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 this season. 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. Kora Organics Hydrating Moisturizer – The colder weather can be harsh on my skin, making it red and dry if I don’t take proper care. I’m always extremely cautious about the products I put on my skin, as its the largest organ of our bodies. My favorite, cheap moisturizer I like to use is raw, organic coconut oil (yes, I just buy it at the grocery store and lather it on. It feels greasy at first but once it absorbs into your skin it feels refreshing). If I feel like I need a more balanced moisturizer, however, I use Kora Organics Hydrating Moisturizer for my face. According to their website they use organic, vegan, ingredients that have amazing benefits on your skin and aren’t tested on animals: “Our products are formulated with antioxidant rich Noni Extract, Essential Fatty Acids, Herbal Extracts, Essential Oils, Vitamins and many other highly active, detoxifying and revitalizing ingredients.” Read more about the ingredients here. (Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash)
2. Animal Rights Mug – Whether you drink coffee, tea, or plain water, getting a mug with an animal rights message on it encourages people to consider animals in a new light. I bring my mug from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to work every day so that co-workers feel free to start a conversation with me about my beliefs and values. PETA is a nonprofit organization, and according to their website, “84.8 percent of our operating expenses went directly to our programs fighting animal exploitation.” Now that’s an organization I want to put my money towards.
3. Eco-Friendly Hoodie – For many of us, the Autumn season 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.
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. Tarte “Lights, Camera, Lashes” Mascara – I like minimal makeup, and my go-to look when I’m short on time or don’t feel like getting ready is to put a cruelty-free, tinted moisturizer on my face and mascara on my top lashes. Some mascaras on the market are either tested on animals or contain gross ingredients derived from animal fat or beeswax. Luckily, many high quality makeup brands are not confining animals to cages and forcing harsh chemicals into their eyes because there are safer, cruelty-free ways to test their products. Tarte is one such progressive, cruelty-free company! This is one of my favorite vegan, cruelty-free mascaras currently on the market, and you can buy it in a set with an eyelash curler to give your eyes an added pop. If you haven’t given Tarte’s products a try yet, you’re missing out. They have a whole vegan collection you can shop here.
6. 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.
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 =]