The idea of consumerism dates back to the 1930’s and is widely credited to a man named Ernest Elmo Calkins, an advertising mogul as we’d call him today, who said “To make people buy more goods it is necessary to displace what they already have, still useful, but outdated, old-fashioned, obsolete.” As a result we have become a nation of professional over consumers, allowing fast fashion retailers to continue to strengthen their grip on the industry for over twenty years.
Marketing plays such a key role in moulding our behaviour towards fashion and now more than ever we have constant exposure to advertising with the prevalence of social media. We have been trained to believe that happiness comes from stuff, so much so that the idea we will be happier if we own that particular thing is in most cases a subconscious effect. Retail therapy anyone?! The combination of marketing and consumerism gives fast fashion retailers a fool proof business model centred around planned obsolescence.
“The world now consumes about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year. This is 400% more than the amount we consumed just two decades ago.” - Livia Firth, Creative Director of Eco-Age
It seems as a society we are in the middle of an identity crisis with our constant desire for change. We have an instilled fear of missing out or not fitting in and can't seem to commit to one look. We need to find ourselves. Consumerism is so much a part of our culture that it has become the first necessary change to ensure a more ethical and sustainable future for the garment industry. Marketing does not control us, nor to that matter do other people and their opinions. We and we alone are in control of our own thoughts and actions.
Do you choose to continue to buy into the never ending cycle of consumerism? Or do you choose change? Changing your mindset is the first step, and a change in action will easily follow. You are in control of curbing your consumer behaviours...one conscious step at a time.