Knowledge is power: this is why it is so important to educate ourselves.
This is the last article of our conscious consumption guide.
In the past articles, we spoke about how to control your consumption and try to consume less (and just the necessary).
We know that we should stay away from fast fashion brands and focus on a slow fashion lifestyle, opting for brands that focus on a sustainable approach to their garments.
And a very important step to being more aware of our consumption is making purchase decisions based on the right information.
If someone says that he/she is sustainable it doesn’t mean that we should blindly believe everything we read.
But that’s the thing with the usage of the word “Sustainability”. Sustainability is a trending word that is very easily used nowadays as it can give brands, that are actually not sustainable at all, a chance to jump on the Sustainability bandwagon.
Overall there are a lot of false claims and greenwashing activities online, and it is about us customers to be careful and cognizant about them.
It can be easier for your consciousness to believe the brands’ sustainable claims are true and just buy from them without any further questions. But we do not want you to buy sustainable products just because you want to free your conscience, since that would mean that you actually don’t care much about sustainability.
Besides that, we should be smart, avoid greenwashing, and not fall for a good marketing campaign. For this reason, it is important to do your own research and dig a little bit deeper.
Below you may find three tips on how to get all the information you need to make your conscious purchase decision.
1. Educate yourself about sustainability
Read books, watch some Ted Talks, you may even attend a free online course (there are great ones on the market, e.g. on Coursera, FutureLearn, Udemy, etc.). Try to be on top of the topic: we believe that everyone should know some key facts around sustainability. We don’t want to judge you if you buy a new dress made of polyester, instead of a different material, but we believe it is important to know the impact of the products we purchase and also be aware of the available alternatives (no worries, we will help you with this).
2. Find out more about the brands
Now that you know the basics, check out how the brands you would like to buy from are handling things like materials and supply chain. Also, check for the business-model, e.g. if a company is based on pre-order-system it could be a sustainable strategy (no overproduction and less cost for warehousing, and less CO2 for transportation when it comes directly from the factory to you).
But it is not just all about the production and the garments, try to understand also the brand’s mission, what is their philosophy?
We always suggest you check also their perspectives on discounts. They rarely or almost not use them? Then, great! Do they offer very often high discount deals on their products? This should make you a little bit suspicious (in the end, this “sustainable” brand is following the simple consumption-oriented strategy like all other brands out there).
3. Challenge your surroundings!
If you cannot find any specific information on the website of a brand except a claim on their website “to be sustainable” or “to use a sustainable material”, just drop them a message. Don’t be shy and ask them, for example, why the natural materials they use are sustainable?
We also would like to share with you the movement “Who made my clothes” from Fashion Revolution which encourages people to ask questions to brands like “who made my clothes?”.
Or let’s imagine, there is a restaurant where you really like to order your food from, and you wish they would switch to a more “sustainable option” for their packaging. Text them, and say it would be great if they “could use biodegradable options for your packaging and not plastic”. This might have an even bigger impact when giving clear ideas on what to improve.
Having a positive impact is so much influenced by how we buy and how we consume. It’s about making it normal and self-understanding to question where we buy from and what we buy.
We are living in 2020, and it is the time for innovations, new production methods, new materials, new recycling techniques… we should embrace this moment and bring it forward, making it a norm to care and to KNOW what’s going on.
Did you read Irene Fedrigo’s article: “What do you know about leather?”: you might have already heard about lab-grown meat like “Beyond Meat”, she is addressing what is going on in the leather industry.
So keep asking, keep learning and keep encouraging you and those around you to question.
And hopefully, in some way, this could also help to create some positive change in this world.
We suggest you to read also the other articles of our conscious consumption guide: