Steps on Becoming a Conscious Consumer

I have made a conscious decision to focus my efforts on becoming a more conscious consumer. This all started back in 2013, when I started working for Foundation Agency, a sustainable womenswear agency focused on bringing fashionable sustainable brands to a bigger market than just your sustainable/eco shops. Now this was 6 years ago, so breaking into the main stream market was not easy. We were still mainly working with only sustainable boutiques at the time, but fast forward to now and sustainability is all over the show! Why? Because it has to be. I mean come on I’m sitting in 41 degree weather at the moment with a fan directly on my face while typing this. I think this is saying something about our environment!!! We are ruining it one piece of clothing at a time.

Ok global warming cannot be completely blamed on the fashion industry or one industry for that matter, but it can be blamed on our lack of respect for our planet, over consumption, and waste. It’s just not cool.

I’ve always been big into thrift and vintage growing up. Back in the states we had amazing vintage shops so shopping was easy. I didn’t buy loads of new clothing because it was way cooler to wear a vintage shirt and a 70’s pair of bell-bottoms. Yes, I was a trendsetter from the very beginning. But when I moved to the UK, something changed in me. I become a fin for high street and bought just to buy. It was a problem. I didn’t even think twice about it. It wasn’t until I started working for Foundation Agency when I started to change my outlook on fashion and sustainability. I wanted to stop buying shit and wanted to start buying better. I wanted to support small emerging brands, I wanted to get back to what I was all about in the first place, individuality. I was just another high street addict.

Here I am now, a Remake Ambassador and a advocate for change. I am here to inspire you to think outside the box, to be a leader and not a follower, an individual that makes smarter choices when it comes to your purchases. The thing is, this all takes time and practice. I’m not saying I haven’t gone out and not bought a Zara dress, admittedly I have. And I wear it too. So it’s more about buying less, wearing what you have, and being creative with your purchases.

I would like to share some tips with you to help you become a more conscious consumer.

  1. Buy less stuff -

    I know this isn’t fun, but fast fashion is designed to fall apart so why not buy one thing that will last forever instead of several things that will fall apart after one wash or won’t be worn at all. By reducing our overall consumption and impulse purchases, we can invest in quality stylish pieces that will be around for many years to come.

  2. Buy purposefully -

    Before making a purchase, take a moment to imagine yourself wearing the item again and again. Ask yourself these questions:

    • Is it really your style (not just the trend of the moment)?

    • Does it flatter your body shape?

    • Will it work with other staples and favorite pieces in your closet?

    • What does it say about who you are and what you stand for?

    • Will you wear it at least 30 times?

    By simply taking a moment to thoughtfully consider all purchases, we not only end up with clothes that truly reflect our taste and values, but we end up with less stuff which also means less waste. Oh, not to mention all that money saved too! Think of buying clothes as you would an expensive piece of jewelry because like that jewelry, it should be constructed with quality, go with almost everything you wear, stay in style for years, and make you feel good everytime you wear it.

  3. Buy responsibly -

    Know your brands, know their values, know what you stand for so that you don’t make compromises at the point of purchase. Yes, it can seem overwhelming to research the companies you wish to purchase from, but truly important purchases merit research (imagine buying a car simply because it was pretty, you would never!). Also, we make it easy for you! When you educate yourself about where a garment is made, by whom, and with what processes, it makes it easier to stand by your values.

  4. Buy empowered-

    You are a powerful force for change. We think, “oh one cheap purchase here and there won’t make a difference,” but consumers, employees, and voters are realizing the power of their single voice. You can vote with your wallet and choose to spend your dollars with a company that supports women, fair wages, clean environmental practices, and is transparent about their production. When we spend our dollars in support of a more sustainable fashion industry, we also take those dollars away from companies that perpetuate the cycle of abuse, pollution, and exploitation. You don’t have to feel helpless about the the abuses in the fashion industry, you can make maximum impact with your wallet!

  5. Mend it -

    There is nothing that holds more value, meaning, and allure than a well-cared- for item that has withstood the test time. By spending the hour it takes to drop off an item at the dry cleaner or tailor for mending, you are saving countless hours down the road of shopping for a disposable item again and again. You are reducing waste. You are spending a nominal cost to keep an item fresh and in great condition vs. the cost of buying yet another new garment. You are supporting local businesses. You’re continuing to fall in love with that piece that’s given you so much great use, and will continue to do so!

  6. Buy used -

    Oh you know my love for preloved fashion ladies!!! It’s huge! I think there is something so cool about buying a designer piece for like a fraction of the price. Yes it’s been worn by someone else but that’s till cool. By purchasing used you are not introducing any new items into the production and waste chain AND you are decreasing the demand for fast fashion companies to keep up their supply with overproduction at inhumane costs. I mostly buy from preloved, vintage and designer outlets. So follow me on Instagram or look under my favourites and you’ll see where I shop.

  7. Trade In -

    Want to keep your closet lean and mean, but itching for something new? Trade in items you no longer love or use for items someone else no longer needs and everyone wins. Ready to cleanse and just make more space? There are sites like Manifesto Woman that will take your used clothing and sell them on for you and you get the money!! Easy as pie. I know there are other sites out there like this but I haven’t tried any others. I’ll look into this and let you know.

  8. Borrow it -

    So there are two ways to look at this. Borrow from a friend or borrow from a renting service. I don’t have the luxury of borrowing from my best mates anymore as we all live 1,000 of miles away from each other now. But when we were neighbours oh the wardrobes we had!!! Now you have the option to rent a designer dress, I know amazing right with sites like My Wardrobe HQ, Our Closet, Front Row, Drexcode and many more.

  9. Buy for you -

    Think timeless, not trendy, when you’re deciding what fashion items truly speak to your personality, style, and persona that you’re presenting to the world. The most beautiful items you wear are those you wear confidently because they make you make you feel your best. Trying to incorporate every trend of the moment will not only make your head spin, it’s just not possible to keep up with! Try to find items that classic and timeless, reflecting who you are and not who everyone else is being at the moment. Of course we all resonate with a trend now and then, just incorporate the actions above into your purchase and you won’t feel that tinge of buyer’s remorse on an impulse buy.

  10. Show if off -

    Don’t hide that repeat outfit. Get creative and show off the many ways you can style it by putting together a range of looks! Be proud to be a repeat offender on social media and break down the stigma of being “caught” twice in an item. By using whatever platform you choose to show your pride in caring for, loving, and getting creative with your wardrobe you can help others to feel the same. Compassion for fashion shows that you aren’t just beautiful on the outside, but on the inside as well and we all know that is where true change begins. Own it!

All 10 tips come from

My sustainable journey has just begun. I plan to continue my learning and research on sustainability and will share my finders and journey with you. I hope I can be an inspiration to you and help you become a more conscious consumer.

kelly xx

styleKelly Ekardt