Friday, October 8, 2021

Reframing the mindset

Wearing: Bastet Noir 

I remember being as little as 7 years old, and my aunt would wake me up at the butt crack of dawn to try on new outfits for school as she had a small boutique at the time and always brought home a big bag of clothes that might look good on me. At the time, I was not very pleased with her waking me up at 6:30 AM to play dress up, but deep down it always stuck with me that clothing should be of abundance, and looking presentable is how it should always be. I was always the girl in head-to-toe pink, blinged-out denim jackets, and dare-I-say scandalous little two-piece sets (the latter was only worn on special occasions, not to school obviously haha). What I'm getting at here is that clothing, more specifically the acquiring of new clothing, was engraved into my mindset as something that I needed in order to present myself as the best version I can be. 

Fast forward to the tween stage, when I became overly self-aware and started to explore my personal style. Up until that point, it was all my parents and aunt guiding me through the unknown world of fashion, and I was just there for the ride. But, when you start realizing what you like and dislike is a whole other story. Around that time I became a newbie Internet user and would go to internet cafes with my little brother regularly - him to play something with racing cars, and I to play dress-up games. I would spend hours upon hours just dressing up virtual dolls in every outfit imaginable. I remember when I discovered Polyvore and found out it had actual clothes to style rather than graphics - safe to say I became obsessed. I would project my need for new clothing onto this app, since buying new clothing 24/7 was not realistic. So, my desire to have the newest and trendiest grew, and so did my demands.

"Mom, I saw this really cool jacket, can I buy it?" 
"Dad, mom said you'll give me XX to buy a pair of new boots"

And so, I slowly began tiptoeing into the shiny land of consumerism, fast fashion, and *new things*. Because new things bring me joy, and they make me cool and modern, right? ... Right? 

My mom has always loved thrift shops. She would always take me with her as a kid and at first, I was confused: Why is this so cheap? Why is everything so cluttered? Why are they selling clothes with stains on them? But my mom always painted a positive picture for me in my head, despite the real-life chaos surrounding us. She would find cute tops and dresses that were one of a kind, and never push me to pick out something just for the sake of me not going out empty-handed. This is why I never thought of second-hand shops as something shameful, or gross. As I grew older and my taste in clothing became more selective, I would visit my local thrift store regularly and see if they had something that would suit my (then) style. 

High school was probably my peak consumerism stage. I had just started my blog and felt this pressure to buy everything new and trendy, and thrift stores were just not cutting it for me. And as I was very much unemployed and very much still reliant on my parents, I would pick through the sale sections like it was nobody's business. I guess that stupid high school need to impress my peers (and everyone scrolling through my blog) led me to impulse buy a ton of shit without batting an eye. My closet was literally overflowing, and I would just pile on more clothing and wearing it once. I never even gave a thought to anything else besides the (very low) price and whether it was trendy. I wouldn't say that this is abnormal behavior for a teenager, but I guess it was something I need to go through in order to better understand and realize the reality of the situation, today. 

As my style started to develop into what it is today, I discovered this little term called "sustainability". I would watch videos of girls talking about these expensive $100 tops and calling them sustainable. And so I wondered, why is this so expensive? What makes this piece of garment so much more special than something very similar I would get for $5 at Zara? With this in mind the research began and the sustainable fashion content I was consuming increased. Around this time I learned about how wide the concept of sustainability really is, and how it connects to environmentalism. Basically, I went down this whole wormhole and I felt like my mind was blown. Why is nobody talking about this? How come people don't care about how this impacts the planet and the downward spiral we're heading into? I was angry, disappointed, and felt dumb. Dumb that I've been supporting an economy that only cares about profit, with no remorse for neither human lives nor the planet. Dumb that I continue to buy, and for what? So, in 2019 I decided to quit fast fashion, and see how it changes my shopping habits. 

And change it did. I reframed my mindset to a state where shopping came down to a need. If I truly need it, I will buy it. If I believe it will bring be long-term joy and satisfaction, I will buy it. If I think it will make life better for me, I will buy it. Once you start thinking this way, you'd be surprised how much stuff you end up not buying. And it felt liberating. I no longer felt bad if I left a store empty-handed, in fact, I felt proud. It meant that my mindset was shifting, and I was consciously making the right decisions and sticking to my belief system. 

Not long after my whole "awakening" episode, I started working for a sustainable brand called Bastet Noir, based here in North Macedonia. I really think that this opportunity came to me at the right moment. I was lost, didn't know what direction I was heading in life, and genuinely wanted to learn more about this newfound passion of mine. And so, I became a human sponge and soaked in all the information, both at my job and at my own accord. Shortly after starting, I realized why everything is so "expensive" and that it's actually not expensive. It's fair. It's realistic. It's what clothing should cost. But, as with everything in life, nothing is so black and white. It would be downright ignorant of me to say that everyone should be spending $100 dollars on T-shirts and that everything else is unethical and by buying from Zara or H&M you don't care about human rights. That is not how the world works. Buying sustainably is a privilege and something you work towards, not something you should feel shamed into doing. 

I want this to be the introduction to a bigger conversation I'll be having on this blog. Consumerism, sustainability, environmentalism, human behavior, and all other related topics are ones I want to tackle here in order to better explain this whole mish-mash of information. My aim will be to make these topics one of open conversation and dialogue, as opposed to just me blabbering on with the hopes of "sounding smart" because nobody wants that (not even I). I've had similar conversations over on my Instagram, and every time I am amazed at how beautiful the conversations are and how much joy it brings me to discuss this with people, be it ones that agree or disagree with what I have to say. But, there's only so much I can say on Stories without overloading the system, so I feel it's the right decision to bring it over to my corner of the Internet. 

Feel free to message me with any of your thoughts related to these topics, what you'd like to see discussed in more detail here, and just your overall impressions to blog posts of this kind. Talk soon!

1 comment:

  1. Your dress is so cute and lovely dear

    Thank you for sharing. Have a beautiful weekend.