Did anyone else study Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in Management 101 (and then again in almost every other 101 subject you took)? This is Sarah Lazarovic’s Buyerachy of Needs, her own personal schematic for consumption. The Buyerarchy of Needs places ‘buying’ at the top-level, meaning that it should only be considered if all other options have been exhausted in ascending order. Read more about Sarah's work here.
As Spring fashion starts to hit our shelves, I find myself being drawn to new styles, beautiful silhouettes and fresh colours. I daydream about how my life would be better with these things in it and how much happier and more confident this stylish version of myself would be. Silly, I know but it's easy to get swept up in the excitement that new clothes can bring. It's times such as these that I need to remind myself that consumption is not always the answer, or that I might be able to resolve some fashion-related problems without shopping.
Use what you have
It sounds so easy, but it can take some creativity and ingenuity to fall back in love with your current wardrobe. Maybe you don't need to buy a new dress to go to that wedding? Maybe with a bit of styling, that old skirt of yours could look great?
Don't be afraid to repurpose what you have in your wardrobe too. Imagine how many more wearable items you'd have if you got that skirt taken up, those jeans taken in or dye that shirt a different colour. By altering what you already have, you can really get the most out of your clothes.
If you can't use what you already have, maybe it's time to borrow something? Maybe your best friend has just the necklace you'd like to wear to a certain event or maybe you share a shoe size with your mum? Borrowing is a great alternative to buying when you're wearing something for an out-of-the-ordinary specific event. Borrowing is also a good way to gauge whether the item is right for you without committing to buying.
If it's an item that you can see yourself wearing more than a handful of times, maybe you can swap for it? Swapping takes a little more organisation but can be lots of fun, especially if you attend a community event or get a group of friends together for a swap party at home.
Although op-shopping can be a bit more time consuming than traditional shopping, sometimes you can stumble across something extra special for a fraction of the price (say hello to my teal Merino-silk jumper and my Funkis clogs). Heed my warning: it’s just as easy to get swept off-course and buy a whole lot of things you actually don't need in an op shop - if not more easy because BARGAINS! Just make sure you go in with a list or an idea of what you're after before you get too ahead of yourself.
Could you knit that yourself? Maybe you know someone handy with a sewing machine that you could ask to make something for you? Maybe you have those skills already? When you make something, more intention goes into the production process. You also have more control over the ethics and sustainability of production because you are the one sourcing the fabric and making the garment. Also, when you make something yourself, you can make it to fit your body and your requirements exactly so hopefully it gets lots of love and wear.
When you do choose to buy, buy with intention. Be honest about what you need, what you want and your budget. Try to buy clothing that reflect your own personal values. At ecoHaven we value clothing that empowers the maker and is produced fairly and sustainably. We like our clothing made with natural fibres (whenever possible), clothing that will last and clothing that is made to a high quality.
We’re not saying don't buy new clothes (believe it or not, selling new clothes is how we turn a profit), but instead of mindlessly or impulsively consuming, stop and think about your own Buyerarchy of Needs and purchase with intention.