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What started as a single day event following the horrific collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh on April 24 2013 has now grown into a week-long rally against the social and environmental problems of the fashion industry.
With the threat of climate change looming, many of us want to become more conscious consumers and to make a difference through the things that we purchase and the way we care for and dispose of them, but with so much conflicting information available it can be difficult to determine what is and isn’t good practice and where to draw the line.
Becoming a more conscious consumer is a little bit like a diet — rather than cutting things from your life wholesale, you must tailor your approach to your budget and lifestyle to make a lasting change.
Here are a few suggestions that can help you do this:
Decide on Your Values
There are so many problems in the world that trying to make a difference as an individual can feel overwhelming. Do you want to support labels that pay their workers fairly? Or maybe the use of organic textiles is more important to you. What about the use of animal products? Take the time to consider what is important to you and in what areas you might realistically be able to make an impact.
Be Informed. Do Your Research
Once you have decided which issues are important to you, do your research. There are lots of resources out there to help you. Identify which brands and labels are doing a good job when it comes to your own values as well as their broader environmental and social impact.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Use your money and purchasing power to support industries and practices that align with your values. It’s as easy as that.
It may seem like shop assistants exist to convince you to buy things, and for the most part, they do. However, as well as facilitating sales, shop assistants are also experts on the products they sell. Pick their brains; ask if they know where a garment was made, or how was it made. Ask whether a beauty product is vegan or cruelty-free. Even if the shop assistant doesn’t know your question acts as an impetus for them to find out.
Use your voice. Don’t bang people over the head with your beliefs as this won’t get you very far, but talk to your friends, family and colleagues about issues that are important to you. You never know, you might inspire someone else to make a change in their own life.
Don’t be afraid to publicly engage with a business either by contacting them directly or calling them out on social media. Holding a business publicly accountable is a great way to drive change but always make sure to do it respectfully. And it doesn’t all have to be negative; give a shout out to a business you think is doing a great job.
If you are interested in discussing any of these suggestions further Pop CBR is holding a free evening of sustainable fashion in store from 5.30 pm on Tuesday 30 April. There will be drinks and nibbles provided as well as the opportunity to get to know other people with an interest in sustainability and supporting local makers. Pop will also be open for attendees to shop locally made gifts, homewares and produce.
What: Join Pop CBR and the editor of Leiden Magazine Emma Batchelor for an informal evening of discussion and connection off the back of Fashion Revolution Week. Emma will be sharing practical suggestions for buying, styling, caring and disposing of your clothes in a more conscious way
When: Tuesday 30 April. Drinks and chats from 5.30 pm, the main discussion will begin at 6 pm
Where: Pop CBR, Nishi Building New Acton
Cost: It’s free! All you need to do is RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org