The conscious consumer
"Your belongings gain emotional value when you care about where they come from and how they were made."
I’ve been op-shopping since I was a teenager in the 90s, when vintage slips over pants were a thing. This love of treasure hunting, and scoring a bargain, later translated into co-founding a magazine that focused on heritage, vintage and retro culture. We would go on trips around the country creating magazine content, which was the perfect excuse to go hunting in all those wonderful small town op shops. What started as a feature in the magazine eventually transformed into the My Vintage Town series of guides to the best vintage stores, second hand shops and heritage sites around New Zealand. We have been so fortunate to get to know all of these fantastic independent businesses that care about our environment, about reusing and recycling.
80 billion pieces of new clothing are made globally and New Zealanders spend $4 billion on domestic clothing each year. It’s lovely to buy new things and I completely understand that many people are time poor so can't spend hours trawling second hand stores, but there is a massive cost to people and the environment with this level of consumption. I wouldn’t expect anyone (including me!) to give up buying brand new items forever, but maybe next time, before you do, stop and consider…
- Do I really need this?
- If so, could I get this second hand?
- If I can’t buy second hand, can I use my purchasing power for good to support a local maker or independent business?
Sometimes it can be frustrating being a conscious consumer - you’re constantly weighing up how to make the best decision, and you can’t just pop into a mall to treat yourself to something new. But it is definitely more rewarding: your belongings gain emotional value when you care about where they come from and how they were made, and when you buy second hand you get to enjoy the thrill of the hunt to find that unique treasure that no one else has!
Please visit myvintagetown to find out more about the guides.
Read Wendy's story
"We’ve planted around 65,000 native species, and monitor weta, lizards, birds and water quality."Wendy
Read Vanessa & Matti's story
"Ever since I was little I’ve been aware of the impact of our lifestyle choices for the environment."Vanessa & Matti