It is that time of year again. With Labor Day weekend just around the corner to remind everyone that it is time to head back to the classroom and hit the books. Back to school came more quickly than we all expected, it seems that is always the case, isn't it? Whether you dread the back to school shopping or are excited to purchase the hottest trends for your fall wardrobe, keep in mind the impact that your consumption will have. There are countless places to find what you need to sport fashionable attire, but do some research to educate yourself before this year's back to school shopping spree.
It is no secret that you can stop into Forever21, Zara, or most any other box store and find fashion that is purported to be the craze of this fall season. That said, when you choose to spend your money here, you are supporting an industry that has a reputation of labor exploitation, environmental destruction, and encouraged consumerism. Though it may seem like a great bargain, you can get items for under $10, after all. However, you will need to repurchase that $10 item every few months, due to quality issues ranging from durability to size. The low price point of clothing and accessories in these retailers perpetuates a "fast fashion" industry that requires the consumer to repurchase often. The fast fashion industry spends impressive sums on marketing campaigns that imply you cannot wear the same outfit in an Instagram photo or to an event. Couple this preconditioning with the fact that after one or two wears the product has come apart at the seams, shrunk in the wash or has broken in some other way and what has been created is a demographic of shoppers who will keep coming back.
Though there are many ways to lead a more sustainable life, I would argue that one of the most important things that an average individual can do to make a difference is voting with his or her dollar. Recycling, reusing, carpooling, composting -- I could go on for days about all of the ways to promote sustainability and have a positive impact on our planet's environment; however, if we continue to consume at the rate we are then carbon emissions will continue to escalate. As an educated consumer you can influence the market by saving your money to purchase one quality product, made from sustainable materials, that encourages environmental awareness. By purchasing fewer, better clothing and accessories, you are taking revenue away from conglomerates that produce with only profit in mind. The actions we take now can have an incredible impact on the future of our Earth, so it is imperative we educate each other about the importance of sustainability.
This fall when you are back to school shopping, take a pause before buying that sale item in the department store because it is only $19.99 (hey, it retailed for $49.99 originally). Instead, pocket that money and save for the future. Budget yourself to ensure you are not making impulse decisions, because sales are just another marketing ploy to clear inventory and begin pushing a new product. Buy less, focus on the quality of the product, research to see if the materials are sustainable. At Swell it is our mission to change the current culture of consumption and promote a sustainable product that can have a positive impact beyond your purchase. A portion of each purchase is allocated to a scholarship fund that allows qualified students an opportunity to attend the Green School in Bali. This is a non-profit founded by John Hardy that is the most sustainable school on Earth. Through education we will truly begin to change the tides of our current culture and promote an eco-conscious future -- that is our Swell Vision.