I want to share some highlights from a conversation I had with IP Australia, an Australian Government agency that administers intellectual property rights and legislation relating to designs.
IP Australia got in touch after coming across an interview I did with the Australian Retail Association featuring my experience with design, business and marketing. Some of their team members wanted to have a chat to explore the challenges I feel exist around consumerism and repurposing.
Below are some key topics we covered on how design and marketing affect consumerism and repurposing.
Why do we feel like we need to upgrade and have the latest ‘things’ all the time?
I sometimes feel the pressure (especially from big brands and social media) to have the latest and greatest. But I refuse to upgrade unless I absolutely must and try to stick to a minimalist view. For example, I’ve said countless times that I only have a few things and those things are of exceptionally high quality, which means I own my stuff for a long time. It’s my way of not being so wasteful.
There’s not enough marketing to promote sustainability.
I live in a city (Melbourne) where I’m bombarded with messages (on tram stops, busses, billboards etc.) of the features and benefits of things that we don’t need. I hardly ever see marketing campaigns that promote what we should do with our old things once we’ve replaced them – maybe it’s because it doesn’t generate enough revenue for these big brands.
After I wrote this paragraph I found this Tweet from the City of Melbourne who quotes Kevin Murphy saying that ”It’s costing us about five times more to be sustainable but it’s worth it.”
”It’s costing us about five times more to be sustainable but it’s worth it.” Kevin Murphy discussing the importance of brands putting sustainability first at the Melbourne Fashion Week Fashion Forum. pic.twitter.com/tTLV68LCCM
— City of Melbourne (@cityofmelbourne) September 2, 2019
Repurposing – We should do a lot more of it!
Repurposing is not something most of us often do. Can you count the number of friends you have that resell on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Etsy and Gumtree? I can’t and instead I can count the number of people known for showing off their unpacking/unboxing videos, as well as praising others who line up hours (or even days) to get the latest new release – I think this consumerism is so sad and it will only get worse if we don’t change our behaviour.
I’m not the best recycler, but I’m excellent at repurposing, and one way I’d like to think I contribute to a more sustainable way of life is by being able to resell almost everything I don’t use from pre-loved wedding items (one of the reasons why I launched our pre-loved wedding marketplace), baby stuff right through to household items. If we want to change the environment we live in changes must come from within us.
I want to give a shout out to Collins Square for their support behind this repurposing initiative called Wear for Success. I’ll try to pop past and donate my unwanted clothes in the hope that others may find my pieces helpful.