Building a mindful fashion consumer mindset

Building a mindful fashion consumer mindset

A lot of people into fashion would want to cultivate a mindful consumer mindset and break some non-sustainable behaviours. The problem is, very few do something about it. We expect change just to happen. 

For a long time, I’ve wanted to be more conscious about the clothes I was buying and to do what I was saying I would do. In other words, I wanted to live my life according to what I believed in. So I started small, building better habits, challenging myself, creating a favorable environment for my habits and reflecting on my values. Here are my steps in detail:

Start small

The writer James Clear talks about atomic habits, in his book with the same name, and how powerful they can be in the long run. He highlights the importance of starting small when building any kind of habit. So instead of promising yourself that you’re never gonna enter in a fast fashion store, instead commit to not visiting any fast fashion retailer for a week. Then celebrate those small wins, because this is what is gonna motivate yourself to reach the bigger goal. Every time I would have resisted to buy an item I congratulated myself with a Kindle book for example.

Commit to challenges

Practicing mindful consumption can be overwhelming. It takes a lot of energy to change a consumption pattern. But when you create a challenge such as buying one item per month, it can be much fun. I made this commitment when I started this journey. So whenever I was tempted to buy something, I would’ve asked myself if this was the best option I could get.  Then I would have spent a lot of time researching online for eco brands to find things that suit my own personal style. 
Reading every day an article or listening to a podcast about sustainable and ethical fashion was another commitment. In the beginning, I couldn’t feel that all this information is helping me in any way, but with the time, those tiny articles, helped me to understand why this matters to me so much. Knowledge plays a big role in understanding why you’re are choosing to change.  I’m talking about environmental knowledge, the ecology of the planet, ethics in business, fair wages in the fashion industry, consumer psychology, psychological affections in the fashion industry, minimalism, consumerism. And it´s true that knowledge doesn’t always translate into action, that’s why the next steps are so important.

Create favourable context

Many of our consumption behaviours are responses to circumstances, and the great part is that they can be orchestrated and controlled by us. The key is to be aware of the context in which you are tempted to buy cheap clothes. Meeting a friend for shopping at the mall? Or after watching a blogger on Instagram that is changing her outfit every single day, and then this makes you feel uncomfortable with what you already have. Just create environments that support your new behaviour and rejects the old one. Maybe you unfollow that blogger or unsubscribe to that newsletter full of 90% promotions. And go to a ´meetup´ instead where like-minded people gather to discuss topis such as sustainable fashion. Start to follow fashion activists that are making great things within the fashion industry, read their blogs, buy their books and go to their courses. 
You also need to think about people you surround yourself with. We pick up the habits of people that are around us. If you’re in an environment where you’re friends think is normal to go at the mall every week to buy new things, it’s less probable that you will ever be a conscious consumer. And don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to judge your friends, but if they will support your decision to change and maybe embark with you in this journey is great, and if they don’t , you better think about being friends with them. 

Reflect on your values

 ¨Like mindfulness itself, mindful consumption is as simple in theory as it is difficult in practice. It asks that we seriously examine the motivations and the implications for our every purchase. It implores us to be honest with ourselves about what we need, as opposed to what we want. And it requires that we investigate the underlying causes and conditions behind each item we buy, each good we consume, and each service we request, according to B Lab, a nonprofit that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good.

Do you know what values are guiding your way of living? Are you altruistic, moral, concerns with the environment, believe in fair-trade, fair wages? Does the fashion brands that you’re currently wearing reflect not only your personal aesthetic but also your values? This is an exercise of getting to know yourself. I know for sure that what I was spending my money on, was not a reflection of what I valued. So in order to change, every time I was thinking about buying clothes I would’ve asked myself: what would a conscious consumer do in this situation? I embraced the identity of a conscious consumer and I started to act like one. 

I will leave you with my favourite list of articles, podcasts, and documentaries that helped me build my mindful consumer mindset:

Conscious consumption 

Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard on Mindful Consumption, David Gelles

Four Foolproof Sustainable Fashion Tips to Help You Build a More Ethical Wardrobe, Aaron Howes

These Sustainable Fashion Experts Have Tips On Shopping Ethically Learn how to be a mindful consumer, Jenna Igneri

How I Invest For The Future, Emma Elwin 

Eco-Friendly brands recommendation

Week Of Outfits Series: A Week Of Super-Chill Conscious Fashion With Isadora Alvarez, Founder Of Back Beat Rags

Sustainable Streetwear | Satta Are Changing the Face of Travel-Focused Fashion, Josh Baines

5 Sustainable Streetwear Brands That Are Eco-Friendly & CozyEsiwahomi Ozemebhoya, Esiwahomi Ozemebhoya

A guide to sustainable streetwear labels, Acclaim, Sabina McKenna, Sabina McKenna

Podcasts 

Episode 083:  Master Habit Change, Matt D’Avella

Podcast Ep. 63, FIGHTING FASHION WASTE – REDRESS’S CHRISTINA DEAN, hosted by Claire Press

Documentaries

A documentary about the next generation game changers showing the power of connection, Chanel Trapman

Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things

 Eco friendly fibres

CONVENTIONAL COTTON SUCKS, Sefton Eisenhart

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