Monday, August 17, 2015

About Consumerism // The True Cost

Here comes another post about consumerism...

...I wrote a post about consumerism back in February and since this topic is still one I think of every single day, I decided to write another one. 

When I watched the movie The True Cost I came across the term "fast fashion" and I want to share a few thoughts on this term and the whole topic behind it. 


The movie The True Cost is basically a summary of why the way most of us consume, namely using clothes as disposables, is everything but sustainable. 

The main problem is our approach to fashion, to fast fashion. Too many of us buy a new dress for every party! The documentary elaborotes on the topic; on the effects of genetically modified cotton (and why 250.000 cotton farmers comitted suicide in the last years), the use of pesticides which bears the blame for thousands of disabled children in the Punjab area in India (and other areas in the world), the working conditions of garment factory workers (and beatings by bosses who resent unionization and requests for higher wages), the different collapes and fires of garment factories (with thousands of deaths), and the effect our used clothing has on the local factories in countries of the Global South (e.g. Haiti and different African countries) - since they local industry has no chance to compete with the much cheaper imported second hand clothes. 
Furthermore, the movie explains the environmental impact of the fast fashion industry (additionally to the impact of genetically modified cotton and pesticides), with emphasis on the enormous amount of trash and chemicals.

In my opinion the documentary is not very well made (chaotic, no real order, difficult to follow different arguments, difficult to understand the connections when you do not have a certani background knowledge) but it still is great food for thought and I wish everyone out there will watch it (or has already watched it!?)

At least, it made me (once again) think of my behaviour as a consumer. I am thinking about this a looooot in years already, but sometimes its good to watch a documentary like this one to remind myself why again I am thinking so much about it. Its like with me being vegan. Sometimes I just have to read a little bit on the environmental effects of eating animal products, or I have to watch a documentary on the topic, to remind myself why I am vegan and why it is the only sustainable diet. 
So this documentary certainly reminded me again, why I want (in theory) to consume less and more sustainable. 

In practice, I find this really difficult to be honest. I tried so often to stop shopping, to buy second hand only, to buy organic only, etc. but I failed, failed and failed again. I am making the My Purchases posts here on my blog to be able to analyse and criticize my shopping behaviour and to be aware of how much I buy. Well, also this did not help much so far (in contrast, in May and June I bought more than ever...). Thats why I decided to watch The True Cost - it made me set new goals once again. 

So, once again, I decided that I want to stop buying cheap clothes, that I want to buy second hand or fair trade and organic only, that I want to buy a lot less and a lot better! I stopped e.g. already a while ago to cooperate with companies like "sheinside" because this is not sustainable fashion at all.
I will continue to use my blog as a reminder to myself and I will continue with the My Purchases posts to be able to analyse and criticize my shopping behaviour. And I would LOVE TO KNOW if some of you have similar thoughts and if you want to share your experiences with me. 

Maybe we can help each other, reminding each other, posting reminder to eachother every once in a while, writing reviews on documentarys or books, sharing stories etc. We could even design a cute little button which says something like "conscious blogger" and put it on our blogs to make us become a little community (or maybe even a big community!? :)).

What do you think? Is anyone out there in? Do you have other ideas? Please share this idea with your followers and lets try to reach as many people out there as possible. We should not forget that we only have this one world to live in and I really want to see my daughter grow up in a beautiful world, not one where more than half of the world poulation is suffering and where the environment is close to collapse.

Lets change this world together :)

Sending much love!

26 comments:

  1. Great thoughts about fashion indeed...greetings!

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  2. Great post, Larissa. We all need to pay more attention to the environmental, global and social costs of our consumer purchases. Ignoring them doesn't make them go away.

    I understand how common it is among young women to buy endless numbers of new clothes. The retail system encourages it, the clothes are affordable, and consumers have the belief that this is normal. But it isn't normal. When I was growing up, not too long ago, clothes were considered permanent purchases. We only bought a few items each year and wore them repeatedly. Quality garments stood up better and longer than today's cheaply-made rags. We didn't feel deprived because we still wore what we wanted.

    I guess the best approach for today's young, if they want to explore fashion, is to (1) be conscious of how the world works, (2) shop mostly second-hand, and (3) make only occasional new purchases. It's the mindlessness that we need to guard against.

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  3. Very smart post and you wrote it in a beautiful way. Actually for the last year I mainly go shopping to second hands, cos I like to get nice, but cheap clothes:) And I try to buy a lot of products from local sellers and farmers:) I think I should see that documentary you mentioned, seems interesting. Have a lovely week, hugs:)))

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  4. Fantastic post dear! Hope you have a lovely day.

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    xoxo;
    BEAUTYEDITER.COM

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  5. Larissa, thanks for sharing this with me, and reaching out about it! I agree with what you're saying, and you make a great point, I'm only afraid I wouldn't be a great example of a "conscious blogger" ! I have been trying to shop less than ever (and I do love re-purposing/buying secondhand) but I'm afraid to say it's mostly for selfish reasons, with the conscious part being an afterthought! I do applaud you and admire you for making this a priority in your life! Eventually I would love to stop buying "fast fashion" pieces, but again, I think it's more about investing in nicer pieces as I become an adult :x I hope you still want to be friends!

    ♥ perfectly Priya

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  6. Such a great post.. The "fast fashion" is a horrible thing and I really hope that no American designers are currently implicating this form of garment making. I can tell you once I move to NYC (tomorrow!) and get my empire going.. I will speak out about this..

    XOXO
    www.kellmenow.com

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  7. Such an interesting post, I've missed a previous post! really nice attention.. I also prefer high quality fashion.
    xx
    cvetybaby.com

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  8. How thought provoking. I never knew the ramifications of cheap fashion and GM cotton. I like to buy quality and less and avoid chain stores, I do like second hand shopping too.

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  9. Nice post, WOW :) Bisous from France, Sand.

    www.taimemode-fashionblog.com

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  10. Great post and thoughts, Larissa. I already decided to stop buying cheap clothes, but for a different reasons. Anyway I gotta dash, just wanted to answer your question Larissa. The meaning of TGIF! .....Thanks God Is Friday! C ya (another one for you to figure out, hahaha) sorry can't resist to tease you.
    kisses girl
    Lenya
    FashionDreams&Lifestyle

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  11. I must say your style is very impressive! You have a fantastic blog and all the pictures are wonderful! Loved everything!

    Would you like to follow each other via bloglovin, gfc, instagram, twitter, facebook and g+? Do visit my blogs and let me know in comments where you follow and I will follow back from both my blog!


    Keep in touch
    Charu
    http://www.myglossyaffair.com/
    http://www.myfashionfootprints.com/

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  12. I'll have to watch this documentary. I buy most of mine and my family's clothes second-hand already but there's plenty of times I'm sure I'm contributing to practices that harm workers and the environment. :(

    Love that you shared this <3

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  13. Thanks for your thoughts on this. I didn't know much of that (about the cotton farmers for example). I admit to wanting to push this away because I love fashion so much. It's part of who I am and how I express myself. I always take my clothes to a resale shop or donate them when I am finished and live on a budget of $75 per month for shopping, but I admit to always wanting the next trend. It's hard to live in the balance of it all.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

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  14. Amazing sharing
    http://retromaggie.blogspot.com/

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  15. OMG great post, can't wait to read the next one!!
    Thanks a bunch for your support on my blog
    MyLyfeMyStory

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  16. Hi Rosa!!
    You're soooo right!
    I watch this video ( https://www.ted.com/talks/sebastiao_salgado_the_silent_drama_of_photography?language=en# , but now I cannot watch it anymore), and I thought....well, what am I doing in this world for this world?
    I don't buy so many things, I eat almost organic, I use car only if necessary, I planted a lot of plants....but I don't know f this is enough.....

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  17. Thank you very much for the so sweet comment. In fact the white color in addition to make it appear broader space gives a feeling of tranquility and comfort, at least in my opinion. I also love vintage elements. By the way, I identify with that kind of style. I'm really proud that you liked that my small building and you don't have to thank me because, to me, is always a taste come comment on your blog.

    I absolutely agree with everytinhg you wrote!

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    InstagramFacebook Oficial PageMiguel Gouveia / Blog Pieces Of Me :D

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  18. I do think this is an important subject, but it is not always easy to find a right solution or to make all of our purchases sensible. When I judge myself, I'm never quite sure have I done something right. For years now, I have been shopping very modestly when it comes to clothes, buying only a few items a year and relying on inherited clothes, vintage finds from my mother, granny ana aunts and so on. To be honest, I think this is not only because of sustainable part but because I like to have clothes that are unique. There is often a lot of DIY involved in my style, so I think that helps me keep my purchases sensible, because when I get tired of one garmet or it doesn't fit, I alter it.

    I do buy shoes very often but I justify that by the fact that I don't drive and that I have to walk everywhere ( I live in small town so I really don't have a need of a car of my own, my husband has a car and I feel that is enough)... On another hand, I have accepted clothes from sposors a few times and I can't be entirely sure these companies do their bussiness ethically...so perhaps that was not a very ethical decision on my part...but at the same time, I still prefer them to European/USA brands who falsely adverize themselves as ethical but are in fact guilty of the worst kind of work abuse and pollustion (Zara, H&M, Deichman...pretty much all of them if all those documentaries I have seen are true)

    I see another problem...People sometimes think if they buy an expenssive product, that it means that is produced ethically but it is not so. Often expenssive clothes is made by some poor child or a worker and the brands are those that put all the money in thei pocket...and that is what is confusing, but we need to remember that all designer items also can be made unethically and in a non sustanable way. Just because it is designer, doesn't mean that famous designer sewed them by hand.

    I think it is always a good startegy to buy local, that way it is easier to check if a company is legite. Being from local artisans and even employing someone to make something for us is a great way to help some person make a living and at the same time gets something unique.

    Consumerism is a part of our world but slowly I do believe changes can and will be made. Nobody is perfect when it comes to buying stuff because we don't have absolute control or knowledge about what is at the market, but it is important that we care....and if a large amount of people starts to change their attitude about clothes than some changes can really be made.

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  19. sorry I'm a bit late with my response but I'm without laptop at the moment.

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  20. I had a dilemma about this a couple months ago when I stumbled upon a documentary about child labor, and how most of the cheap clothes we drool over at shops like Forever 21 were made by child laborers. It really struck me because I don't often think of where my clothes come from, and I naïvely assume they were made by fairly paid adult workers, or machines. It definitely made me change the way I think about shopping for clothes. However, it can be very hard to pass up such affordable clothing when I don't always have enough to spend on more expensive ethically made clothing. I definitely want to research places to buy ethically made clothes and make more of an effort to buy only from them! Great post!

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  21. Thank you for this honest and thought provoking post. I was very troubled when I saw this documentary and it has definitely changed some of my habits as a consumer! Great job on giving your readers such valuable information and a different perspective of the reality of the fashion world.

    Kisses,

    (='.'=)
    -Lauren
    adorn la femme

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  22. Liebe Larissa, Du hast so recht! Ich denke über dieses Thema nämlich auch sehr oft nach und freue mich wenigstens etwas, dass ich mir nicht nur wesentlich weniger kaufe sondern auch, dass meine Sachen von unserer Tochter "weitergetragen" werden und dass ich einiges verkaufen/verschenken kann. Tatsächlich habe ich mittlerweile einige Sachen in meinem Schrank, die ich schon über Jahre besitze und ich kaufe wie Du liebend gerne Second Hand Mode. Danke, dass Du diesen Film hier vorstellst und ja, es sollten ihn so viele Menschen wie möglich sehen. Ich denke nur, Du bist in der Hinsicht eh auch schon vorbildlich, da Du Deine Sachen nicht nur trägst, sondern auch viel im Second Hand Shop besorgst.
    Liebe Grüße von Rena
    www.dressedwithsoul.com

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  23. That is such an interesting topic! Unfortunately we leave in a society that encourages us to shop. Big companies that have money do everything to make us shop, even the world of fashion bloggers seems to be owned by these companies now. All we can do now is fight that on our own. Every one of us has to set higher priorities to ourselves than just shopping and spending money. Even in terms of fashion: instead of buying a new dress for a new event - why not wear something you already own, but styling it in a new way?
    Thank you so much for such an interesting post!

    http://againstandforward.blogspot.com

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