Conscious consumption.

“There’s this idea that somehow you’ve got to keep changing things, and as often as possible. Maybe if people just decided not to buy anything for a while, they’d get a chance to think about what they wanted; what they really liked.” – Vivienne Westwood

I’ve been thinking about the topic of eco-friendly consumption for some while now and it has been discussed all over the ‘net, for example here. Everyone seems to agree on the fact that our attitude – primarily towards shopping – has to be changed, but many of us don’t know in how far. Lots of suggestions have been made, from thrifting and recycling to only buying locally-produced goods. However, I’m of the opinion that besides thinking about what we buy, it is important to consider how much we buy. Therefore, I liked this quote by Vivienne Westwood I read on Tricia’s journal. I like the idea of not purchasing anything in a while and just thinking about what you already have and what you really love and need. Actually, that’s what I’m trying to do right now, including finding my favourite items in my closet, thinking about new ways to combine them and what may be needed to complete my wardrobe. I try to concentrate on my own taste and sense of style without being influenced by trends too much. If I notice I really want and need something, I can still decide whether I want to buy it at a thrift store, from a local designer or make it myself. In addition, I can concentrate on what I need when thrifting and I won’t buy anything just because it’s cheap or “quite nice”.

I found these favourites of mine by looking through my outfit-photos of the last years and taking a look at my wardrobe. Of course there are some more, but here’s a selection:

There are my green thrifted blouse, yellow cardigan, handmade shirt, handmade skirt, red jeans, red cordury skirt, red campers, brown flats and brown scarf. These are the pieces that I wear most and that I really love. Although I always did that, I will try even more to built something new using what I already have now (including fabrics on my stash). In addition, I want to find the things in my wardrobe that I love, but don’t wear much and try to think of new ways to integrate them in my outfits. And, as mentioned above, if I need something, I can still decide whether I want to buy it (and where) or, for example, make it myself. In my opinion, we could save a lot of money and resources if we took a look at our closets and tried to think of new solutions before buying something new. We buy clothes that are similiar to something we already have or that could have been made out of something old so often. It’s not about stopping to buy things, but about buying less that are more right.

10 thoughts on “Conscious consumption.

  1. Eine gute Einstellung. In der letzten Zeit mache ich es so, dass ich in einen Laden gehe, mir etwas anschaue und wenn es mir gefällt, lasse ich es erstmal dort und überlege in Ruhe, ob ich es wirklich will und brauche. Zudem habe ich meine Sachen schon immer nach dem Gesichtspunkt gekauft, ob sie zu dem Rest meiner Kleidung passen.

  2. das ist auch eine sehr gute idee! und wenn es nicht mehr da ist, kann man das als wink des schicksal sehen, dass es doch nicht das richtige war. (;
    ja, das halte ich auch für wichtig. daran erkennt man auch, ob es wirklich dem eigenen stil entspricht und ob man es tragen wird.
    danke für den kommentar, neue ideen und ansätze sind immer interessant!

  3. versuchst du dann auch, “umweltfreundlich” hergestellte Sachen zu kaufen? Ich find es ziemlich schwer, auch noch drauf zu achten woher etwas kommt & aus was es gemacht ist, wenn gleichzeitig auch das Aussehen und der Preis von einem Kleidungsstück stimmen muss … dann eigentlich lieber gar nicht mehr shoppen, da hast du ja recht (: Wenns nur nicht soviel Spaß machen würde …

  4. @Sasa: Da diese hier schwer zu bekommen und noch extrem teuer sind, gehe ich eher in Secondhandläden oder mache die Sachen selbst. Es geht ja nicht darum, gar nicht mehr zu shoppen, sondern darum, weniger Dinge zu kaufen, die einfach richtiger sind, die man wirklich liebt.

    @Miss Shoppingverse: Ja, ich gehe auch öfters in Second-Hand-Läden. Es ist wirklich gut, dort Sachen zu kaufen und wiederzuverwenden, wobei das auch Nachteile für die (lokale) Wirtschaft haben kann.

  5. Hi and thanks for linking to me :)

    I still think it is far more important to focus on WHAT to buy, than to simply reduce your buying. Think of your money as a vote you’re casting. Not voting at all will not make any difference… However, if for instance you decide to buy more organic and fair trade groceries, that will probably leave you with less money to spend on clothes etc, so the end result is also less buying.

    One point that I didn’t make in that post is that when deciding what to buy, immaterial things are a choice, too. Such as services. Take your shoes to a cobbler… Have clothes refashioned (unless you can do that yourself of course). For some reason, people who don’t do crafts (you’re not one of them, I know) think they don’t have option of getting things refashioned. But the option does exist if one is willing to put the money into it.

  6. Secound Hand ist eigtl ne tolle Idee, aber es hat auch etwas mit Gefühl zu tun. In den meisten meiner Secondhand-Sachen fühle ich mich unwohl. Und sonderlich behaglich sind die Läden auch nicht gerade…

  7. @Vasiliisa:
    Thanks for your comment!
    I didn’t even mean that we necessarily have to spend less money on clothes. I only wanted to express that we should think about the things we buy more and maybe buy less things that we love more, that are more right.
    However, if we spend less money on clothes, we could save the money to invest it in something else or spend it on fair-trade-goods and products from our region. I don’t think the money is ever “lost” for economy, it will just be spent at a later time.
    As you mentioned, I was always a friend of refashioning and repairing old things and I think it’s a good way, but sadly, many of today’s things are so cheaply-made that they can only be put onto a waste landfill after some years.

    @Rowena: Ja, das ist leider hierzulande der Nachteil: die Atmosphäre in den Läden ist oftmals nicht die beste, in vielen sind die Sachen nicht richtig gereinigt usw., weshalb sie immer noch ein schmuddeliges Image haben. An für sich ist es schon ein wirklich guter Ansatz und ich habe einige Second-Hand-Sachen, die ich wirklich liebe. Ich denke, die Präsentation sollte verändert werden, damit diese Läden und Sachen in der Gesellschaft auch mehr akzeptiert werden.

  8. Yes, that’s exactly what I meant too… The money will always be either spent or eaten up by inflation! So, that’s why it’s important to think where it’s going. Buying less, with the same amount of money, is often sort of a side product of a more conscious consumption. And yes, it’s infuriating how low quality many items are these days. I see a lot of things at the thrifts that are max 10 years old and they look worse than thing that are 30 years old.

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