This year has been an emotional rollercoaster that I’m sure we can’t wait to get off of. However, this year was not all bad. We have given up some sense of complacency and went out on marches, we pledged, we signed petitions, we donated and started to ask ourselves thought provoking questions! And it was about time.
This year as a community, Our voices and actions were loud. Never again can we go back to thinking that our voice or our goals will go unheard, especially when it matters, but as a consumer I realized that without intending to, I’ve been I’ve been buying from big brands mindlessly. I haven’t gone searching for diverse, sustainable or mission oriented products, but instead I’ve been scrolling and shopping with my eyes only.
We often hear the expression “vote with your dollar” for individual consumers. However, recently it’s been the big stores “voting with their dollar” and taking the 15% pledge to have 15% of their shelf space dedicated to Black Owned Businesses as well as other big brands making changes for sustainability like Fashion Revolution. It should not just be that we have to wait for all brands to jump on board to this way of thinking and instead we should acknowledge the power that we have in these big shifts too. We have the power to create change in every purchase while we tell brands how to understand their consumer and not have brands continue to tell us what we want.
The first thing that comes to most minds is sustainable fashion, however there are more ways then one that we can “vote with our dollar”.
Purchase – because of their mission
There are many companies that already adjusted their company’s culture and found ways to give back while still making a profit.
For example, the Company Good Days which is a wellness company driven in experience started the Home Alone Collective during Covid and are selling art prints to benefit Family Promise and Black Table Arts for Covid and BLM funds. Buying an art print here can be one way you vote with your dollar. Learn about artists perspective on quarantine and buy art to support artists, BLM and Homelessness that Covid has effected even more.
Purchase – because of who they are
With Instagram shoving ads in our face as we scroll, we can easily not search ourselves and just allow ads to be how we shop. We need to stop this cycle and make sure that our shelves look like the 15% pledge. It matters who we purchase from. Would you want to support small businesses? Female entrepreneurs? Black owned businesses? There are many “fair” companies that could use your support, make sure you you don’t miss them and put your money where your mouth is!
Big Companies like Sephora, West Elm, Vogue and smaller companies like Chillhouse took this pledge to have 15% more black owned businesses on their shelf. Purchasing one of their products could be a way you show your support and your desire for change.
Purchase – because of their company practices
Many fashion brands look to sustainability as their ethos and by purchasing their product, we are showing that we believe in this ethos as well and encourage other brands to do the same by showing their efforts are working and their consumers are buying. Companies practicing sustainability are looking to put an end to hazardous chemicals, shorten their water usage, waste, and create a shift in their agriculture sustainability.
Companies like Everlane or Levi’s practice transparency and water usage, while Mercari practices sustainable shopping by being able to re-purchase from other people’s closets while Manduka and Athleta practice sustainability by sourcing ethical fabrics.
This year is about changing OUR ways and to wake up and realize that we have power through our actions, words and purchases. Write to the brands you love to let them know you’d wish they changed their policies, write to the policy makers themselves and purchase after you ask yourself the big questions and not before. We can ignite the change we want to see instead of just waiting around till the big brands take the lead.