Conscious Consumerism: What is it?

Conscious Consumerism: What is it?

Let's talk about fashion for a moment, as I unpack my thoughts on the secondhand industry and why I am in it for the long haul. 

I grew up in a family with six kids and two hard-working, blue-collar parents who prioritized our education and put us through private schools. After they paid school tuitions, groceries, utilities, the mortgage, etc., there was little left to spend on our clothes. Hand-me-downs were aplenty and so was "stealing" my older sister's gray Gap button-fly jeans when I could. Apparently, I stretched them? (I inherited the strong hips in my family.) Secondhand was commonplace at home. And when my mother was introduced to a local thrift store by a neighborhood friend, oh my, the world stopped for a second. Wow. 

Suddenly, we had so many clothes at our disposal. We loved going thrifting. We loved the hunt of finding the best t-shirts or jeans for $2 or sometimes $.75. I believe this is when I first fell in love with clothes. I could now have a pair of jeans for every day of the week and I could mix and match tops with them. We couldn't get everything we wanted, but it made getting clothes more affordable. That was in the 80s.

Today, I'm happy to say that we live in a society that is still buying secondhand, but this time we are being mindful and intentional about it. We know buying resale is contributing to a circular economy and lessens the impact on our environment.

But I also see another group of consumers growing: the communities on  Instagram who post their Amazon or Target hauls of finding a knock-off The Row Margaux tote for a lot less than the original, barrel jeans, t-shirts, wide leg pants, and everything else for less, when, instead, they can buy these items secondhand from resellers. I want to jump up and down and say, "Hey, over here! My consignment shop has those barrel jeans or an original Chanel quilted leather bag (and she's gorgeous!)  

Conscious consumerism is when we prioritize sustainability and we hold ourselves accountable to the earth. I am an advocate for contributing to a circular economy, whereby I consume what's already here (secondhand) and I forward what I have to someone else via consignment, donation, or just sharing it. 

Example. I went to a party with a statement dress that I found secondhand. I will likely use it again a few more times, but for the most part, it will hang in the back of my closet. My friend said she loved my dress and asked to wear it to an upcoming event. Yess! This is contributing to a circular economy -- use what's already here for as long as possible. Share it, donate it, consign it. 

It can be hard to make the transition to a secondhand lifestyle if the concept is foreign to you. But once you wrap your head around the waste and excess we can accumulate and how it can negatively impact our earth's fleeting resources, our economy, and the environment, it can change how you consume. You'll learn to be more intentional about your purchases.


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