The Perfect Ethical Consumer Doesn't Exist

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There’s a limit to how sustainable and ethical we can be as consumers in our world today. One small move in our everyday lives will lead to harming someone else far away, without us even knowing. Of course, we should do the best we can to be good consumers, but there is no need to beat ourselves up about not affording the best sustainable clothes.

I tried to be a perfect ethical consumer for a time. I quit buying clothes, but it didn't last long. Still, I learned something very valuable:

I don't have to buy new clothes nearly as often as I used to (that would be more than once a month). I value the things I have, and I don't care if I wear the same outfit twice(something fast fashion brands highly promote against).

Something new does not have to be new. I look for cool vintage or thrifted pieces instead. I go to events where you can trade your old clothes for “new” ones. Someone's old t-shirt is someone else's really cool new one.

But even though I boycotted the fast fashion brands, I was still not a perfect ethical consumer. Because boycotting will only lead to garment workers losing their jobs, making their lives even worse.

Sooner or later we all need a new pair of jeans (or at least want something new in our closet). Being a student, having kids; nearly all living situations calls for new clothes from time to time where the situation calls for a trip to a fast-fashion brand.

When the sustainable options are expensive, unavailable (in for example sizes) and out of reach it makes it hard to choose them.

Even though I'm no longer boycotting fast fashion brands, the experience changed my whole attitude towards buying clothes.

Being an ethical consumer is not my personality, it's something we all should aim at. Stretching us a bit longer to bring change, making it easier and easier to do the right thing.

Stop trying to be perfect, and feel good about yourself for doing your best for whats available and realistic instead.

Do you think we should try to be perfect?

Thank you for reading!

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Hannah Noorheim

Hannah Noorheim

I’m a Scandinavian hobby writer who writes about everything from mental health to slow fashion. Sometimes I publish random creative stories as well.