Shopping makes us happy and most of us love to pamper ourselves with something new every time we receive our paychecks (Wink if you agree) Next to that, if you are a regular social media user then you might be also aware of the current condition of our planet. Posts mentioning global warming and climate often pop up every time we open Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. In the last few weeks, the fire in Amazon forests caught everyone's attention. Okay! Now I might be confusing you because I jumped from shopping to global warming.
Well, there is a deep connection between them. What we chose to consume or refuse affects our planet directly or indirectly and that's why terms like sustainable and conscious buying are repeatedly used to bring our attention towards our impact on this planet.
When I started looking for tips to reduce my carbon footprint, shopping at a Fast fashion store topped this list of strict Don'ts. Every year the fashion industry produces 20% of the global wastewater and 10% of global carbon emission. The fast fashion industry is also responsible for Modern-day slavery, most of the garment manufacturing is done in countries like Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, China, and Thailand. In these countries; workers are made to work on minimum wages, unhygienic work environment, long work hours and in the absence of basic amenities like clean drinking water, toilets, and health insurance. In most of these factories; women are more likely to work and sometimes even child labor is involved. In 2016 Global Slavery Index released the data stating 40.3 million people worldwide were living in modern-day slavery and 71% are estimated to be women and girls. And these facts are just the tip of an iceberg, the more you google the more shocking facts will appear.
On every single day whenever I opened my social media page, there was news about how our home is melting. I have a 2-year-old son and he is going to stay longer than me on this planet. So, how can I turn a blind eye to this critical Ecological crisis? Therefore, I chose to completely boycott shopping from Fast Fashion stores and stick to ethical shopping.
Since I moved to Berlin, I have been exploring second-hand shops and flea markets to continue with my goal. Berlin has a wide range of options to buy/find used products. Therefore, boycotting fast fashion products got easier for me. Second-hand shopping has its perks, here are five advantages of thrift shopping:
The best part about shopping used products is that it goes easy on your pocket. I have managed to find denim worth 70 – 90 euros for 12- 18 euros. I buy my son's clothes at thrift stores because hey! Kids grow fast and they need something new for every season. Shopping at thrift stores has saved me a lot of money.
2) Vintage fashion
Berlin has its own vivid vibes and so does Berlin's fashion. I go gaga over incredible vintage and unique clothes whenever I find them. And if you are a person who loves Victorian, Gothic, the 70s, 80s or 90s fashion do check out some second-hand stores in Berlin.
3) Reduced Carbon footprint
It takes 7,600 liters of water to manufacture a single pair of jeans, mind-boggling isn't it? When you buy a used product, you are doing your bit towards ecological conservation. Let me throw some light on it, first you REFUSED to buy something new, which is manufactured on the cost of natural resources and carbon emission.
Second, You RECYCLE and REUSE a product for which earth secretly thanks you. Hence, just by buying a used product you were able to reduce your carbon footprint.
4) Sustainable fashion
Polyester is widely used by fast-fashion chains for the production of their products. Clothes made from polyester are often cheap and therefore more people buy them. It has become a huge threat to our ecosystem because they are not biodegradable and when they are washed in our washing machines microfibers get released and these microfibers are ending up in our oceans as well as our food chain. When you buy second-hand clothes you got this choice to go for sustainable and ethical fabrics. Thrift shops are generally decked up with a huge variety of designs and materials to choose from. Therefore, with some extra efforts, you could look for sustainable fabrics like cotton, linen or hemp.
Fashion stores, celebrities, and influencers are constantly trying to persuade us to shop more, follow the trend and don't question. They want us to spend more on clothes, therefore, cheap products, weekly latest collections, and influencers slyly advertising them on Instagram. Many of us must have bought something just because it looked good on a celebrity, fast fashion store replicated that design and made it available for us in a low price, then, in the end, it didn't even compliment our looks. Sounds familiar right! I felt free when I chose not to follow such trends and thrift shopping helped me to find my own style.
Text written by Shailja Dubey