I’ve been thinking about this opinion piece, Fast Fashion Chains Are Growing, So Give Up On Being A Conscious Shopper? by Elizabeth Cline (of Overdressed fame) since reading it a few weeks ago. The part that really got me upset, a little angry, and analyzing my own behavior is:
Fast fashion is part of a wider ideological degradation, whereby we think of ourselves and identify in every way as “consumers,” to the point that we use consumption as our primary form of protest, by consuming “responsibly.” The problem with conscious consumption as the end all and be all of resistance is that it is a symptom of our over-identification with the marketplace and, more importantly, it indicates just how much we’ve lost site of the fact that social change happens primarily OUTSIDE of the marketplace, in the realm of government, law, policy, and activism.
The thing that bothered me is that she’s saying people are not smart or caring enough to make good choices on their own, and the government has to be involved. Huff! Puff! Then I said to myself, “Eh! She’s probably right! Isn’t that why WWII rationing had to exactly be a government, law, policy, and activist endeavor? The majority of people would not have done it on their own good conscience.
Depressing! Does that mean with our spend, spend, spend to support the economy as our patriotic duty and governmental officials in the pockets of big biz American mindset there is a slim chance of government, law, and policy reforms happening? I don’t know.
The other part that got under my skin is the “using consumption as our primary form of protest” business. I do use my consumption habits as my primary form of resistance to the aspects of our culture I find abhorrent. The whole “vote with your dollars” philosophy. I feel like it’s the only power I have, but hate to think of myself as “over-identified with the marketplace” — but perhaps it’s true. I mean I am logging every. single. clothing. toiletry. and. tea. purchase.
I’d love to hear what you think — I’m just raising questions here…
image: treehugger.com Interesting stuff.