When I started the Slow Fashion Journey series, I really did think I would have more to write about. Going off of my previous shopping habits, I assumed that I would be buying at least a few things each month, as I always have. But as it turns out, I was wrong. I made it through the last few months of winter without buying more sweaters, and through all of spring without needing to buy more clothes. And now, summer is just around the corner and as I think about my wardrobe, there’s really nothing I “need”, and only a few pieces that I truly “want” and may end up buying.
So it turns out that, for me at least, the easiest, most effective way of becoming a conscious consumer is to simply stop shopping all together. And to be honest, can’t we all just pause for a second and not shop and buy just for the sake of shopping and buying? Seriously, it’s not as difficult as you might think.
Anyways, here’s my summary for the past 3 months:
Total Items: 2
Total Spending: $81.33
This brings me to about $230 spent on clothes since January, on 5 items.
Both purchases were out of necessity – I needed new pantyhose, as well as new black flat shoes, for work. I wrote a little bit about the environmental effects of pantyhose, as well as about who makes them, in the February post, but when it came to finding shoes, I faced a similar problem that I had in January as well – shoe shopping online.
I didn’t even really try buying anything online because when your current work shoes have a quickly-growing hole above your right toe, doing the research and waiting for it to arrive is not really a priority. When they arrive, who knows if they will actually be comfortable enough to walk around in for up to 10 hours without giving you blisters. My old shoes managed to stand up to the comfort test, cost me about $20 and lasted an entire year of cobblestone floor abuse. However, they were basically a cheap knockoff of TOMS shoes, which I can say with almost 100% certainty were not made ethically, and so this time around I decided that my best bet was to go for the real deal.
For those of you have somehow managed to not hear about TOMS shoes since their conception in 2006, it’s a shoe company that stood out by giving a pair of their shoes to a child in need for ever pair they sold. To date, they’ve given over 60 million pair of shoes to children in over 70 countries. Their business model has inspired many other both existing companies and startups to incorporate a similar idea into their own business.
(Side note: TOMS was a major source of inspiration for Tyler Clinton, founder of YOUWE. Read my interview with him and learn more about his journey here.)
As wonderful of an idea and gesture as it is, giving can only do so much good. TOMS does have a corporate responsibility page on their website, but according to Project JUST (an online directory that allows you to search brands and read a quick and easily digestible report on their transparency, impact on the environment and labor conditions, among other things – read my post on it here), TOMS has a lack of transparency with it’s customers when it comes to telling them where their shoes are coming from in the first place. For all the details, read their Project JUST page.
This goes to show just how difficult it can be to really know what a company is up to. Most large brands have some sort of “corporate responsibility” page that has lots of beautiful words about striving toward positive social impact and environmental consciousness. But if they don’t tell us exactly how they’re doing it, those words barely mean anything. I’m not saying this means they aren’t truly making awesome changes in their supply chain – but it doesn’t really mean they are, either.
Almost half a year into my slow fashion journey, I’ve bought things only out of necessity and have tried my best to shop responsibly. If you’re also challenging yourself to be a more conscious buyer, I’d love to hear from you!