Ethical Fashion / Belvele
December is one of my favourite times of the year because, Christmas.
It's a winter wonderland, cheesy movies are playing 24/7 on cable, hot chocolate is never not an option, and it's a reason to reflect on the rest of the year with loved ones.
It's also one of my least favourite times of the year.... because, Christmas. Shopping, stress, end of year, and if you live with mental illness, it's easy to feel more alone.
Growing up, the holidays were the absolute highlight of my year.
They still are. But growing older (into my *cough* 23 years of wisdom) I've become pretty overwhelmed with the whole *consumer capitalism* thing that has taken over this season. Brands attack you with sales and ads. Shopping centres are transformed into winter wonderlands of marketing. People are talking about what they bought their significant other, and what they want, and how much they're spending, and where they're ordering from...
It's fast fashion at its finest. And it's so old school, but I'd much rather not receive or give anything if it meant less stress for myself, family & friends.
Despite all the hustle & bustle, this time of year has definitely inspired me to support local, seek out slow production, sustainable, ethical brands to find some solace. It's definitely a lot easier to *talk* about than it is to *take action*, but specifically in fashion it is so important to support transparent, independent, ethical designers.
Quality and keepsake is now underrated.
It's become normalized to buy something for $15, wear it once, and then throw it away. Or donate it. Fashion is more *trendy* and cyclical than ever, because we're at the disposal of major corporations, cheap labour, and consumer mindsets. Not to say that I'm against manufacturing overseas. I still buy products from stores like Forever 21 because I'm young and don't always have the money to spend on the high quality stuff I'd prefer. I admit defeat in this. But I also do the majority of my shopping at a local consignment store. I'm conscious and critical of my choices - which I think can be just as important.
So if you're like me, and you're kind of fed up with the madness that has become Christmas shopping, I encourage you to think outside the big box stores. Take a walk downtown and support a local retailer. Order from Etsy. Search for brands that manufacture ethically, or give back to their communities. Even if just for one of gifts on your list this year. It's might mean a detour while Christmas shopping, or paying a little extra, but it's a small step in shifting the industry. Remember, you vote with your dollars.