Why I’m all for conscious consumerism

What most people think about when they hear the term, ‘conscious consumerism,’ is the sustainability aspect – buying goods that are produced in a way that causes as little harm to the earth as possible. But there’s also another important aspect of it that’s quite close to my heart – supporting small-scale artisans.

By Renee Fortune

I’ve become a bit disconcerted with notions of ‘fast food’ and ‘fast fashion’ of late, and I know many people are heading in a similar direction. Since the Third Industrial Revolution, consumerism, coupled with capitalism, propelled mass production to new heights. Literally within hours of an invention or a design being released to the market, cheaper imitations spring up all over the world and are bought en masse with little to no consideration of how it was produced, who it was produced by and under which conditions. 

My solution is literally the same adage that I’ve been hearing since I was little – quality over quantity. And for me, that means supporting small-scale artisans who produce fashion, design pieces and art that is often conscientiously handcrafted. 

Buying handmade

When I buy from these artisans I’m always interested in the history of the brand – the story behind what they do. And there are some fascinating examples – mother and daughter businesses being launched out of car boots, retirees who rediscover a talent for making things – I love those kinds of stories. I really feel like when I buy something that has been lovingly handmade, rather than something that is mass- and machine-produced, I feel like I’m investing in a person rather than a product, and that resonates with my personal philosophy of trying to give back in whichever way I can. 

For small-scale artisans, their brands are their livelihoods and it reflects in the care that they take to hone their craft and produce something of real value. I have come to appreciate and support that mentality. When given a choice between something that has been churned out by a machine in a factory and something that was beautifully crafted in someone’s garage, I’m almost sure I’ll always choose the latter. It’s a matter of ethical consumerism and I believe that every choice I make with regards to how I exercise my buying power, makes a difference. 

What are some of your favourite artisanal brands?

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