How Asking “Why?” Before You Buy Can Change Everything
Our guest blogger Kaitlin Pettersen talks to Nu. about her journey to sustainable fashion and her brand new podcast series - Ethical Chain.
On each episode of the Ethical Chain podcast (including Episode 1, “A Conversation with Nu. Ethical”) I close with a call to action for listeners to ask “Why?” before they buy. I do this because it encapsulates the tenants of the ethical fashion and zero waste movements nicely, it’s pretty damn catchy and it’s changed everything for me, and I believe it can for you too.
The list of reasons to care about #WhoMadeMyClothes, the impact the fashion industry is having on the environment and the need to reduce our waste continues to grow. Whether it’s because you believe that the working conditions for garment workers (90% of which are women) and their lack of a living wage is unacceptable, the fact that the garment industry is the 2nd largest polluter of our earth after oil or you’re just stressed out and sick of the amount of stuff you’re surrounded by in your home and where it all goes when you dump it in the bin - adopting a habit of pausing and asking yourself “Why?” before you pull out your wallet is the easiest way to make a change.
Perhaps the end result is the same and you’ll walk away feeling great with your latest purchase but perhaps you won’t, perhaps this time you’ll instead decide to opt for an alternative more ethically made option or you’ll realize the item in hand won’t bring you joy and move on with your day.
My Journey to Sustainable Fashion
Like many people that wander their way into the sustainability movement, I have been guilty in my life of mindless consumption and believe it’s an ongoing journey of improvements. I’ve bought fast fashion clothing, I’ve been pressured into a purchase I know I’ll never wear more than a few times, I know nothing about who made my winter coat and the impact making it had on their lives, my groceries are covered in too much plastic and my composting skills are an eternal work in progress.
That said, I’m committed to making changes all the time to improve the impact my life has on the people and places of planet Earth and asking myself “Why?” before spending my money has created a huge amount of positive change in my life. I have less stuff, I feel better about myself and my impact, I have fun and meaningful conversations with friends and family about these topics and in an increasingly wild wild world, this is wonderfully easy place to start.
I’m continually amazed at the growing volume of brands and people popping up with creative, innovative and cool solutions to make it easier for consumers to shop ethically and reduce the amount of waste they’re creating. My hope in bringing them together for 30 minutes on a podcast to muse on such matters is that their messages will inspire change and make it easy for listeners to get excited about this change.
I recently had the great fortune of interviewing the inspiring women of Nu. You can listen in to learn more about the sharing economy, how you can get involved in sustainability locally in Dublin or abroad, what perceived obsolescence is and what the inspiring women of Nu. are doing to make the world a better place. I’ll continue to interview luminaries across the ethical goods and zero waste movements and hope their messages will inspire you to ask “Why?” the next time you buy, trust me...it can change everything.