Tuesday, February 24, 2015

About Consumerism

This is a post I wanted to make for a long time...

... and I never really knew how to. We, bloggers, we all consume and we like to get free stuff from brands, we like to show what we wear, which lifestyle products we enjoy and what we buy. On the other hand, we are all part of this world which is facing lots of problems; horrible workings conditions for women working in the clothing industry somewhere in Bangladesh and China, lots and lots of trash in our oceans, chemicals from the industry in our ground water, etc. etc. this list could go on for pages. 

Now, how do we handle the balance between the way we consume and the way we want the world to become? 

Let me be really honest in this post. I feel bad when I buy from companies from which I know that they are not caring about working rights, the environment, and so on; but I also love to have new clothes and I have a very limited amount of money available to buy them. Every time I am about to make another order at H&M and every time I am asked by a Chinese clothing company if I want to promote their products on my blog, I am arguing with myself forever!   

In certain aspects of my life, I am satisfied with the way I consume - like I only buy organic make up and cosmetics. I also buy my food mostly organic and I try to support the local organic shops as much as I can. I also try to promote fair trade organic clothes brands, such as Hess Natur but I also consume a lot of clothes which come from companies which I actually do not truely support. And here I am somehow not satisfied with myself. However, I LOVE on the other hand every single piece in my ward robe, also those pieces coming from companies I do not truly support. Now what to do? I love to receive free clothes, I love to buy on sale cheap and good pieces from H&M or similar. But my head tells me all the time that this is something bad to do! 

I wonder - how do you handle this? Which compromises do you make? 

For myself, I try to compromise - I eat vegan, I try to buy organic food, I buy organic make up, I wear all my clothes for several years and I resell them if I do no longer like them, I buy second hand whenever I can (but you know, I also like some new trends...), I always ask for fair trade clothes for my birthday and for Christmas ... and on the other hand, I order from H&M and I allow a few brands to be promoted on my blog even though they are far from fair trade, just because I really want these free clothes. Now, am I a bad person? 

I think we all have an image of the perfect self in our mind and each of these images is so different from what all the other people out there think the perfect self is. My perfect self is one which does only consume in a way which makes this world a better place (WE VOTE WITH OUR DOLLARS! Dont forget that!). Well, you know what? We ARE NOT PERFECT. None of us is. And this is also why I think it is okay not be BE the perfect self. Still, I think it is important to have the perfect self in mind so that we can question our behaviour again and again and get a little closer every day to what we think the perfect self is. Without pressure! Without feeling bad! But still critical! 

For me, this means that I told myself that is okay that I consume "in a bad way" from time to time, because a. it reminds me that I am not perfect that it is okay not to be perfect b. it reminds me that I will give my very best in other aspects of life (buying from H&M but then buying local organic food for the rest of the month) and c. it reminds me that I should treat the things I bought in a gentle and grateful way and take care of them so that they last for a long time.    

This also means that I will continue showing clothes on my blog from "bad brands" but I will also try to include more and more "good brands" (which I already do now, but I want more more more of them :))! And there is another thing I want to do:

To analyze in a more critical way what I buy and what I really love of what I buy, I want to share overviews of my purchases (clothes only). I then want to look back at these purchases after a year and see if I really liked them as much as I thought in the beginning or not. Like that I hope to think even more critcally about my behaviour as a consumer and to overthink my purchases twice. I actually got this idea from Kate, she is doing the same thing on her blog :)

Now I am really really intersted in your opinion on all of this! Since you are bloggers too, you live in a similar world - how do you think about your behaviour as a consumer? How do you make your compromises, if any? How do you choose which brands to support and which not? What is your ideal self like? I cannot wait to read your comments!


  1. Very interesting post, I have to tell that I always think about it too, but to be honest I cant feel bad about buying from "bad brands" simply because I really cant afford anything from really good and caring for workers brands... Things which are produced in Europe, not in India or China, are simply too expensive for me... I of course feel very bad for those poor people in India or China, but sometimes i wonder : what if we wouldnt buy anything from the bad firms and we would make them unemployeed, so that they woulnd even have a money for a bowl of rice? I dont know, on one hand I feel sorry for them, but on the other I think maybe its the only solution to give them a job opportinity...Im not an expert so I dont know, hard topic, but that's my opinion on that. Have a great day:))

  2. Schwierig - ich kaufe meine Sachen zumeist second hand, esse vegan, promote aber auch mal chinesische Firmen auf meinem Blog (ja, ich habe auch die gleichen Gedankengänge). Einerseits will man sich nicht zu sehr geißeln und ein schönes Leben haben, andererseits würde die Welt gleich an die Wand fahren, würden alle Erdenbürger das gleiche Recht zum Konsum fordern, das wir schon seit Jahren/Jahrzehnten für uns pachten.
    Da muss jeder selbst wissen, wieviel Kompromisse er machen kann.
    Ich habe aber das Gefühl, dass immer mehr Leute aus unserer Generation viel mehr über den Konsum nachdenken als viele davor, vor allem was die Ernährung angeht.


  3. Such a interesting post! I think it's so difficult to find a compromise, cause untill will exist this type of industries, someone who will buy from them (including myself) will always be there. The point is that these brands, such unfavorable conditions for women and men exployted by industry, should not exist at all!

  4. What a thoughtful post. I feel like this post reminds us of the thing we all try to ignore. Like we know that smoking is bad for our health, but it's just so fun and/or addicting. I'd like to think that most of us know the harms in consumerism but are hoping no one will call us out for it. I've never been one for thrifting because I feel like it is more time consuming to find what I want, and I haven't ever had any luck with it. But this past weekend I did, and it made me think about things in an entirely new way. I'll be putting a post out sometime in the future addressing this. Ultimately I think recognition is the first step. Demand for change is the second step, along with a change in behavior. But much easier said than done.

  5. Beautiful post, really interesting...thx for sharing!

  6. I think that is a really cool and interesting thing to do!! I love looking back at my blog from a year ago and seeing how much has changed since then - in your case it will be clothing, in mine it is general life haha!!

    I so want to chat to you about eating vegan. I'd love to give it a bash. Is it not terribly expensive?? What do you drink?? Besides water............. haha. I know NOTHING!! Would love a post on this for newbies like me :D
    WHERE do you buy organic makeup btw??? How do you know its organic.. have you gotten the newbie hint yet hahaha
    You fascinate me!!


  7. You do such amazing things throughout everyday life so every once in a while it is ok to do something "a little bad"
    I also love to reuse old clothing I never throw things away (unless a hole is forming)


  8. This is a tremendously important subject which you handle well. I've wrestled with the same issues myself. I reached the same conclusions you have.

    It is impossible in modern society to live an entirely pure life. We're forced to compromise. The question is how much. Also, we need to weigh the effect of our compromises against the joy we get from things (like cheap clothes). For women, clothing is HUGELY important and often a source of great happiness. That benefit can outweigh the negligible effect of our individual purchases. Yes, bad manufacturing harms the environment and workers but only on a large scale; you not buying clothes doesn't make a dent in that global system. If you buying clothes gives you pleasure, then I say do it.

    Also, if we make ourselves happy, we make ourselves strong -- and the stronger we are, the more we can fight injustice in the world. This blog-post, for example, will probably have more positive social impact than all of the clothes you ever buy. I accept my personal choices by recognizing my social activism is better and bigger because of my happiness.

  9. This is such a good post Larissa! Like you, I struggle with a lot of the same thoughts. I think I pretty much so align with you on how I approach this issue. I buy mostly organic food and beauty products. I really limit my spending too, shop a lot of secondhand and have for the most part cut out buying a lot of the fast fashion that engages in poor practices - but I do still wear the older clothing I have from these companies and I will admit that I probably don't research enough when it comes to other ones. I reuse reuse reuse and always donate if an item is in good condition. I still could do better though!

  10. Great post, Larissa. It's difficult, I know that, and it's also a very controversial theme. If everyone would buy second hand, no one would buy new ones, which lead us where? See what I mean. But I am not going to start a discussion here. I don't do collaboration with those companies and I don't buy at their website, but I suppose you already did notices it, tho, maybe you can call that my little bit of doing, dunno.

  11. Really good post dear! Totally agree with your purposes of fair trade clothes
    Kisses from lilbourne.blogspot.com.es

  12. Personally I have chosen to buy most of my clothes via thrift, vintage or consignment stores because I no longer want to be adding to this problem. But...as you mentioned, I'm not perfect either. I have one weak spot and that is Anthropologie. They always seem to lure me in with their clothing. I give myself a break on that. They're not H&M or F21. I avoid those stores now. It is a personal choice that I'm more than happy with. It has taken me years to break the habit though. It is a fine line when blogging about fashion and style without turning the large merchandising machine towards unnecessary over consumption.

    Great blog post!
    PS BTW I found you via Ally's blog : )



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