How to: be conscious about your shopping habits

Ladies, it is finally June! Summer is right around the corner. Along with the change in season comes the desire to buy new / cute clothes, and obviously many other perks too. But before you go on your summer shopping spree, I want to shine a light on second-hand and eco-friendly shopping in hopes to help us reconsider some of our consumerist tendencies.
The fashion industry has dramatically changed in the past several years — our consumption has increased and the stuff we buy tends to be cheaper quality too. Unfortunate! The profits of worldwide retailers depend on our need for new clothes. There's a reason why your tee-shirt is $15. The garments are meant to fall apart. Your dress from Forever 21 that is wrecked after one wash is meant to benefit the retailer, not you or the environment. Again, unfortunate! Christina Dean, founder & C.E.O. of Redress, said that “today, buying a dress is like buying a BigMac: it is cheap and fast!”
Buying organically and locally grown foods, as well as natural cleaning products, does its part for the environment but the enormous impacts left behind by the fashion industry call for a whole new approach.
With that being said, let’s talk second-hand / vintage / eco-friendly shopping. The concept is pretty simple: Reduce, reuse, repair, repurpose and recycle for the health of Mother Nature. We must take better care of her, so, for those of you who are interested, the following pointers are a good place to start:
+ Learn about the brands you consume. When you purchase merchandise from a brand, you're not just buying a piece of clothing or a statement necklace. You're also indirectly giving your seal of approval on its labor and environmental practices. So, be aware of who you're giving your approval to.
+ Buy locally. Local purchases reduce environmental impact for obvious reasons. Not only does buying locally help the environment by reducing the use of transportation to get your goods to you, but it helps support your community — a win-win situation for everyone.
+ Buy better quality. Quality over quantity!! The better the quality, the easier it is to take care of and the longer the life span, which means less consumption and waste.
+ Know your fabrics. Bamboo, silk, organic cotton, soy, hemp, and lyocell are just a few of the natural, eco-friendly fabrics on the market. Natural dyes are also something you can watch for.
+ Buy less. It helps reduce our personal clothes waste and decrease the unnecessary production of new textiles.
+ Buy vintage. Second-hand isn't just a thing the cool kids do. It is also another way to decrease your global footprint. You refresh your wardrobe with pieces that will have another life span because of you.
Last but not least, if you’ve already walked into Merge, you might have visited our atrium (or as we call it, the green room) which is a space reserved for carefully selected second-hand / vintage clothes. If you have not, come check it out. This place is eye and soul candy. Laurie, shop owner, and Cristina, Merge’s photographer, pick their favourites pieces just for you. We also partner with Pacific Coast Thrift to bring in the coolest second-hand pieces.
On another note, did you know making a typical pair of jeans takes 1000 gallons of water? Merge has decided to team up with a tailor from Vancouver to create an eco-friendly selection of jeans because, as we all know, a good pair is simply the best everyday basic. Our Reworked Merge Jeans Collection not only require zero gallon of water but each pair fits perfectly. Smart move, huh?
Reworked Merge Jeans Capsule Collection. 

Fashion is way more beautiful when it avoids leaving such harmful environmental impacts.
So, get your bike, your girlfriends too, and come by!
*We highly suggest you watch "The True Cost" documentary on Netflix to learn more about the horrible realities of fast fashion A.K.A. the actual cost of making that $15 shirt. Very shocking! It guarantees to leave you speechless.
P.S. Mother Nature already says thank you!

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