Slow Fashion: Using Consumerism for Conservation

Did you know that you can turn your consumer power into the power to help conserve our environment? The fast fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. The goal of fast fashion is to produce designs quickly at a low cost to satisfy quickly changing trends and consumer demands. This model encourages consumption over enjoyment and contentment with your purchases, because almost as soon as you buy one item the company has come out with a new design or the cheap item has broken. Beyond the costs to our peace and our wallets, the fast fashion industry has devastating effects on the environment. These include: clothing dyes and chemicals which end up in our waterways, carbon emissions to produce such large quantities of product, the waste created when fashion is made cheaply and disposed of regularly, and more. Read, Waste Couture: Environmental Impact of the Clothing Industry for more information on the environmental costs of the fast fashion industry.

This is why more designers and consumers alike have been gravitating to slow fashion, a system that creates products more slowly and sustainably. These item are often, but not always, produced in the USA, Europe, or Canada, and buying local is part of this movement because it reduces carbon emissions of goods traveling far distances like large freight ships running between Asian and the USA. Beyond the environmental benefits of slow fashion, shifting from a trend-focused anxiety laden consumer mindset to one focused on quality and that truly makes you happy and adds value to your life can help bring a sense of peace and calm

Only very recently have we had so many options to choose from, think of our ancestors hunting and gathering millions or even 30,000 years ago, there were only one or two berries or roots available at a given time to gather, only a certain area to hunt a specific animal, only a few places from which to obtain water, even only a handful of mates from which to choose. That means for millions of years we have evolved with relatively few choices, and this new era of so many options can leave us anxious, confused, and without the ability to know what the impacts of our decisions are. But slow fashion is an attempt to be kind to ourselves and our environment by bringing us back to a more natural and thoughtful mode of hunting and gathering, because what is shopping but modern hunting and gathering.

At Insect Diva we provide a slow fashion shopping experience for jewelry inspired by nature and even made with upcycled items from the natural world like flowers. Our boutique is stocked with some of our staple consistent sellers along with limited edition made to order pieces. These limited edition designs allow our customers to tell us what they want, instead of making new products and convincing customers that they want what we already have in stock. In this way we can significantly cut down on waste in our own production as well as try to cut down on waste from the typical fast fashion problem of customers throwing away items bought which they did not really want.

Additionally, being able to fund hands-on conservation projects through purchases from Insect Diva is a passion of mine. I grew up during the 90s at a time when the media and local communities empowered people to assume personal responsibility for taking care of our environment. Lately however doing hands on conservation has increasingly gone out of style and has been replaced by merely “spreading awareness” about conservation or expecting politicians to protect our environment for us. Unfortunately this not only leaves us disconnected from nature, but it also leaves nature disconnected from the powerful impacts that individuals can have through practices like habitat restoration, gardening for pollinator conservation, and using consumer power to help our environment. We all have an incredible power to help the environment as consumers through practices like 1) buying locally produced or conservation conscious products, 2) purchasing reusable instead of single use items (e.g. reusable shopping bags and water bottles), 3) investing in recycled or upcycled items (e.g. shopping at thrift stores and for products made from recycled or upcycled items), and simply 4) consuming less (the easiest way to do this is through investing in quality items that will last a long time instead of trendy poorly made items prone to quickly falling apart). With so many 90s trends coming back, I think we should bring back the 90s trend of personal responsibility in conserving our world. 

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