Don’t let the title fool you – I still think consumerism is bull shit. We grow up in a world where we’re conditioned to want more, more, more. We’re taught to trade our time for a paycheck, so that we can purchase products that are often harmful to our environment, people, and animals.
However, I don’t believe all shopping is bad. You can’t change a society you don’t participate in, so instead of swearing shopping off forever, I use my dollar as my most powerful vote. I spend my money to support vegan/cruelty-free companies that give back to causes I care about, use sustainable materials, and/or support local artists and business owners. Bottom line: there is a lot of power in how you choose to invest your money.
There’s always a way to give materialistic things meaning – you just have to do your research and educate yourself about different materials, production processes, and cruelty involved in different industries. I am constantly learning new information, and try to improve the way I shop every year. Since next Friday is September 1, I researched different companies and compiled a list of products that you can feel good about treating yourself to. I keep my shopping lists small, because I think it’s better for our well-being, wallet, and earth if we keep shopping simple:
1. Susi Studio Shoes – After I saw my favorite vegan celeb (Miley Cyrus) wearing a pair, I knew I had to check out this shoe company. From heels, wedges, flats, and oxfords, they offer a range of classic styles with a unique, retro feel. The best part? Their website states they use “sustainable materials like canvas, denim, hemp, and faux leather produced from recycled plastic bottles.” I also love how each shoe is named after/inspired by famous figures, from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Brigitte Bardot. They may seem a little on the pricier side, but when you consider how they’re high quality shoes that are both humane AND sustainable, a pair is worth every penny. I just ordered the “Emerson” oxfords and the “Hey Simone” heels for fall. The Emerson is an ideal shoe to wear while strolling through the city on a crisp autumn day, while the Hey Simone is a perfect change for the evening.
2. Eco-Friendly Hoodie – For many of us, September means cooler nights and lots of bonfires, making a fall hoodie handy to have. Along with designing freaking adorable and comfortable clothes with earth-friendly messages, Happy Earth Apparel donates 50% of their net profits to promote conservation and sustainability. So far, they have donated to organizations such as the Rainforest Alliance, Earthjustice, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Oceana. According to their website, their products are designed with eco-friendly practices and shipped in recycled & recyclable material. So if you want new clothes that also support our earth, check em’ out! You can use my code AlyssaC15 if you want 15% off your order.
3. Hippeas Snacks – I think September is perfect hiking weather. Unlike the summer or winter months, September is not too hot, not too cold, and I have a new favorite hiking snack: Hippeas. Hippeas are organic, gluten free, vegan chickpea puffs that are high in fiber and protein with no additives or preservatives. They’re both light and filling, making them a great snack to fuel your body without weighing you down. Chickpea plants release nitrogen into the atmosphere as they grow, making them naturally good for the earth. The company also supports Farm Africa, which helps farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa become more productive and knowledgeable about the climate so their communities can grow out of poverty. Even if you don’t buy a bag, you should check out their website. It’s freaking adorable. They’re my new favorite snack when I’m chillen with the trees, which is going to happen a lot this month =].
4. Matt & Nat Vegan bag or backpack – Matt & Nat is a vegan company for men and women that makes high quality, durable bags, shoes, and accessories made from recycled plastic bottles, bicycle tires, nylons, cardboard, rubbers, and/or cork. I was drawn to this company because of their style, but the company’s mission statement on their website is also inspiring: “Being inspired by MAT(T)erial and NATure means exploring the synergy between the two, the reflection of one on the other. At Matt & Nat, we live by a simple motto, ‘Live beautifully’. Living beautifully means appreciating the humanity, creativity and positivity found in all of us. Our values include social responsibility, excellence, inclusiveness, integrity, learning, authenticity and, of course, love. We are inspired by the textures and hues of nature and, to better protect it, we aim to constantly better our ways.” I’m obsessed with their vintage collection, and since my old vegan satchel is way past its prime, I’m saving up to buy the “Drew” bag in Chili, because I think that color is stunning for fall.
5. Raw, Organic Coconut Oil – For many of us, the weather starts to get cooler and more breezy in September, which makes hydrating your skin even more important. Instead of using traditional lotion, which is usually full of chemicals or has been cruelly tested on animals, I’m very cautious about what I put on my face, so I’ve been using coconut oil as my moisturizer for two years now. Coconut oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties, and will keep your skin smelling delicious without any harsh perfumes needed. Coconut oil is also used in many massage oils because it is believed to have relaxing effects on the skin. Putting it on has become one of my favorite parts of my bedtime ritual. You don’t need a lot – right after I shower I like taking two small dabs and rubbing it in circular motion around my face. Applying lotion in gentle, circular motions stimulates circulation and gives your skin a rejuvenating feel. The oil might make your skin feel greasy at first, but just let it soak in and I promise you will love how soft and fresh your skin becomes over time.
Many people live day to day without realizing the impact they have on the world. They either don’t understand the cruelty involved in the fashion, food, and beauty industries, or they don’t realize the vast amount of cruelty-free, fair trade, and/or vegan companies that make high quality products. So if you know of any compassionate companies, please comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you =]