I've definitely changed the way I think about buying clothes now, I probably wouldn't have if I didn't start my position with Printed by Us. It was the research, primarily, for a few different blogs and articles on sustainability and ethical consumerism, and just knowledge gleaned from news and other spheres whilst working in the garments industry myself. That led me to a grim realisation of just how infested with exploitative business practices and ecological harms this industry really is.
I'm proud that here at least, Printed by Us, tries to do our part to lower the negative effects of our business upon our planet. Our planet, our beautiful home, is becoming increasingly more under threat sadly and ironically from the very creatures it shelters, feeds and sustains. We know what we need to do as a business to help our planet but are there any even seemingly small changes the individual can make?
I've made some changes over the years that although not in totality or very far reaching, I feel are quite realistic and attainable for most of us and our means. I buy new shoes, socks and underwear, because they go on my intimate areas and I'm a hygienically minded sort of chap. For new items when I eventually do buy them there are several companies (including ours) that I use, for everything else the internet eBay, Vinted ,charity shops etc. Many clothes especially some of the harder made ones can have the potential to last for many years and if taken care of mindfully, can look great for a long time to come.
Shopping ethically is often not the cheapest at point of sale but usually you can be more assured of quality sourcing, manufacturing and employment practices and although not always the case, you should be more reasonably confident that your garment will live longer, still looking good many years after its cheaper mass produced alternatives would have lasted.
The “Boots theory" is an interesting side note to put this into perspective from Terry Prachett’s novel, "Men at Arms". In the novel it describes a situation where one earns 38 dollars per month, a pair of well-made boots that would last for many seasons cost fifty dollars, whereas a pair of poor quality but serviceable ones cost but ten. The poor man only affording the cheaper option buys them and wears them out until inevitably the cardboard shows through the sole. He then spends a lot more money over time than the Rich man and his quality footwear, constantly replacing his used up item.
Wait, hang on literature purist, I know, but this story is meant to highlight how the rich remain richer because they don't have to spend as much money as the poor. For me though, it also highlights that sometimes buying the better boots is a vastly cheaper option in the long run, for us, and this lovely rock we call home.