Confessions of a shopaholic
As part of the Seed community, you've likely seen/ heard us use the phrase/ hashtag "#ChangeYourPantsChangeYourLife" but have you ever wondered where the phrase came from? Or, what exactly we mean when we say it?
Spoiler alert: it isn't just catchy copy that we use on our social pages. The phrase "change your pants, change your life" is rooted in real life and represents and conveys the phenomenon one often experiences after buying your first pair of Antidote Pants. While this isn't a phenomenon that is unique to me, it is definitely something that I have lived... it actually hit me quite hard and shook up my (former) shopaholic life, in the best way. There was an irrevocable change that happened for me once I had discovered Seed; I am living, walking proof that changing your pants can actually, literally (and for the better) change your life and I'm super excited to take over the blog today and share my story with you all.
In my life back when (pre-2015), which I now call "BS" (Before Seed), to say that I frequented the malls in town would be putting it modestly. In effort to stay on top of the latest trends, I reliably went shopping at least 1-2 times/ week. I knew when new stock arrived at all of my (at the time) favorite stores, was on a first-name-phone-number-on-speed-dial basis with store managers and, was the first call that more sales associates than I could count would make when looking to boost their sales on any given day. "Corey!" they'd whisper, as if they were about to tell me the world's juiciest secret... "We just got in a shipment of <insert trendy item of the day>. You've got to come see it; it will look soooooooooo cute on you", they'd entice. I fell for it more than I want to admit. I was completely absorbed in the seemingly never ending cycle of fast fashion.
One time, because of how often I shopped there and the amount of money I had spent over the years, a store that I frequented regularly took me and friend on an all-expenses paid trip to their flagship location in Vancouver to attend a VIP fashion show and launch party for their latest spring collection. While this probably should have been a red flag me, I just thought it was rad.
Not just my master bedroom walk-in closet, but EVERY closet in my house was FULL of clothes, jackets, accessories and shoes. Some of the items I bought and never wore and they would just sit there, tags on, never seeing the light of day until it was time to make room for more and I fished it out into a donation pile. But, the funny thing was, nothing about this seemed out of the ordinary. I wasn't doing any harm, was I?
I didn't know what I didn't know until I was presented a new perspective: the truth about fast fashion and the clothing industry.
There I was November 2015, out shopping... aaaaaaagain. This time, instead of being at the mall, I was out perusing a local market that was gaining popularity here in Calgary called Market Collective. The market featured local makers and artists and was a sure bet as somewhere to find cool and unique things that you couldn't find other places.
I remember walking up to the Seed booth, drawn in by the most interestingly designed pants that I'd ever seen. Having travelled to India and from being around my share of yoga studios, I recognized the harem design, but these were different. I wasn't a hard sell by any means- I simply, and true to my nature at the time, scooped up a few pairs of The Antidote Pant in different colors along with a couple of tops and asked the guy at the booth to ring me through. I was in and out of the booth pretty fast so, I left without really having learning much about the brand or their products; admittedly, I was more concerned that I got something new that not many others in my circle would have.
That night when I got home, I was going through my shopping haul and put on my new Antidote Pants. They were noticeably different than other pants I had in my closet- comfortable, cute and they just felt so...different. I couldn't put my finger on what it was but didn't think much more of it, added on one of the tops and then spent the rest of the day chillin' in my Seed clothes. As I was putting away the other pairs of pants that I had purchased, the clothing tag caught my eye and I noticed it was a meant to be saved and re-used as a book mark. "That's clever!" , I thought. And then I noticed the tag also said, "100% Ethically Made in Calgary AB, Canada". Now, I know how this sounds, but I am not afraid to tell one on myself here: I was totally confused! "How was clothing not ethical"?, I asked myself.
This led me into a wormhole of research, starting with a visit to Seed's website getting more related to Blake's story and the values of the brand. I was blown away that someone had thought about all the aspects of clothing in this way- the fabric, the people who wear it, the planet. Suddenly, it hit me- most of the clothing I bought and wore on a regular basis was produced overseas and exploited distressed labor forces. Almost all of my active wear was polyester and I had never once thought about the chemicals or toxins that I was wrapping myself in while I exercised or, what risk that posed to me and my health. I realized that donating clothes just got them out of my closet, what about where they went from there? And, what about all of the clothing that was produced that didn't get purchased? It ended up in a landfill and would never biodegrade if it was synthetic.
I didn't know what I didn't know until I did and I gained an education pretty darn fast once I had discovered Seed.
I began asking myself really important questions about the clothing that I had already and more importantly, about any new article of clothing I was considering. I started only wanting locally made, natural fabrics. Having the latest trends mattered less to me; what I cared about was supporting brands, and not just clothing brands, who thought about and put people and the planet first.
Over time, my new awareness and regard for what matters most caused a change in the beauty products, food, household products and even pet products that I chose. And, no longer was I going to the mall 1-2 times per week, I was getting outside with friends more often, I was attending community events that I had never considered before and was making new, likeminded friends who, like me realized that they could make a difference in the world through small, individual change.
My closet now is about 1/4 the size of the walk-in that I had in 2015 and I share that space with my husband. Although I re-homed most of it, I still have clothes from back in my shopaholic days. And, I am proud to say that I now strive to follow a "buy better, buy less" principle when/ if I shop- I stick to more classic designs and quality fabrics that will last over time and, I look for locally made (starting with Calgary, then Canada, then USA...), natural options; this feels more authentic to me than chasing the latest fast fashion trend ever did.
So, this is literally the story of how changing my pants changed my life and explains the meaning behind the phrase which, essentially represents the power of The Antidote Pant and Seed as a brand to transform thinking and actions that make a difference for people and the planet. It's as they say, once you see something you can't un-see it.
The transformation didn't happen over night; what transformation ever does? But, over time, little by little, my life was definitely transformed and in so many ways. I am forever grateful for that day that I stumbled upon Booth #2 at Market Collective. I'm proud of the awareness I gained about the fashion industry and for taking on making a difference with my buying choices even though I am only one person- I now know myself as an empowered consumer who chooses to spend (vote with) my dollars on what is most authentically aligned to me.
Corey, great blog. I’ve had a similar journey, with not as many trips to the mall. Thing with fast fashion, buying FF is just buying FF! I too had an eco social awakening when I could no longer wear certain synthetic fabrics as I had developed a sensitivity/allergies to poly anything and likely some dyes. Once you start wearing natural fabrics you never go back to what I call plastic bags. Also very true about you can’t un-see the eco social issues. I wear my Seed knowing I am the change.
This is so beautifully written and spot on…very nicely worded and straight to the point. I love how much it informs the ill informed about their clothing and the choices people, unaware and sometimes aware make about their bodies and what they out on or in them. Keep up the good work and shine bright in all that you do. Your amazing.
All the blessings and much love to you and your husband