Now that Christmas is over and the New Year is well and truly underway, it’s common for many of us to experience buyer’s remorse. We look back with regret at getting caught up in the crazy shopping frenzy - of buying ‘stuff’ without thought. Is this you?
Were you one of the many millions of people buying gifts in panic, standing in long mad queues buying ‘things’ you knew would end up in landfill? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Take a deep breath.
It’s always exciting to start a new year. So many of us reflect on the year that was and as a result make our resolutions. In the midst of work parties, family gatherings, food comas and shopping madness, we identify areas that need a shake up and voila - new goals and plans are set for the year ahead. Plans and goals of all types take place - health, fitness, money, work, relationships - the list goes on.
But what if one of your resolutions was to become a better shopper? There is so much to gain from this both personally, financially and morally – it may end up being the best resolution you ever made.
Feed Your Curiosity and Ask More Questions
So, how do we become better shoppers? It’s pretty simple. All you need to do is get into the habit of asking a few questions. Being a little more curious is the first step. You may not have all the answers at first, but cultivating curiosity is a good start.
First of all, ask yourself, do I (or the person you’re buying for) actually need this? Will I, (or they) wear it often? More than 25 times? You can also question the brand, about their supply chain and who made your clothes. Social media gives us more access to companies than ever before. Go to their website and email them directly with your questions, or write to them publicly on their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages. Use the hashtag #whomademyclothes to become part of an ongoing conversation.
Some other questions you may ask could be – “am I paying a fair price?”, “are workers’ rights and safety protected?” “Who made this garment and where?” If your curiosity demands it, you can even start to research the brand online and see what information you can learn about their worker’s conditions. Learning about the makers is not only informative it’s inspiring too!
It might not be easy to answer all of the questions, but here are a few information sources that will help make the task so much easier:
Take a look at a report put together by Baptist World Aid Australia. You can find it here. Don’t miss the FAQs for detailed information on their grading system.
All this detective work may feel a little overwhelming at first, but harness that burst of new year motivation we all get and it won’t take long to get things in motion. Even a small shift can make a difference. The fashion industry is really driven by us, the consumers. We have the power to choose and start making a change. It is the road less travelled, but just like Finders and Makers, you too can stand up for the welfare of people who make what we wear.
We hope you too can take some action.
Until next time,
Photo credits in order of appearance: Esther Poon, Jerry Kiesewetter, Teddy Kelly, Finders and Makers.