A conscious guide to shopping the Made Local Market
Get a bit overwhelmed when shopping hand-made? Want to make more conscious buying decisions but don't know where to start? We've asked market veteran Rose Merigan from Many Peaks Assembly how to choose pieces to cherish (or gift) using a slow shopping philosophy.
Rose designs and produces clothing and accessories in one-off pieces or small quantities from her Fremantle studio. Rose has built her business on the principal of buying less and buying better and shares a conscious consumerism approach, which we unpick with her below.
Sustainable shopping is a term that is always-evolving, especially when it comes to choosing fashion pieces. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as just buying something with organic fabric, although checking a garments environmental credentials is a good first step.
It's important to think about how the people involved in its creation are paid and treated, the durability and overall life cycle of a product: how long will it last and how it will break down at the end of its life.
Given that many of us are purchasing more around this time of year, taking the time to understand how your values influence you attitude towards consumption and searching out products or individuals producing things in a way that aligns with your personal values is a good place to start.
My personal approach to sustainability is quite holistic. I have tried to develop a curated, cohesive wardrobe that reflects my values. When I buy a garment for example, I not only consider its social and environmental impact but also how it can serve me in life: Is it something I will still want to wear in 5-10 years? Does it complement my existing wardrobe and personal style? Can I do without it?
Make your decisions based on respect and gratitude rather than guilt, it's an easy way to buy better. Having a genuine interest in the making process as well as the ecosystem as a whole, allows us to make more informed choices.
A market is a wonderful way to speak directly to those making your products and establishing whether your ethical concerns align with theirs and their processes. It also ensures that if you do make a purchase, you are helping to support and sustain the individuals making things.
Being aware of the connection between what we consume and the people who make our stuff is a big part of ensuring basic human rights for all.
Do Your Research
Contrary to popular belief, raw materials are not simply fed into a machine where garments pop out the other end. There are people involved at every level of production and this realisation will help you develop a greater respect for your purchases; items become a lot more beautiful when you can pay respect to the people involved in the process. You also start to redefine your sense of value and what things are worth.
The Made Local Market is filled with stallholders who talk openly about their values and processes - get online and look at their websites if they are engaged in ethical processes and these aspects of their business are important to them then there will generally be some evidence of that on their website.
Come armed with knowledge to avoid that frenzied feeling a market can have and feel in control of your decisions.
Buying from local makers is fun and rewarding. You'll come across beautiful one-off or small run pieces that you won't find when you head to your local shopping centre. When you shop locally you are supporting individuals and families in your local community - and that should make you feel good this silly season!