Activism Barcelona Fashion

The Power of the Consumer

Sometimes we underestimate ourselves. We think we aren’t powerful enough to make changes at the societal level, and that our actions are insignificant. We believe this so profoundly that it blocks our ability to think, take action, and react to issues that really affect and matter to us.

Contrarily, there is nothing more effective than an individual’s will and determination to bring about change (whether for better or for worse): history is full of examples. In the present context of intensified capitalism, the individual takes on a tremendous power in his or her role as consumer. Every time we buy something, we are exercising our power. We are allowing one brand or another to stay in the market.

So what is the problem? That we are rarely aware of our power. Our purchases and actions are automatic and we don’t leave room for a deeper reflection on the meaning of what we are buying or what is behind the product we wish to acquire: where it comes from, what materials it is made out of, what regulations have been brought to bear in its production, etc.

Brands, even those that seem untouchable, are fully vulnerable to our power as consumers. For example in 2015 the INDITEX group, which includes the brands Zara, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Pull&Bear, Stradivarius, Oysho, Zara Home and Uturqüe, was forced to stop making garments from Angora wool due to the social outcry at the animal mistreatment required to produce this kind of wool. Rabbits were skinned alive.

Fashion Revolution “Who Made My Clothes” Movement

And how can we be aware of these kinds of practices?

More and more consumers are exercising their power and demanding transparency and good practices in the textile sector.  This has led to the creation of initiatives like Fashion Revolution, launched in 2013 in response to the terrible accident in Rana Plaza, Bangladesh, in which 1138 persons who worked for the Western textile industry were killed.

Here are a few actions that might help you wake up to your super-powers as a consumer and join our revolution:

  • Learn about the movement Fashion Revolution España and get informed on the different actions and campaigns being carried out at national and regional levels. Each region has associations working on sustainable fashion.  Maybe one of them will be of interest to you!
  • Discover whether your favorite brand is sustainable or not using this application and exercise your power by boycotting those companies that do not fulfill the parameters that are important to you.
  • Use social networks to demand that your brands get sustainable. The Fashion Revolution website offers the tools you’ll need.
  • Buy second-hand clothing, repair garments that need repairing, transform what you have into something different (upcycling) and give away (rather than throw away) what you don’t wear anymore. 85% of the clothing that is thrown away goes into landfills, meaning more waste polluting the environment. 
  • Support sustainable brands.  Just as you have the power to demand that conventionally non-sustainable brands improve their practices, you also have the power to keep brands “that do things right” in the market. There are more and more of these. We will be talking about some of these in the blog. Stay tuned!
  • Don’t be afraid to spread the word, share articles of interest in your social networks, and encourage family and friends to change their consumer habits. 
  • Be in touch! Share your experiences through our blog!

SIILVIA//Barcelona

18 thoughts on “The Power of the Consumer”

  1. Excelente post! tomo nota, a ver si podemos ayudar a cambiar un poco las cosas en nuestro dia a dia

    1. Gracias Clara!! Ese es el objetivo! Pequeñas acciones diarias! Un abrazo desde Barcelona!

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