Small guide to sustainable shopping

Some techniques for an ethical, critical and conscious shopping

“Mom, I want that coat!”

That’s the sound of an entire generation busy with wild shopping, racing to get the latest fashion item recommended by a top influencer.

“5-10-15-30-50… 70%” discount! The eyes widen, the fingers beat until they bleed on the smartphone keyboard in search of the deal of the century: nothing has stirred up the crowd quite like this before, not even a Michael Jackson concert. It’s a one-word magic spell: shopping. And for those dreaming to get showered by compliments for the latest outfit, that dream today can cost nothing but a few bucks.

But what impact does this have on the world? What does this massive frenzy entail? What environmental impact can a 3 euros pair of trousers have?

Well, a tragic one -both from an environmental and a humanitarian point of view. But instead of focusing on the negative consequences, let’s move on to viable alternatives to all of this.

In these years we are observing the birth of a new particular phenomenon. A small handful of people involved in environmental protection are standing up as the spokespersons of a more conscious shopping methodology. And they fight with passion to uncover what’s behind that manipulative system that triggers compulsive buying. In this fight, one motto reigns over all: sustainable shopping.

What exactly does Sustainable Shopping mean?

Sustainable shopping is a movement that promotes a shopping system focusing on greater ecological integrity and social justice.

How does it actually unfold? What are the right choices to make when learning to save natural and economic resources?

Here is a brief guide to the main techniques for an ethical, critical and conscious purchase:

  • Look around

Sometimes, the solution is right in front of you. Try taking a tour around your neighbourhood or downtown. You may find everything you need at zero kilometres and even discover that your favourite designer is your neighbour!

  • Creatively recycle by renewing or repairing

Buy second-hand clothes – they are cheaper and sometimes way cooler! A garment with a story to tell is very captivating. Otherwise, carefully check what you already have in the closet: you might experience a creative epiphany, take that leftover fluorescent green paint from the last time you painted the garage, and transform your old white t-shirt into your Sunday best.

  • Read the label

Educating yourself always goes a long way. Coming from someone that has ruined way too many pieces of clothes. By reading the label you could avoid making a mistake when washing your favourite trousers, and avoid turning them into keychains. You’ll have the opportunity to discover the materials with which the garment was made, learn what suits you best and make better research on clothing production.

  • Choose quality

Just because a hat costs 99 cents, doesn’t mean it’s a good investment. Oftentimes, that cheap item will wear out quite quickly, and you’ll have to purchase another one a few weeks later. Instead, choose something that was pieced together ethically, with conscious labor and resources. The production quality reflects on the item itself: your ethically fabricated hat will surely last way longer. Don’t get fooled by “good” deals!


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