Consumerism can be defined as society's preoccupation with the acquisition of consumer goods and like it or not, it has become vital in our community. Most often consumerism culture is seen as a negative and derogatory thing, of course, the idea of purchasing necessities is not the issue. However, the relationship we have when buying items we think we need is something that should be looked at.
The exchange we make of 'money for stuff' isn't as simple as that anymore, with each purchase there is now a chance to build your personal brand, a promise of gratification and success. Initially, this doesn't sound like a bad deal, the idea of self-reinvention can be exciting. Still, it should be recognised that selling the possibility of a quick fix feeds into the notion that more stuff equates to more happiness and this has the potential to turn against us. It is also impossible to acknowledge consumerism and overlook the damage it can do, not only to us but to our world. The constant overproduction of fast fashion and trends that circle so quickly is not sustainable. Can we break out of the cycle and eventually break free from consumerism?
I see it, I want it
The idea that we need to maintain a standard of lifestyle in order to be happy is a complicated outlook to have and living in the era of influencer supremacy, it's hard not to want what they have. Looking in from the outside at these people who seemingly have everything, we naturally mimic their movements so that we can be the same. The easiest way for us to get a taste of this success is by equipping ourselves with the 'tools' to do so. Buying the same clothes, skincare products and shoes enables consumer culture and makes the cycle of buying our happiness that much harder to break away from. Relating the lifestyle celebrities and influencers have directly to the items that they have makes it that much more enticing to part take in consumer culture. Imitating garments or lifestyle accessories to achieve their state of living is unrealistic for anyone, so knowing the difference between something you need and something you want is becoming harder to determine. When purchasing something in future it is important to ask yourself, 'do you want this' or 'am I being told that I want this?'
A recommendation from a creator that you like goes a long way. 61% of consumers trust the product recommendations they get from influencers. Meanwhile, only 38% trust branded social media content.
Green is the new black
Falling victim to the crisis of having nothing to wear is not something we're strangers to, each event seems to require a new outfit. Pairing that with the sense of approval when being complimented on a new outfit - it can be addictive. However, this is fatal not only to our bank accounts but to the planet. When something is as easy to access as fast fashion, why wouldn't one partake in consumerism, and in this keeping up with the Jones' society, the competitiveness between us and our peers to look our best only increases. Nevertheless, the damage such mass production has on the environment is irreversible. The wasteful pattern of only buying what is in fashion at the moment is propelling climate change and is something that we must be more considerate of.
'A 2015 study found that the production and use of household goods and services was responsible for 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Not surprisingly, wealthy countries have the most per capita impact. -Renee Cho: 'How buying stuff drives climate change.
It is unrealistic to suggest that society puts a complete stop to consumer culture, it is a vital cog working in an economic machine to help society function. However, it is also no secret that what is fashionable now, will be scorned in a month, so it is important to be mindful whilst shopping. Upcycling and buying second hand are just two ways you can do your part to help try and decrease the mass production of luxury items. Breaking free from consumerism entirely is not going to happen, but taking steps to change habits and become less so involved is possible.
For more insight into consumerism click here!