Conscious consumerism – how lockdown has made us think twice

By Ella Bardoe - Fashion and Lifestyle Writer 

Like many people, I have utilised the time spent in lockdown to question daily spending habits, realised that I can cope with not visiting the hairdresser for a few months, found out that you can never have too much banana bread and how helping to clear up the environment through my love of fashion is now my number one priority.

According to the UN, the clothing industry emits more greenhouse gases than all the world’s planes and ships, and 80 per cent of their emissions stem from producing the clothes. The shock of finding this out really overwhelmed me, but I couldn’t think how little old me could help drive change.

I began clearing out my old wardrobe back when Boris announced lockdown and I quickly started to realise just how many thoughtless purchases I’ve made over the last year. A few tops one week and a dress and a pair of jeans the next. It all adds up. And the sad part is they’re not even the items I reach for. Now I question everything. Because on average 7,500 litres of water is required to make 1 pair of jeans, equivalent to the amount of water the average person drinks over a period of seven years.

Fast and disposable fashion is a major cause of both environmental and humanitarian issues, but this can feel overwhelming when trying to ‘do your bit’ at a localised scale, especially in the face of value. This is why pre-loved items really are the way forward. By their nature, they are reducing the environmental impact of clothing, proving that fashion can be sustainable and stylish whilst remaining affordable and accessible to all.

Charity shops are leading the way towards conscious consumerism. Last year DEBRA recycled nearly 1 million tonnes of textiles that would have otherwise ended up in landfill. An incredible achievement for a charity with just 120 stores across the UK. This highlights the vital role charities can play in reducing clothing disposals to landfills by giving clothes, accessories and homewares the opportunity of a new lease of life.

It’s worth visiting a charity shop for the shopping experience alone. Having volunteers running the shops calls for a refreshingly friendly and upbeat shopping experience, making it incredibly hard not to want to return for a dose of the infectious positive energy. The impact of charity shops proves just how vital they are to our communities, especially in a post-Covid world, and reminds us how we must all continue to support them. Lockdown really has reaffirmed for me why I want to be a loud and proud conscious consumer. What about you?

Have you been clearing your wardrobes in lockdown? Donate to your local DEBRA charity shop.