oh yeah. SALES HAVE STARTED.
After so many months of expectation, we can finally blow off steam and buy these (50% off) amazing shoes. How cool is it?
I understand you and since I started working in a clothes shop it’s so hard to resist the shopping temptation!
But this year, I’ve decided to pay more attention to what I buy (a purpose that I’m supposed to pursue all life long).
When prices are so low, it becomes really easy to buy above and beyond.
I KNOW IT.
This is the reason why in this article I’d like to shift your focus from the affordability to the (social and environmental) VALUE of what we buy.
Add an ETHICAL and CONSCIOUS connotation to the banal act of buying is easier than what you think!
16 dimensions for a more conscious purchasing style
Since I started working in a clothes shop, I’ve begun to ask myself so many questions about what I was selling:
Where does the raw material come from? How is it processed and treated? Is it subjected to chemical substances during the production process?
Does the enterprise respect and protect his employees? Does she promote the local development? Is there a sustainable development policy? If yes, how is it implemented?
Well, all these questions have found some answers after a good time spent by reading reports and international rankings.
Don’t worry, I WILL NOT ASK YOU to do all these searches! What I’m going to do is present you about an easy strategy to use daily.
Our mission? BECOME A MORE CONSCIOUS SHOPPER!
I’ve recently discovered the Greta Eagan’s method based on what she named the “Integrity Index”. This index permits to identify subjects and issues that truly interest us and for which we are disposed to do something: for someone, it will be the purchase of vegan clothes, for others the education of poor children halfway across the world.
Let me better explain you. This index is composed of 16 indicators:
- Natural and Low-Impact Dyeing: What Colour is it?
- Natural Fibre: What’s it made of?
- Organic: How is it grown?
- Fair Trade: Who makes it?
- Recycled and Upcycled: Was it ever something else?
- Local: Was it made nearby?
- Social: what does it stand for?
- Zero Waste: What was left behind?
- Slow Fashion: How much thought was put into it?
- Vegan: Is it animal-friendly?
- Water Footprint: How thirsty is it?
- Transparency: How much are they telling me?
- Cradle to Cradle: What happens when I’m done with it?
- Convertible: What else can it do?
- Secondhand: Who else wore it?
- Style: how sweet is it?
Perfect. We did the theory. Now it’s time to pass to action!
Two steps to become a more responsible shopper
The first step
It’s your moment to define YOUR “INTEGRITY INDEX”: which of these 16 indicators suits better to you?
Choose 4 or 5 of them.
To give you an example, these are my 5 indicators:
- STYLE (for the author, this is imperative for all)
- Natural Fibre
- Fair Trade
- Recycled & Upcycled.
The second step
Once you’ve chosen your indicators, the second step is to create the Diamond Diagram: it’s about creating a system made up of four bases. Each base corresponds to an indicator. The “home base” will always be the style indicator. The others are more flexible and vary on which ones you’ve chosen.
The objective is to pass through as many bases as possible with one purchase.
In this way, every reached base is a step to a more responsible closet! 🙂
According to the number of bases you reach, you achieve one of these three levels:
- Level 1 (first base) = Eco-Citizen;
- Level 2 (second base) = Eco-Warrior;
- Level 3 (third base) = Eco-Guru.
I admit that buy something passing through all four bases is really hard. Despite this, I’m sure that everyone can satisfy at least one or two of them!
I come back to my indicators to give you a practical example of how to use the Diamond Diagram.
This month I’ve bought these three items:
- TOMS’s shoes = 2 bases reached
(2) SOCIAL = for every pair purchased TOMS will give a pair to a child in need — one for one model);
- PERUS’s shoes: 4 bases reached
(2) SOCIAL = one pair purchased corresponds to one day of school for a child in Cuzco,
(3) FAIR TRADE,
(4) NATURAL FIBRE = wool and cotton locally produced);
- T-Shirt H&M (Conscious): 2 bases reached
(2) NATURAL FIBRE = T-shirt made of organic cotton.
To find out more…
If you’re interested in knowing more about sustainable fashion, have a look at these suggestions to keep you informed and do a more responsible shopping!
- Sustainable Fashion Directory;
- Fashion Revolution;
- Wear No Evil: how to change the world with your wardrobe (Greta Eagan, 2014);
- Sustainable Fashion.
I hope you’ve appreciated this article!
I’m looking forward to knowing if this shopping strategy works for you too: leave a comment and let me know! 🙂
Always, with love,
(What Can I Do Founder)