Consume, Choicses & Economy - The Story behind any Label

In the Ture Cost Movie there is a phrase saying 

"Advertising is making us buy more and more and more and in the end it made everyone just poorer."

This was the phrase, which touched me personally the most when I watched it. Me, working in PR: This is exactly what I did. I influenced thinking to shift decision making. Born into this economic world, I worked for the economy. I worked for "buying more" bigger, better, greater.  Looking back, I was shocked how many people I moved with what I - even little, stupid me - was able to do with PR. 

As most of you know - I freaked out, I had to get out of this faked world I lived in,  I went away, I came up with this blog and hitched hiked from Turkey to India and looked at everything, which is happening behind the Label - Fashion Labels mainly. I had to see how things are really produced, rather then coming up with a story about it for Marketing.

Hitchhiking, Couchsurfing, spending nearly no money. But spending a lot of time sharing, learning and respecting different people,  having nothing but one backpack, sorted out every day, thanks to Max - That was probably the most simple and most satisfied time of my life. 

I came back to Europe and didn't want to let go on the peace I found in this simplified way of living. So sold most of my furniture, I sorted out my closet, in order to feel free staying in one place. I didn't waste anything - but sold it and gave it away to friends and people at the street. It was a piece of work, but it felt good. I went shopping once,  trying to like it again, but it didn't seemed to work for me anymore the same way. I could not value anything I saw. Instead I met Ofek from Israel, who was my couchsurfer in Berlin and became an inspiring friend. He showed me that you don't need a simple surrounding to live simple. We traveled to Barcelona for three days, spending 5€ on food, sleeping and eating outside. We were showering at the beaches and drank the water which was available. 

This was a crazy kind of satisfaction, fear and happiness, I felt back then. It clearly opened my eyes, that I cant be as satisfied by things as I can by the excitement of the nature; being afraid and surprised how friendly, great and stunning nature, anmilals and humans can be - even in the middle of a fancy European city. 

The point is, I you do not need to be brave, you do not need to go away. Nor you need to go far.

All about minimalizing in the mind

After financial crisis 2008 there are some Americans you actually can watch waking up out of this american bubble of consumerism. Netflix shows their documentary Minimalism.

As an European it is funny to watch and you might think: Gosh, why do these people teach each other to live happily by less?! They actually just show how brainwashed they are by advertising.  But the documentary will come to the point which will touch you personally. 

Because overload is everywhere. And all of us are influenced in our everyday actions. 

A question which returned in any exam at my Media Management University: What is the difference between Propaganda and Advertising? I always had to memorize the answer word by word out of the books, because in my point of view there is actually none. We went from Hitler to advertising. Our generation used Mein Kampf for the clever thinking in Marketing, but claiming this is not as bad as Hitler if you use it for economy.

In the same time we build this globalized world and made money the language of everyone. Production is happing far away from consuming and advertising allows to fake the hell out of it, what actually money is spend on. I just love George Orwells phrase, it just hits it on the spot: 

At the Minimalist documentary they also talk about the Fashion industry and they use the same pictures as the True Cost Movie, speaking about economy and consume. How we grew from four to fifty two seasons a year and our clothes traveled to more countries than most of us will ever see. It is the fastest most globalized industry, with an enormous advertising potential making us believe we are behind if we do not consume more and quicker. It is an overload on everything: on information, on clothes, on depending jobs, shops, chemicals, trash, donations, mono-cultures, environmental issues,...

And this becomes an economic factor.

Since three years now I am engaged with the Fashion Revolution Campaign taking care of the Social Media Channels and from what I see of behavior changes (private people and companies) I can tell that Fashion Production and the essential question #Whomademyclothes? is growing out of its niche. If you want to see what I mean, just join the Fashion Revolution Week.

More and more people say "I am tired of this internet full of things. For every problem I do not have, there is already a solution. And this really makes me wanting nothing anymore." The problem is that we get bored. Everything is available at any time, this is not special anymore, it is the general case. The value looses. The guardian lately explained it very well: We do not know what we consume. If we would know what we consume and how hard it is to produce it - Then again, yes, we may value it again. This is what such markets like DaWanda show. That´s why so many people go traveling without money. You have to work for what you consume and get satisfaction out of your actions. You simply remember what you live for, what you really need to consume and produce. 

People who deal with economic behavior, trends and strategies will do good if they see this slowing down movement. Too many people proved the world to go higher, faster, better - but this simply becomes old-fashioned now. The new movement clearly has a complex task slowing down in this fast and flexible surrounding. Standing against the storm.  It is extremely hard if you live in a fast moving society. 

And it is not doing-good. This is not a trend. There are a lot of people who think if H&M will use better cotton this makes people continuing consuming. But this is only true for the people who really value a full closet and if they keep trying attracting people by cheaper prizes, they cut their own business - The value will get lost. We don't care having it anymore, it is available everywhere for no money and more and more people know that harm which comes along with it. It doesn't stand for anything anymore. 

VinoKilo presented this very well in their show last January in Berlin, as the New Yorker Designer Doyel Joshi came up with an alternative slow "runway" with Vintage clothes. In the end a huge curtain of trash bags fell and you could see all these clothes behind it. Wonderful, high quality, never worn, dead-stock clothes, untouched for sometimes up to fifty years. What they do is to take these clothes and turn it into a lifestyle. 

Here is my advise, as I live again in Berlin as a consumer in a consuming world. Minimalising does not mean taking away, it is more like focusing. It`s spending differently. You will invest more into time, people, nature, actual life, rather than caring about all that stuff we are supposed to do or to have. If you really value something then keep it. But ask yourself "Why do I think I need it?". You will be surprised how often you will find yourself in the situation finding out that the only source of your opinions is actually advertising and certain thoughts like "everybody does so".  

Start with your closet - most of us have clothes in the closet we don`t really need, nor value. Put everything away which you haven't worn in a year. You also can store it first, if you are not sure, but take it away from your everyday usage and just try to live with less. 

But please don't waste it. Waste is not going away, we live with it on this planet. Think about something you can do with all your stuff. At Fashion Revolution we came up with an PDF called #Haulternative, it basically gives you ideas to sell, swap, upcycle, recycle or give your clothes away as presents, maybe this inspires you. It actually is fun to go new directions in life with 

Today, I am proud working in PR, I wish one day we wouldn't need it anymore, but right now woking against all these dumb messages, which steal our time, our money, our courage, self-esteem and in some way our happiness, I feel it is important. Its like cleaning up with information. I became more work addicted than before, clearly not for money, but for people and ideas I truly believe in.

To me it is a task worth living for. My friends all over the world taught me from their lives and not all of them have the chance to speak as free as I am, so I am happy that they allow me to share their thoughts and inspiration.

Finally my life makes sense again as a consuming factor - its not against consume - its about consuming differently in a sick system.