How To Shop Consciously And Become A Mindful Consumer
- 3rd Sep 2020
Today with the advent of social media and a digitized retail space, it has become highly popular amongst masses to make purchase decisions based on impulse. We see people around us buying more, spending more and indulging in materialistic experiences which reluctantly puts a seed of urge in our minds, whether we like it or not. It has made society today look at things from a perspective of ‘want’ as opposed to ‘need’.
With the rising adverse effects of fast fashion on our environmental health and the increase in consumption of synthesized materials which takes incredibly long to decompose in a landfill, it has been marked that social damage and poor working conditions are not the only ways in which the concept of fast fashion negatively impacts society. It can cause detrimental damage on an environmental level which will then have a direct impact on societal living.
Before we get in to the idea of how to shop consciously, let us begin by understanding the basics of mindful decision making and how it can help us.
What is Conscious Shopping?
The main purpose of introducing the term ‘conscious shopping’ is to understand that it is the need of the hour. In its essence, conscious shopping is nothing but buying just what you need while keeping in mind the impact your purchase has on the environment.
While we are aware that the manufacturing industry requires a change in terms of structure and policies, it is also essential to develop a change in the consumer mindset which is key towards demolishing pre-existing concepts of destructive consumerist practices.
The usual trend of shopping today is primarily based on the mere instinct to buy something. One can even find themselves being compelled or drawn to making a purchase purely because their contemporaries have it, the buzz and social media hype around it, to satiate self-esteem or simply because they can afford it. The very thought of ‘do I even need this product’ rarely ever arises in the minds of shoppers today due to irresponsible societal conditioning.
In the past decade we have observed a number of businesses that are trying to inculcate conscious environmental friendly practices and policies in to their structure in order to maintain ecological balance and create an awareness around the concept and importance of sustainability.
We have seen brands like The Body Shop and Nike develop partnerships with global campaigns pertaining to environmental needs that not only helps the ecological aspects of business but also spreads awareness about various issues and what needs to be done in order to maintain a better balance. Brands have also moved towards sustainable packaging in order to reduce their carbon footprint and ensure that their marketing methods and strategies cause as little damage to the environment as possible.
As consumers, unless the concept and idea of conscious shopping is not popularized, the masses might not give in to making mindful purchase decisions. It comes down to knowing what is important to you and making choices accordingly.
With the number of different brands and product variants out there it can get a bit overwhelming to start your journey of choosing your purchases consciously. We have put together a list of steps you can look out for if you are a novice at conscious shopping:
You do not have to make a considerably huge change where you entirely replace products with others that are better for the environment. You can simply start by making less frequent purchases from brands that are not ethically sound. Then slowly transition into figuring out if you really need what you like or is it just an impulsive purchase that you might end up not even using later.
Figure out the causes that are important to you.
If you are an ardent supporter of the anti-child labor cause but end up shopping from a fast fashion brand that employs underage children to make their clothes at factories- then that is a problem. By making purchases from such brands, you are indirectly supporting a cause that is actually against your ethics. So make well-informed choices by choosing brands that support causes that are ethical and important to you.
Frugality is a must.
It might so happen that you really like a dress but it is designed and sold by a brand that does not resonate with your ethics. You can always do a quick online search and find something that is relatively similar and also an eco-friendly alternative to what you are looking for. This will help you develop the habit of research and take control of making more informed choices in the future.
Quality over Quantity
Sometimes you might find products that are ethical but are on the pricier side as compared to say a fast fashion brands product. In such situations, it is important to stop and really think about your purchase and how you’d like to use it. Is it something you can use multiple times and maintain in the long run or is durability not really a factor to be considered? If you need to pay slightly more by investing in an ethical brand that is likely to last longer, then that should make your choice easy.
If you are someone who loves to experiment with clothes or are in the loop of hoarding unnecessary products that you end up not even using much, it is important to understand the impact of this and bring about some change that can help minimize the effects of it. While buying something, really think about how you can pair it with other outfits you may have, instead of hoarding. This allows you to make good use of what you are buying and by default reduces consumption of material goods. Going the sustainable route will not only help you stay fairly organized but will also benefit the environment in the long run.
The best way to give back to nature for all that it does for us is to minimize our carbon footprint, reduce macro-consumption and try to apply the concept of minimalism to our lives. Buying an excessive load of products has become second nature to such a degree that buying only what one actually needs might seem limiting to people. But, it is very important to realize the benefits of shopping consciously and how it can leave a lasting impact on the environment as well as our lives, now more than ever.