I make no apologies for jumping on the moral conscious band wagon. The more I see and read about ethically conscious consumerism the more I can whole heartedly say I think it is more important than ever to be mindful about the purchases we make and the businesses in which we choose to support.
Obviously I am a small business owner so it would seem straight forward for me to state that it is important for us to show support for small businesses in favour of lining the pockets and fuelling the exploitation of these sweat shops with their mass produced production lines. I remember the first time I started to really give this some proper thought was when I heard the news on the radio about the collapse of the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh killing over 1000 garment workers. I mean before that I never really gave what I was purchasing more than a glimmer of my thought but this really made me stop in my tracks and think. What damage was all this consumerism and mass production doing to our people as well as our planet?
Maybe it was ignorance and lack of knowledge. I mean you cant give much thought to something that you are not aware of. Well now I am aware. The poor conditions these people were forced to work in is modern day slavery. Lets look also at the more recent news right here on our own door step. A well know UK big brand sports retailer were under scrutiny for their appalling work conditions and practices. What is more when this came to the forefront the man in charge of this company at first refused to face any culpability. Workers were paid well below the minimum wage and penalised for short breaks to drink water. No I am not referring to Dickensian work house days this is 21st Century stuff. Shocking.
This being brought to the forefront of the news last year at least can make us as a society more aware. Hopefully as a society we can be more morally conscious in the consumer choices that we make. Lets take a look at fast fashion, there is no denying it is bad for the planet. I see my local high street has added another charity shop, taking the total on one small street up to five. Is this a direct reflection of us becoming a more ethically conscious society? Or is it a reflection of the extreme nature of our throwaway consumer society. Are more charity shops opening in response to the vast quantities of garments and accessories which would otherwise be thrown into landfill?
Brands and consumers alike are now placing this issue high on their agenda. Corrupt supply chains are now being exposed. With modern technology and stricter government legislation it is becoming increasingly difficult to get away with corrupt and unethical manufacturing. Well-known brands which support fair trade and practice initiatives include Stella Mc Cartney Veja and H&M.
I am not claiming to be some martyr who does not buy at big brand names. But I most definitely do try where it is possible. I am an avid recycler, I try when I can to buy from market traders and small businesses and yes I will take my re-usable coffee cup with me where it is possible! If we all try to do our bit however small it all helps our planet.
I noticed the Instagram hashtag yesterday for Small Business Saturday. It was this which got me thinking a bit more and really inspired me to write this piece. Small Business Saturday is a campaign designed to encourage consumers to shop local and support small businesses within their communities. So this brings me to the question:
Why buy antique and vintage?
Affordable . It is affordable. There are some great pieces to be picked up at your local antique markets. You can haggle on the price and really pick up a bargain. Local charity shops and auctions are also great places to bag a bargain.
Satisfying & Fun. It is such a great feeling when you find a hidden gem which you know is a one off item.
Ethical Choice. Buying vintage is recycling. It is not fuelling the mass production market.
Unique. Buying vintage and antiques means you will be purchasing something that is custom made and unique. They are not produced in vast quantities.
Its Timeless. Trends are great fun but buying antique or vintage is an investment. A classic item of jewellery will stand the test of time and will increase in value.