9 Reasons to Shop Local

As seen in XX The Mag

In April the fashion community celebrates Fashion Revolution Week, which is aimed at raising consumer awareness about the origin of the clothes that they wear. In honor of Fashion Revolution Week, I shared my top 9 Reasons to Shop local with the team at XX The Mag, and now I’d like to share them with you.

1) Supports the Local Economy

The first and most obvious reason to shop local is to support the local economy. Many of us have resorted to shopping online or while overseas, but when we do this we put money in the pockets of much larger corporations when we should be putting it into the pockets of our talented fellow Trinbagonians. 

2) Practicality

Most local designers take into consideration the climate and lifestyle of the typical Caribbean individual when designing.

Pieces tend to be made of light, breathable fabrics such as cotton and linen, that allow the wearer to feel comfortable no matter how hot or humid it is.

Photo from Willow and Oak; Taken by Jordan Lum Hung
Photo from Willow and Oak; Taken by Jordan Lum Hung

3) Custom Pieces = Custom Fit

In my opinion, one of the biggest complaints that we have when shopping overseas or online is the fit of the garments.

But think about it, who understands the shape and body of the Caribbean woman better than a Caribbean designer? No more trying to squeeze into pants that can’t get past your thighs. No more “putting on my pants” dance.

Shop local and embrace the opportunity to go to your designer’s studio in person, and have them measure and fit you to your garment of choice.

4) Makes Shopping Easier

Shopping locally can be an extremely personal experience. With many designers’ pieces on show in their own studios, you have the opportunity to meet and form meaningful relationships with the people who are creating your clothes and accessories.

Getting to know your designer makes shopping so much easier. It allows them to recommend pieces to complement your aesthetic, personality, and likes and dislikes.

That way instead of simply being presented with a room full of options, they can help steer you in the right direction.

5) Helps to Solidify a Brand’s Aesthetic

While most designers have an idea of who they would like their ideal customer to be (who they are designing for), it can be very helpful and beneficial for the designer to get to know the customers that are actually buying their pieces.

The more a designer gets to understand their clientele base, the more consistent their designs become over time, as they begin to modify their designs to suit their actual clients. This allows the brand to develop and helps to streamline the designer’s creative vision. 

Photo from Sanianitos; Taken by Matthew Creese
Photo from Sanianitos; Taken by Matthew Creese

6) Helps the Environment

Did you know that the fast fashion industry is one of the world’s largest polluters?

In order to meet the enormous demand for clothing, large garment factories often cut back on costs meant to regulate their environmental impact. The resulting amounts of waste and pollution produced are astonishing. This is because their goal is to produce large amounts of cheap clothing as quickly as possible.

When you shop local you know who your clothes are being made by, and you know that they are being made with love for you and the environment.

Local designers invest time into their pieces because their priority is quality. They are more likely to take into consideration the materials they use, and they are more likely to adopt waste-minimizing techniques.

If you’re looking for local brands that adopt sustainable practices, Nwannia and Bene Caribe are two of my favourites!

7) It Inspires Creativity

Nothing is more flattering and motivating to a designer than seeing a client thoroughly enjoying one of their pieces. It is this confidence that inspires designers to continue to create pieces that their customers will love.

8) Strengthens Brand Awareness

Building a presence on social media has now become an integral ingredient in the formula of successful fashion brands all over the world.

Through purchasing local pieces and posting tagged photos on various social media accounts, you are essentially broadening the reach of  local brands.

You increase their audience every time you tag them in a post, and help the talented local fashion designer to establish their brand in the local, regional and international fashionspheres.

9) Pride

There is something so special about wearing a piece that is authentically ours. Nothing can compare to the feeling of wearing something that says “Made in Trinidad and Tobago” on the label.

Once you experience that level of pride, you will always go back for more.