It’s that time of the year when the festive season starts and the holiday sales begins. Gift wrapping is complimentary and gift set combinations are endless. Before the offer tags pull you in to pull out your wallet, it’s really important to be more mindful when consuming as it’s so easy to get lost in the discounts and bundles.
Conscious consumerism refers to making positive choices throughout consumption, with the intention to help balance negative impacts that consumerism has on the planet to an extent, examples include buying locally grown produce (lowering carbon footprint), fairtrade chocolate or using toiletries and products made from a natural source, as well as supporting ethical businesses.
With Black Friday upon us, we’re here to give you a few culthread tips on being a more conscious consumer in the midst of the sales frenzy!
Look out for certified companies
From Fairtrade to B Corp, there are certifications of companies which you can look out for in order to know that your purchases are investing into companies that takes pride in making sure their standards of impact on all factors from the environment to workers to customers are upheld (social responsibility!). Certified B Corporations are defined as “businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose”. These communities work towards creating a healthier environment and purposeful impact of their brand, whether it is to their employees, customers or as simple as mother earth.
Interested in knowing what companies and brands are classified as B Corp? Check out the online directory here! Our culthread favourites are teapigs (quality real tea with over 100 Great Taste Awards) and Pip & Nut (a must have in our pantry!).
Understanding the background story
When we were younger we were taught the 5-W’s and 1-H: What, Who, Where, When, Why and How, and this is a principle that can be taken to any context and most definitely our journey in consumption. When you’re out at a restaurant, aside from picking what your heart desires from the menu, find out where the restaurant sources their produce demonstrates conscious consumerism. When shopping for a cashmere jumper, is the brand transparent about where the fabric comes from? Brands like NAADAM, a US-based cruelty free cashmere fashion brand, allows customers to be a part of their purchasing journey by showing them who they work with in Mongolia and how they give back to the herders, charity and environment. Looking beyond the fabric and materials, are you in the loop of how companies treat their workers? Research through available resources on how companies treat their workers, are they paid at least a living wage? Are they working reasonable (and humane) hours? Are their working conditions of a certain standard? Child labour and human rights violations should not be tolerated and it is vital for us as consumers to educate ourselves and consider these facts in the process of consumption.
In the process of producing artificial and man-made materials such as polyester greenhouse gases are emitted into our atmosphere, contributing to global warming. Whilst organic materials still account for emissions and climate change, we need to look at the bigger picture as consumers. The increase in consumption and demand feeds into the increase in production, therefore we need to consume better and smarter. Purchasing items that are of a higher quality will last you longer (hello lower cost per wear!) thus keeps demand and production under control.
It is natural to be drawn to an attractive price tag, but be sure to also know that cheap does not always (most likely not) equate to fairness to all stakeholders.
...and questioning quantity
Making conscious purchasing decisions isn’t a yes/no answer to the question “do I need this?”, but rather the effort put into rethinking what you currently own and the process of purchasing. Is the demand purely a necessity or are there ways for us to change or upgrade what we already own? Take a pair of jeans with a small hole in them, for example, do we need to buy a new pair can the issue be solved by simply taking it to the seamstress? Or using one of those nifty hotel sewing kits to stitch them up ourselves?
One of our favourite sayings goes: “It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backwards”.
With endless ways to reach the overall goal of consuming better and smarter, it is tempting to be the heroine and want to do it all. The truth is that when there’s too much to be addressed, it would take a small village to manage and execute it all. Our best advice is to start small, and embrace the imperfections along the way.
Being more conscious when making a purchasing decision is doing anything beyond observing the label. It is about asking yourself questions about the brand as well as the industry, and being crystal clear about your values. At culthread we’re committed to making jackets and accessories that will last a lifetime, as well as using recycled materials that would otherwise end up in our oceans or in landfill. Our mission is to show the world that we can create beautiful things that last from man made and recycled materials. Thank you for being part of our journey.