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The Conscious Clan: pledge your allegiance

From thriftophiles to generation rent, the conscious shopping movement contains several clans. Where do you fall?


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There has been at least one benefit to three successive lockdowns: time to think. And shopping more sustainably has been at the forefront of our minds ever since. But this hasn't resulted in a homogeny of approaches. In fact, factions have been formed. So where do your sensibilities fit?


Yes, you love Love Island, but you audibly tut at the various adverts of flammable dresses and luminous two-pieces that it showcases throughout. You know the height of the slit up the front of that £16 dress is directly proportional to the number of disparaging glares from environmental enthusiasts it warrants. Even the great and the good of the British high street aren’t exempt from your boycotted brands list. It doesn’t matter what nebulous adjective – conscious, ethical – they stick in front of their devastatingly good new collections, or how commendable they actually are, you simply will not budge. And as a result, your budget is as high as that slit.


You endlessly despair about how much ‘stuff’ you have. You vow to operate your wardrobe like the door policy of a Mayfair club: one in, one out. Yes, there’s a clipboard and yes, the system is totally motivating because the sum of anything sold winds up in your PayPal account, where it becomes like, erm, free money. Right? And the beauty of using Vestiaire Collective concierge is that you don’t have to hang, photograph, describe or haggle, which leaves ample time for scrolling and spending on everyone else's accounts. You break only to take advantage of the Outnet’s 30% flash sale. Discount code: STOPKIDDINGYOURSELF30.


You’ve vowed to change your shopping habits. You can fully justify spending £620 on the Gucci embellished cotton T-shirt because it’s literally the only T-shirt you will buy this week, *coughs*. This month? OK, you’re not so sure on the conscious shopping frequency criteria, but now you’re investing all your focus, infinite scrolling and bank account into the one piece of your dreams. It’ll last longer because the quality is better. It’ll put your other T-shirts to shame (in more ways than one). And it will forcibly dampen your high-street habit because it’ll use up your whole paycheck in one go.



You compulsively respond to compliments with: “Ah, this old thing? It’s Calvin Klein – only £10 from Oxfam,” because as of now, it’s pre-loved or nothing baby. Since you’re now head-to-toe vintage, your dry-cleaner has replaced Celine customer services in your iPhone Contacts favourites and you can reliably be found trawling for treasure on Golborne Road. Aside from sustainability – obv – authenticity and originality are your currency. And no one else snagged that Oxfam piece, so you’re winning all round, right?


For a long time you found it hard to balance your deep-seated hatred of being seen in the same outfit twice with your reluctant commitment to shopping less. But now you don't have to! An early adopter of rental fashion, nothing gives you a bigger kick than watching your friend drop three grand on a Temperley dress that you then find on HURR for less than a hundred quid. Your wardrobe is a transient space for standout looks to come in and out from. The only thing you own in it is the hangers.


When someone comments on your new STORY mfg. purchase you reel off forensic-level detail on the brand's supply and manufacturing chain. And no, it doesn't matter that you spent a large portion of your rent on another jacket – it's naturally dyed organic cotton, after all. And your WASTE YARN PROJECT jumper? That's made – predictably, given the brand name – from excess yarn that would otherwise have been wasted.