Cause-umption rules Los Angeles. But perhaps it's better than not caring it all?

The feeling of cause-sumption is more present than ever here in Los Angeles. If it’s not plant based food at Gracias Madre or Gratitude, it’s keeping oneself trendy in organic Bassike dresses or oversized Fanmail t-shirts. Like a friend said yesterday; we take the car to buy another do-good experience.

I’m very much a part of all of this.

What was perhaps something for the progressive few, the philanthropic nature of brands are today mandatory. Brands without a manifest about sustainability? What’s up Creatures of Comfort? Us millennials except corporate do-good from the brands we associate ourselves with, and we use our spending power to load our identities. We want corporate brands not to sell things to us, but to partner with us in building our own personal brands.

Nothing exceptionally new, and this behavior makes me feel depressed at least a few times a day. Especially so, when informed choices are in fact just a cause of laziness or, at its very best, poor research skills. When buying a pair of TOMS sneakers, as a reader pointed out, is not actually doing any good, where are we then? Well we’re back at the core question of making informed choices.

And keeping oneself informed is hard, even for the ones who try. Staying with the TOMS example, some quick further research suggests that it’s not that simple. Not entirely bad or entirely good. While Bruce Wydick, who was commissioned by TOMS to make an impact study of their program, found that it had no life-changing impact on the recipients’ lives (with “recipients” being the first problem–”us” knowing what “they” need better than “they” do) he still thought of TOMS as “an organization that truly cares about what it is doing, seeks evidence-based results on its program, and is committed to re-orienting the nature of its intervention in order to maximize results”.

Is having good intentions better than having no intentions? Perhaps it contributes to sense of caring that in the end actually affects the status quo of caring?

Probably, the only goods that are entirely good are the ones you can trace yourself. The rest is just a scale of insecurities and you have to set your own boundaries. I had a discussion about alpaca the other day with a sustainability expert, in relation to Industry of all Nations. And although the brand’s alpaca project seems good in itself, the alpaca may become endangered due to climate changes, as glaciers melt and temperatures rise, which also means that the local communities producing the goods may be threatened. There are many stages to consider; the raw material, the climate, the production, the consumption, the after-life…

Did you know our name, Make it last, is just the last bit of a quote by Vivienne Westwood. The whole sentence? Buy less, choose well, make it last. And I guess that’s the point I’m making. It’s not only about choosing well, it’s also about, simply, buying less. That’s, I guess, the only simple thing in this equation.

Pictured: lovely pieces from the Bassike resort 2015 collection

1 Comment

Hella Lynggaard: I couldn't agree more! It's quite the paradox to want to live sustainably while still consuming things. I think you're right that it's all about making conscious choices and making the stuff we buy last longer. Love your site! xx
May 11, 2016

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