Becoming a Conscious Consumer
My goal; to be so aware of my thoughts that I do not spend without distinct purpose.
Part of on ongoing conscious consumer diary.
By Alexandra Apple
Salon owner, Hairstylist, certified colorist
3648 A Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montréal
Photo par Jacinthe Morin
I’ve always been addicted to the purge, the idea of starting fresh. Being able to curate my belongings was always a therapeutic way for me to solidify who I was and who I wanted to be. It gave me a sense of power to not be attached to things like most people were. Strangely enough, shopping never gave me that same powerful feeling. I later realized, aside from the societal conditioning, what has me shopping so frequently is either the “hunt” or the “high”.
The hunt is what I call, feeding the strange urge I get to “find something I kind of, sort of need”. It becomes a hunt because while browsing you convince yourself you need something, then you give yourself a bunch of qualities it needs to have. “It should probabaly have great reviews, be sexy casual, high quality, classic but trendy, feminin but slightly unisex, maybe vegan and ideally a zipper oh and a good deal!” Just a strange amount of qualities, so that when you finally find it you can feel like you’ve hunted the best possible item that exists for your particular “need.” Which leaves you unable to feel guilty about the purchase because even though you don’t really need it, you actually consciously were picky about it. And you invested, so you’ll never really need to shop for it again. Box ticked. (Psss! I am most definitely lying to myself about that last part)
The high is what I call a random unplanned purchase that feeds your desire for emotional support. Like literally I just purchased this Vivienne Westwood clutch for 60$ on sale from 200$ because the beautiful orange print reminded me of summer and the color was trendy, made me feel like I could channel my inner 70s cool girl. Next thing you know I was mentally at Parc Jeanne Mance with my clutch, picnicking with wine on a blanket, barefoot soaking up sun and BOOM…. my 60$ was long gone. It didn’t matter I had absolutely no need for a clutch.
It was sun in my soul though. It was also made ethically in Kenya by women so I couldn’t possibly feel bad right?
So anyway, I was purging way before Marie Kondo, I just had no method to my madness, I loved not being emotionally attached to things, but that kind of meant I also had no emotional attachment to the things I chose to keep. Which is kind of strange…why am I spending all this time and money on things I don’t even care about?
Fast forward to watching The True Cost Movie, learning about capsule wardrobes, zero waste and minimalism. It’s all inspirational summarized in a documentary or blog post but this is real life. There’s no one size fits all. It’s tempting to want to go cold turkey and just stop buying everything and anything. But I don’t want to be on a restrictive diet. I’m here to live life to the fullest which to me includes supporting businesses & people I resonate with. Consumption feels dirty when it’s unconcious. However, I am not blind to the fact that consumption also encourages artisans, service providers and ultimately can empower people. I just want to consume less with more awareness.
It’s a process, it’s not going to be linear. I want to get real with myself about what & why I buy. I also know for a fact, I am not a special snowflake, so I’m sharing to possibly awaken some of you too, to our shopping ego & it’s buying monologue.
Let’s get real- enlightened !