Do You Want To Save The World? Then Stop Buying Crap.

3 December 2017

Stella McCartney made headlines this week when she stepped up on stage at the Victoria and Albert Museum to condemn her industry as being “incredibly wasteful and harmful to the environment.” She went on to demand significant changes in the way we produce and use clothes. Amen. It’s about time.

The designer joined forces with Dame Ellen MacArthur, a record-breaking sailor and environmentalist who became concerned with the rapidly depreciating state of the environment while sailing around the world. Upon returning home, she immediately set up the MacArthur Foundation in an effort to address this alarming issue.

The report published on Tuesday by the MacArthur Foundation revealed that this industry us shopping addicts love and support creates greenhouse emissions of 1.2bn tons per year, more than international flights and shipping combined. Ugh.

The solution offered by the foundation and endorsed by Stella McCartney has a four-point plan:

  1. phasing out substances of concern to the environment
  2. radically improving recycling
  3. using renewable resources with fewer damaging processes
  4. increasing the utilization of garments

While most of us are not industry insiders and can do little to change the way clothes are designed and produced, we can all become more conscious consumers by delivering on that final point: increasing the utilization of garments. I was personally shocked to read in the report that on average people wear an item only three times after purchase. Wait… what?! How is this even possible? Blame my frugal upbringing in a communist country, but I find this completely unacceptable and wildly upsetting. This is beyond wasteful for our environment and for our own wallets—it’s not in our world’s best interest or even our own selfish best interest!

As your Shopping Spirit Guide, I feel it is my duty to not only guide you through the myriad NYC sample sales, but also to help you become that shopping extraordinaire that makes only sensible purchases. Here is The Stylish City’s six-point plan to help you achieve that state of closet nirvana:

  1. Know your closet. I hate to admit it, but even I get surprised sometimes by the things that emerge (or perhaps, never emerge) from my closet. My resolutions for next year include a rigorous inventory of my closets. Yes, I have more than one. Don’t hate me—I am still learning to be a conscious consumer, too.
  2. Buy only good quality stuff. A good friend told me recently, “I am too poor to buy crap.” No matter your definition of “poor,” aren’t we all too poor to buy crap? Because what he’s really saying is: “I’m too poor to be wasteful.” And considering our current predicament, there’s honestly nothing anyone could ever do to afford to be wasteful.
  3. A bargain is a bargain only if you use it. I actually mentally perform ROIs on my purchases and I have concluded that despite being a bargain connoisseur, sometimes buying full priced items is cheaper in the long run… if the life of those items is longer and more productive than an item that was a “bargain.”
  4. Wait. And then wait more. I know sometimes it’s hard, but don’t make impulse purchases. Impulse buys are born from the part of your brain that screams, “Oooh! SHINY!” Not the part rooted in wisdom, logic, and intuition.
  5. There is no such thing as “retail therapy.” That’s just an intelligent marketing ploy  they want you to invest in. Spending money on pretty things will never fix your unrelated problems. Chances are that next morning you’ll feel worst.
  6. Buy things that complement items you already have. If you buy one item that is “completely adorable” but doesn’t work with anything you have, you’ll end up spending a lot more to create a new look.

Now… where to test this new strategy? Next week’s sample sales, of course. There are so many of them, we stopped counting at 50. These extra temptations plus the holiday frenzy makes us feel entitled to spend money—kind of like when we go on vacation and feel like we’re spending Monopoly money… so be wary of that in honor of our six-point plan!

From $200 Italian coats at Cinzia Rocca Warehouse Sale to sterling silver jewelry with semi-precious gemstones and natural fiber textiles at below wholesale price (best place to buy a gift) at Paz Collective Holiday Sample Sale, or everything clothing or footwear at Tory Burch Sample Sale to socialite-worthy handbags at Nancy Gonzales Sample Sale, you can literally buy everything this week at one of these sample sales. But remember: with this much power comes great responsibility. Are you ready to venture into the belly of the beast (retail insanity) as a serious sensible shopper with love for your wallet and the environment?

We hope so.

We believe in you.

Happy shopping!

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Posted by Staff Writer at 12:35 PM
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