Some quick links from around the internet for your weekend
Happy Friday! What have you been up to today… manically buying reduced goods or furiously deleting Black Friday offers from your junk mail?
I love shopping. When I was a teenager I would excitedly plan weekend trips to the local shopping centre. I once spent 8 hours looking round a mall in America. Just wandering round shops, eating in the food court, debating how to spend my saved-up spending money.
My friend Emma, who runs the fabulous Island Vintage Goods Co., was just telling me about the surge of adrenaline she feels when she finds something she thinks is really special. I knew exactly the feeling she was talking about, I get the same thing. My heart beats faster, my skin tingles, I feel like laughing with excitement. It’s a great feeling.
The French have a word for this sort of shopping- ‘chiner’. It translates to something like ‘antiquing’ except that it has the added connotation of searching for treasure, digging through junk looking for the rare and the remarkable. I love it, can’t get enough of it. Which… can be a problem…
In my early to mid twenties, I couldn’t control my craving for that shopping rush and I ended up with a room crammed full of things I couldn’t really afford, didn’t need and couldn’t find space for. If you’ve ever seen a young child about ten minutes after they’ve had sugary treats, you’ll know how I looked shopping back then- glazed shiny eyes, overheated with anticipation, completely beyond rational thought.
To find balance between my love of shopping and my manic overbuying, I read about ethical fashion, particularly in articles by UK journalist Lucy Siegle and People Tree founder Safia Minney. I realised that I had to think past my adrenalin rush to the much bigger picture of ethical trade and its human and environmental impact. Not easy to do when your body is wired for immediate gratification and hunting, even if now it’s hunting for flattering denim or affordable cashmere.
Now I channel my thrill-seeking into planning ahead and saying NO to future regret. I look for items I love that I know I would use till they fall apart, I look for small businesses that are putting their hearts and souls into their products, brands that are transparent and go that extra mile to ensure their manufacturers and processes are fair and low impact. I buy less but everything I buy I feel incredibly proud and happy to own. Instead of a shameful pile of objects I don’t use, now I have a home full of things that bring me joy.
Yeah, yeah… I know. Just what you need, someone else singing the praises of minimalism when you just want to buy your sparkly rainbow colored *insert item here* and enjoy it without guilt. I understand that. Before you do though, can you think about this when you’re shopping- look for small changes you CAN make.
And if you want, read these: A beginner’s guide to ethical shopping, all about the brilliant documentary The True Cost, and this by Lucy Siegle for The Guardian.
The Good Trade has a great list of ethical brands for clothing, home wares and all kids. For clothing, I love Mae Sue, Everlane, Reformation, and People Tree. Vox also has a great list of ethical brands!
And for more weekend reading:
This gift guide from Austin Kleon, from Cup of Jo and this one for kids (and me)!
A brilliant short article about biscuits, the Southern kind, and a vegan Southern biscuit recipe I want to try tomorrow!
I couldn’t stop staring at the photos in this photo-essay on smartphones. And then this article about the devastation in California made me feel so grateful for kindness in a crisis.
What do you think of Nick Cave’s very beautiful and brave answer to a question about his son’s death? Do you agree?
I thought this article about how to email your boss was really helpful for all kinds of situations really. And this one made me rethink not wearing lipstick.
And I am already SO EXCITED about Toy Story 4. ‘You are a I DON’T CARE BEAR!’