Why Being Self-Absorbed Leads To Ethical Consumerism

As you may have noticed I’m working with fewer brands these days. You’ll still see great brands on the blog every so often (actually I have some great ones coming up), but in general I will continue to bring you fewer new brands over time. I’ve made this decision for a few reasons. One, I’m uncomfortable regularly promoting consumerism, even if it is conscious consumerism.  The fact is we all consume too much, and no matter how consciously we consume our planet is still going to hell in a handbasket if we don’t curb our shopping. Two, there are tons of great blogs out there who already bring you lots of great ethical brands on the reg. Three, and this is the biggie, something else has caught my attention.

Throughout my ethical fashion journey I’ve seen lots of people (including myself) talk about supply chains, and fiber content, microplastics and living wages. While these things are incredibly important, they’re really only the symptoms of a much more insidious disease. I’ve realized that the fundamental issue when we talk about fast fashion is not that we throw away our clothes, but WHY we throw them away. We view clothes as disposable, because we’ve lost our connection to our clothing.

 

If we really want to make the fashion industry more ethical first we as consumers must fall in love with our clothing. And before you say “isn’t that love run amok what’s lead us to this fast fashion hellscape to being with?” Yes and no. You see my darlings, the pull people feel towards fast-fashion brands is not real love because it’s not based on honesty and sense of self. That love is based on fear. Corporations are masters at manipulating us, pushing our fear buttons, to get us to buy more than we need or even want. They sell us the idea that if we have their latest piece we’ll be more worthy of love and acceptance. If we don’t we’ll be outcasts. They prey on our fears of scarcity by running endless sales and dropping new merchandize every week. That’s not love, that’s an emotionally abusive relationship.

 Photo by  Joyous Snyder

Photo by Joyous Snyder

 

The kind of love we must cultivate with our clothing is one rooted in self-love. How do we do this? First, we must reclaim our style from “trendsetters” and fashion magazines and make it personal again. We must develop our own sense of fashion and revel in all its glory. We must make clothing about self-expression again. What do you want your clothes to say? How do you want to be seen? How does your outfit make you feel? These are the questions we must ask ourselves before we buy something and as we get dressed in the morning. Forget what’s trendy. Forget seasons. Fashion is a powerful artform that we have the opportunity to practice daily.

And we we love our clothing we’ll take better care of it, because when we love something we treat it with care and attention. Think about your most beloved item of clothing. When you spill something on it, I bet you get upset right? I bet you rush to carefully dab water and soap on it. When we love a piece of clothing we’ll work to mend a frayed hem or remove a stain instead of throwing the garment away. We’ll hand wash a mohair sweater or delicately tug a snagged thread back into place.

 

Once we have a closet full of clothes we truly love that also express exactly who we are, another powerful shift happens. We begin to love ourselves in a more authentic way. About two years ago I decided I was going to follow my fashion gut no matter where it led me. If I liked something I was going to wear it, and to hell what anyone else thought about it or what I thought they’d think about it, or any thinking of me thinking of them of thinking at all. I was going to stay out of my head and just enjoy the ride.  I was shocked to realize my fashion gut led me to some pretty ridiculous clothing. I’d always worn pretty tame, middle of the road type clothes and suddenly I was wearing sequins, and leopard, and huge fuzzy heart shaped earrings. I was shocked but also deliriously happy because I was finally letting myself be me. All of me. That weird quirky girl I’d shoved in the back of my head when I was 8? Yeah, I not only let her out, I let her run the whole freakin show. Embracing my authentic self gave me the courage to make other changes in my life. I changed careers, moved cities, and took up hobbies I’d always wanted to try, but had shied away from because they were too “out there”.

 

 Photo by  Joyous Snyder

Photo by Joyous Snyder

This self-love in turn leads us to love the world in a deeper way. When we feel free to be ourselves we want that freedom and joy for others because love is a self-perpetuating emotion. It will continue to grow and thrive in ourselves as we pass it along to others. People know this and so we we feel good we aim to make others feel good. I’ve seen it happen time and again that once someone begins dressing out of self-love their desire to buy clothes ethically increases exponentially. They feel good in their clothes and they want that happiness to be passed forward into the world and also back down the garment’s supply chain.

 

Loving your clothes = Loving yourself = Loving the world


 

How do you shop? Is it out of self-love?

Benita Robledo2 Comments