I finally had the time to watch theTrue Cost a few months ago; it was such an eye-opening and jaw-dropping story on the industry of clothing. Over decades, the price of clothing has decreased, while the human and environmental cost has dramatically increased. While True Cost only highlights the impact of clothing, I am so sure this also applies to jewelry and accessories; as well as a lot of other consumer goods. We’ve simply evolved into a wasteful, throwaway society; and we’re not thinking about the damage it can do people and our environments.
Over the months, this documentary has completely changed the way I shop, as well as the way I design sustainable fashion accessories for Hathorway. As advocate for slow fashion and conscious fashion, here are 5 questions that I started asking myself before I purchase my jewelry and accessories and you should too.
Is the style of the jewelry timeless?
>When I shop for jewelry, I usually think about how versatile it is. I think: “Will it go well with my summer floral dress? Can I pair it with my chunky striped sweater? Can I wear it to work? Can I wear it out on a date night with my husband?” And then I think, will I wear these one week from now? Or even, will I still wear them one month to 10 years from now?”
So when you think of versatile and timeless pieces, ignore the trends -- the simple and minimalistic jewelry to stand the test of time. We’ve all heard the saying “less is more,” and it’s true. When earrings or bracelets has less embellishments and decor on it, the more years and times you will be able to wear it. And because the style is timeless and versatile, the less you will buy and the less waste we’ll have in our landfill
Will this bracelet, ring, earring or necklace last long?
And because I want to be able to wear the jewelry and accessories 5 to 10 years from now, the second thing I look at when I buy jewelry is the quality. I ask myself, “is this necklace, bracelet, ring, or earrings high quality? Is this durable? If I tug it, will it break?”
Instead of making an immediate purchase, spend the time to inspect how it’s assembled and how it’s built so that we can ensure it will last for many years from now. Tug on it a little, learn about the material it’s made from so that you know it’s quality handmade jewelry. Of course, nothing last if we don’t spend the time to take care of it. So as consumers we are also responsible for the care of our items-- protect it, clean it, and store it properly to extend it’s lifespan as long as possible.
Is it comfortable?
The third thing is comfort and practicality. Throughout my life, I have made silly decisions to buy blouses, shoes, and earrings that were not comfortable. Yes, they were cute and trendy, but because I didn’t find them comfortable due, I only wore them once or twice.
So when you shop for your pretty unique jewelry, take your time. Don’t get let the trends drive you to make fast fashion decisions, instead take the time to try it on for a longer period and access its comfort. Ask yourself if it is comfortable to wear in various events and occasions. If any part of the jewelry is irritable or bothers you in anyway, don’t buy it and step away.
Is the creation of the jewelry environmentally friendly?
The fourth question is about the jewelry’s eco-friendliness. And by eco-friendliness, I mean…
- Are there any chemicals used to product this item?
Today, we won’t always know the answer to this because we are so disconnected from the process and makers, especially when we shop at large department stores. But there are emerging brands who are producing in small batches to reduce environmental impact, who are transparent about their process, and even brands who are planting trees for every t-shirt purchase like Amour Vert.
But if you are not accessible to these environmentally conscious brands, then discover local artisans and craftsmen. Go to the fairs and markets, to ask them about the jewelry pieces that they make, ask them about how it’s made, what’s it made out of, so that you know the story and the love they put behind each piece. Usually these local artisans and craftsmen are working to conserve resources and minimize the physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of their product because they work where they live and don’t want to harm their home.
Is it ethically created?
Similar to the jewelry’s eco-friendliness, we won’t always know if the jewelry was ethically created. Of course, we can guess by the cheap price it’s listed at; but we won’t always know.
However, you can do your part as a consumer to ask the brands directly. With technology today, it is really easy to connect with brands; we can join the fashion revolution and them on instagram, facebook or twitter to ask them, “who made this piece, was it ethically created, was it traded fairly?” While brands should be responsible for greater transparency, sustainability and ethics, consumers should be responsible for being inquisitive and mindful about their purchase.
So when you are out shopping to add another bracelet, ring, necklace, and earrings to your jewelry collection, ask yourself these 5 questions to make a thoughtful and conscious purchase:
- Is the style of the jewelry timeless?
- Will this bracelet, ring, earring or necklace last long?
- Is it comfortable?
- Is the creation of the jewelry environmentally friendly?
- Is it ethically created?
So if you can answer all “yes”, invest in the purchase and take really good care of your handmade eco friendly jewelry so that it can last. Most of the time, these items will cost more in terms of how much you will pay out of your wallet, however it will cost less in terms of social and environmental impact. These 5 questions will become the philosophy as we continue to build out our Hathorway brand. Together, we can take steps to make a human and environmental change by preventing the fast fashion jewelry.
And yes, I want you to ask these 5 questions when you are also browsingour buffalo horn jewelry collection. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or want to continue to talk about building your conscious jewelry collection.
Radiate Beauty Inside and Out,