SHOPPING. Its sends a tingle of excitement through most of us. It's a lot of people's favourite past time. It used to be my favourite too. I would spend nights online shopping even though my wardrobe was literally heaving with ‘stuff’. I didn’t think I was trying to fill some sort of ‘emotional void’. I just wanted the latest trends and styles cause I thought that would make me feel ‘stylish’. This habit fuelled a growing mountain of cheap, throwaway clothing that was cluttering both my mind and my wardrobe.
One day, exasperated and mind-boggled trying to find something to wear in my bursting wardrobe, I was about to run to my computer for some retail relief, when I had a moment of “sanity” hit me. I stopped, took a deep breath and thought…Why, am I doing this? For whom? And to what end?
I am constantly bombarded with adverts, posters, and pop-ups that we all get on our phones shouting: ‘BUY ME!’. We’re brainwashed to think that we need to own the next “it coloured coat” or skinny jeans to make us feel fabulous, when in the truth- we don't need any of it. We get this kinda rush of excitement when we buy clothes, but this fleeting joy just hides the underlining issues that can grow with overconsumption.
In Annie Leonard’s book ‘Story of Stuff’ she delves into it when she said that “it’s a particular strand of consumption, where we purchase things, not to fulfil our basic needs, but to fill some voids in our lives and make social statements about ourselves.”
You might be thinking “what I buy is my business” and recoil at the slightest inkling of being lectured to. I did too. And in an almost defiant reaction to the first murmurings of being told I should buy sustainable...I went and didn’t.
But the truth is, being a shopaholic causes damage not only to our bank accounts and mental health but to the planet around us as well. Waste is a main part of the fashion industry, according to ‘common objective’. More garments are bought and discarded than ever and 57% of these go into landfills. That’s more than half of what we buy!
This throwaway mentality is seen as a norm in today’s society, so it can be a hard habit to crush. But the benefits are SO worth it.
When you think of a shopaholic you probably think of fabulously overindulgent films like Sex & the City or even someone you might know at work who is constantly surrounded by shopping bags . A lot of people might have a problem too but it’s not always this obvious and the reality is much less cute.
One day a year that sees the ugliest side of overconsumption is – BLACK FRIDAY. Hoards of consumers practically foaming at the mouth, stampede their way into stores grabbing anything they can get their hands on. One such charming shopper was caught actually snatching something out of a child's hands...lost. the. plot.
And what for? A good deal? A bargain? More junk that would clutter their homes and be discarded most likely within a year if not less?
This particular addiction is worsened by the brands that care only about their bottom line. The kinds of companies who would see consumerism continue in a straight bold one directional line. These, are not the companies we should be admiring or should be spending our hard earned cash on.
Shopping the likes of which black Friday sees can be dangerous, (and not only for those who get trampled) It can often come with side effects such as severe depression and anxiety, feelings of guilt and shame, broken relationships and damaged bank accounts. According to ‘The Guardian’ one in five women have apparently become- shopaholics.
So, this black Friday, which falls on November 29th, I would like to raise my hand and make a pledge: I AM BBF ( boycotting black Friday)
I work too hard to spend my money on things that in the great scheme of things, don’t matter. They definitely won’t help our planet either.
If you feel the same and want to start to make some more positive change, join us at LEE KLABIN by adding “I AM BBF” to your social media handles and tag us @Leeklabincouture on Instagram and @Lklabin on twitter to help us spread the healthier message of sustainable consumption.
As the great quote goes – “Be the change we want to see in the world”. And we absolutely can do it. One person at a time.
Written by Emily Boorman for LEE KLABIN