I still remember how thrilled I was, standing in the queue, waiting to try on the premium collection of Burberrys. I had finally found an outfit that resembled Cate Blanchett’s wardrobe style in Ocean’s 8 (The movie with eight sensational women on a heist). To my surprise, it was on sale! My shopping mojo had reached its peak. I came home with the latest limited-editions for almost half of its original price.
A few days later, I was shortlisted for an internship, which was unexpected because I knew the other person who had applied for it was really into fashion. I, on the other hand, considered myself more of an enthusiast than a die hard fashion fanatic. Like any other job interview, I went through their website to find out more about this business. They were an ethical fashion marketplace who dealt with sustainable and ethically made brands…only. I spent some time reading the blogs on their website and, found myself standing in front of my “not so huge” wardrobe, troubled. I realised I had more clothes than my wardrobe could hold. Few of which I hardly wore. Some still with their tags on it. And I suddenly became distinctly aware of my “shopping beast” ways where I would consume without thought of the consequences of such consumption.
The interview was the turning point of my notion of fashion. When their director asked me if I had any questions, I recalled the Bangladesh factory collapse in 2013 and asked, “I will be working for an ethical fashion brand. Is it okay if I wear garments that lead to a fall of a tree in the forest or exploitation of laborers because sustainable clothes can be expensive and being a student means buying everything in bulk?”
Their response was one of kindness and compassion, saying that going home and throwing out all of my non-ethical clothes would be just as damaging. There was nothing to be done about past purchases, but there was a lot I could do about future purchases.
Since that very moment, I was unable to go shopping for the sake of it. After a couple of months, I needed a white formal shirt for my graduation photoshoot, and I thought I’d find a cheap one in H&M. But I couldn’t bring myself to buy the shirt because I was not in need of it. I just wanted it because it would match the gown and my roomie and I could twin. Not a reasonable excuse to exploit the workers in the supply chain and harm the environment.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, the company that interviewed me was Thread Harvest and I cannot be more grateful to them for giving me the opportunity to view fashion from a different perspective. This business, and the team, have taught me the importance of being a conscious consumer and shopping ethically.
Believe it or not, I haven’t shopped for a long time. Instead of reaching for the retail hit, I’m reaching for clothes that I haven’t worn in a long time, and loving rediscovering some beautiful pieces! And they were right, my future purchases are where the real change can be made. Just recently I needed gloves for winter, and I found myself automatically picking the ones that are certified as organic. My transition to “Conscious Freak” I feel is complete and I love how my values have evolved and come into alignment.