Since I transitioned to buying more responsibly, I’ve been receiving rather forward emails from retailers. Apparently, they all miss me. Well, in moments of weakness, I miss you, too.
Sometimes, these emails come complete with little discounts to encourage another purchase. They entice with photos of sultry models wearing what I can only assume is this season’s must-have. You’re going to have to do better than that: I’ve seen The True Cost.
I know that this model of constant, compulsive buying isn’t sustainable. Not for us, not for the planet. Still, it is the model which we are fed and encouraged to use. It’s one I did use for years, and the thought of it now horrifies me. But it keeps our economy afloat – and it’s an economy based on squeezing everyone dry. Garment workers and consumers are particularly vulnerable in this respect.
It’s also come to our attention that, as we demand more and more items, the quality of those items declines. Ant why not? If we’re only going to wear something for a limited period of time before a slightly paid-down credit card allows us to make another purchase, why does anything need to be long-lasting? We’re more likely to get bored with something and want to replace it rather than wear it out and need to replace it. (As an aside, wedding dresses are beautifully made and are intended to only be worn on one special day. Also, they cost a fortune that we are quite happy to justify. How has our culture fathomed this?)
The more I think about this extremely wasteful model, the angrier I become. But these companies have created this demand because they can supply us with stuff for a profit. They have been able to sell us 52 microseasons’ worth of items because we have bought into this. Shopping addiction or no, I know that the only way I can effect change is to change my own actions. This means buying second-hand and avoiding all those companies who supply in extreme quantity from dubious sources. Even if they do miss me.