Many of us want to change the world. We try to shop consciously, we recycle, and we try to limit consumption. The problem is, it's sometimes hard to see how our actions alone will make a difference. Add in the extra costs and time commitment that can come with living consciously, and we see that while 65% of us want to only shop from purpose-driven brands, only 26% of us actually follow through. In fact, it's now such a phenomenon that behavioural scientists have given it a name: the ‘intention-action gap’. Of course, it’s the massive oil companies who have the largest impact on the climate, but adapting our individual actions also plays a part.
If you need a little extra nudge in the right direction, here are 5 reasons why you should shop from environmentally-friendly fashion brands.
Reduce your environmental impact
Let’s start with the obvious one here. Ethical, responsible fashion brands work hard to ensure their products are as environmentally friendly as possible, from the materials used to create the garment, to the packing it comes in when it lands on your doorstep. The fast fashion industry is a notorious polluter. If you're after some scary stats, 26 billion pounds of textiles end up in landfills each year, and the fashion industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions. It doesn't stop there, either. Many of the world's most famous fashion brands use sweatshops to cut costs, meaning their labourers work in dangerous, unhealthy and often illegal conditions. By shopping consciously, you're reducing your own environmental impact little by little.
Help shape the fashion industry
If everyone shopped consciously, fast fashion brands would go out of business. It might be a long way off in the future, but the fact remains: as consumers, we help shape the industry. If each of us convinced our families and friends to shop consciously as much as possible, we'd already be off to a good start. The market follows demand, and so by making the conscious decision to buy from ethical brands, you're helping to cement a trend that will hopefully become the norm.
How many items do you have in your closet that you’ve only worn once? If you are or were a fast fashion fan, the answer is probably quite a few. Major retailers selling off stock for little more than a dollar doesn't help either - if you're tight on money, it can seem like a no-brainer to go for that bathing suit that costs less than a smoothie. But if you sit down and do the maths (don't worry, we’ve done it for you), shopping consciously actually works out cheaper. You might pay more upfront, but thanks to the quality, you’ll be wearing it for years to come, unlike that high street neon bikini you bought on a whim… If you’re trying to decide whether to buy something from an ethical brand, try to work out the average cost per wear. If you bought a sweater for 100 dollars, for example, and wore it twice a week for four years, you’d be paying less than 25c per wear.
Feel better about your purchases
If we buy something we don’t need, it's often because we're in search of that ‘buyers’ high’. When you're shopping consciously, you get double the satisfaction from your purchase. You’re not just treating yourself: you're also contributing to a better planet. And if you're splurging on something really pricey, the fact that it's ethically produced can help us feel better, too. It's psychological: we like treating ourselves, but when we’re treating ourselves to something environmentally friendly, that warm, excited feeling is amplified.
Inspire yourself to shop consciously in other areas of your life
Shopping consciously is a journey - it's not something most of us can switch to overnight. The best way of approaching the challenge of living in a way that minimises your carbon footprint is to take it step by step. Rather than heading to the high street for a fast fashion fix, opt to shop small and consciously instead. Over time, you’ll start making more considered choices in other areas too, from food and drinks, to furniture and travel. There are so many beautiful, inspiring and ethical brands - it’s exciting to discover what’s out there!