“It feels like forging a deeper connection to my truest values- what lies below all the other values and feeds them…and it’s really fun, too!”
That’s my drive for sustainable, conscious purchase making and second hand shopping.
These core values for me are those of honoring every human life and all of life in general. Also… not wasting perfectly fabulous things! Call me Granny B, but I am obsessed with using what is already there and would otherwise go to waste, and with keeping things out of the landfill. But I am not good at compromising on values or personal style! This goes for home goods as well as clothing.
I have an inquiring mind.
I somehow became privy to the realities of overseas clothing manufacture early in my consumer life, and the potential for hazardous and awful working conditions for workers who were also devastatingly underpaid. The clothing industry does not stand alone in this unfortunate sector. Every type of item you have in your home could have ties to forced labor or child labor.
The Martha Stewart scandal was, for me, confirmation of the sad lies hiding behind wholesome faces. There have been so many big brands outed for nasty overseas factory employment practices. Nike was another big one that happened in the 1990s. Apple is widely known for horrendous and abusive, threatening treatment of their workers these days. Yet they remain insanely popular.
I was jaded by the info I discovered about popular brands using sweatshops and forced labor, but did not know what to do!! I felt ENTRAPPED. Like society had me by the hair and gave me barely any option if I wanted to live a comfortable life.
I constantly wondered what made my comfort so damn important that other living beings needed to suffer for it. What kind of entitled privilege is that?
So I started settling- and putting these nasty realities to the back of my mind as I continued my daily life. I swear… talking to people around me about it didn’t really even occur to me until I was maybe 27 years old! I really felt alone and trapped.
I’d think about it, try to avoid some brands, but otherwise justify it through “not knowing for sure” plus the “I have no choice-it’s my society who is forcing this on me” feeling.
But I had so many questions about everything I bought!
My guess is that a majority of people know a fair amount about the possibility for human abuse in countless across seas factories and farms, but they don’t know what to do about it. It’s hard to think about, and then beyond that we feel like we don’t have other options that are affordable and realistic within our reach.
I call it CORPORATE ENTRAPMENT. It’s tough to wade through, but there are ways!
Many times if I did buy brand new I would feel like I was settling. I realized quickly that this was not a game I wanted to play.
I began to notice how long shopping for specific items takes in general when you are looking for something exact to your liking. From there, I realized that thrift store shopping doesn’t take that much more time if you know how to do it.
I have always enjoyed unique style, and quickly found it to be lacking in the general marketplace. Much more exciting to go on a a “journey through time” to some extent while you see other people’s memories as you walk past looking for the thing you want.
This is a much happier experience for me than walking through a place where everything practically is made in China, and knowing in my heart the likelihood of what that entails. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about here I am talking about child labor, long hours, dangerous factories, horrible forced living conditions, and extremely low pay as mentioned above.