Tagged: Sustainability

All That Glitters: A Meditation on the Consequences of Consumption

Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction and our ego satisfaction in consumption. We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced and discarded at an ever-increasing rate. -Victor Lebrow, Economist 1955, as quoted by Legosi

16-foot second hand clothing installation in Hong Kong’s Central Star Ferry Pier represents 7.5 tons of textiles or 3% of the 253 tons of clothing Hong Kong throws away each day. Created as part Hong Kong’s 2011 exhibit Redress, aimed at shedding light on the consequences of the 60% increase in clothing sales over the past decade.

Recently, I’ve become increasingly aware of my spending habits as well as the spending habits of those around me.  I’m more aware than I was, say, before I left full-time employment.  Purchases mean a lot more to me now and so do my decisions about how I invest my money.

Today I read a four part series on EcoSalon about the psychology of marketing in the fashion industry. The author, who goes by the pseudonym Louise Legosi, offers a sweeping review of the sociological, ecological, and economic implications of increased consumerism world-wide.  She argues that calculated marketing strategies aimed at creating demand for high-end luxury goods have encouraged the kind of conspicuous consumption that fuels unsustainable manufacturing practices.  Legosi suggests consumer spending is largely motivated by the urge to adopt the trappings associated with the desired object while simultaneously subverting unwanted personal attributes.  Legosi and I are in agreement that in all of this, the central question begging to be asked is: “What are we hiding?” Continue reading