Many of us consume A LOT of stuff – clothes, beauty products & accessories.
We buy it, wear it or use it only a handful of times (if that) and then throw it out either because we don’t wear it, don’t love it anymore or it’s broken, worn, or of poor quality.
When I was in University, I was all about consuming fast fashion – that is, purchasing cheaper garments that were “on trend” styles that I could wear for a couple of seasons and then dispose of.
This was for two reasons: because I had little money at the time, and because I was wanting to buy as much as I could to have as many outfit options as I could. I was also unaware of the fast fashion movement and the negative impact it is having on our planet.
Today, I definitely prefer to purchase quality over quantity when it comes to buying clothing. Not only because I know that the quality products will last, but also because I am more conscious about waste and the conscious consumerism movement.
Having access to low cost, low-quality garments means we are buying and disposing of more clothing than ever.
Today we purchase over 80 billion pieces of new clothing each year. That’s 400% more than what we bought just 2 decades ago. The way we buy clothes has changed so much and so quickly, that many people don’t realise this massive increase in consumption and the impact it is having.
What is Conscious Consumerism?
Conscious consumerism is a movement whereby people seek out ways to make positive decisions about what to buy. Shoppers look to purchase products that are more environmentally friendly, are ethically made and produced, and in some instances driven towards generating community impact.
From the research I have done before writing this post and in particular, research surrounding the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh (which housed five garment factories that manufactured goods for major retail companies) which saw more than 1,100 people killed and thousands of others injured, I’ve learnt a lot of frightening statistics about the fast fashion industry.
This was the worst garment disaster incident to ever happen. The structure was unsafe, which management was aware of, yet employees were forced to continue to work there. They also earn’t just $2 a day…
Cutting corners and disregarding safety measures in order to keep up with this style of fast fashion is something that is now part of this new model.
The year following the disaster was also the industries most profitable of all time too.
It shouldn’t be like that.
What is Rebel Muse doing to change the way we view and consume fast fashion?
Since opening Rebel Muse two and a half years ago, Managing Director Alicia has learnt a lot about the damaging impact the fashion industry has on society and the environment.
Over the past twelve months, Alicia has been working on reshaping Rebel Muse to turn it into a conscious fashion retail outlet.
She believes in slow fashion. That the creatives and designers of the brands that Rebel Muse stock are extremely talented and all bring something individual to the table. That the fabric developers, manufactures and the whole supply chain deserve a fair wage and work standard.
Paying more for quality and owning less – however owning something that is ethically made and produced and directly supports those in the supply chain is what Alicia supports, and is something that I myself am beginning to become more aware of when making my shopping choices too.
So, what changes is Rebel Muse making to support this?
- They are increasing the number of Australian Made brands and Ethically Accredited brands they stock;
- They ensure that a majority of their products are made from natural fibres such as cotton and organic cotton, silk, linen as well as recycled polyesters;
- They provide transparency about their brands on their website and in store. This informs customers where products have been manufactured; and
- They provide information and articles on their blog which are super informative about the impact the fashion industry has on society and the environment.
When speaking to Alicia about this topic, we discussed that changing the way boutiques make these positive steps towards change in the industry, isn’t just something that happens overnight.
Rebel Muse is on a journey to change the way people consume fashion. It’s a journey that doesn’t have an end point, but is something that will continuously be improved over time.
The collections that you will find in Rebel Muse are bought six months before the product hits the shelves. As none of the brands they stock are fast fashion, the whole design process from concept to selling can take around 12 months for most of the designers.
Although some of the brands that Rebel Muse stocks don’t align with their values anymore, it is just not viable for Alicia to remove these brands straight away, as it would prove to be a significant loss of sales for her business. Over time, Alicia hopes to replace these brands with new ones that do align with her values and still provide the same offering to her customers.
The reason why I have partnered with Rebel Muse on this post is because I want to start to make people more aware of what they are consuming and where it comes from. I want people to start doing their research on brands that they like to wear, and to think about whether it is right for them to still consume it.
I encourage you all to support retailers and boutiques like Rebel Muse who are making a positive change in the industry. Let’s all be more mindful of what we are wearing and how we make our shopping choices.