Last week I put together a small travel capsule wardrobe based on our Italian holiday, so today I thought I’d stay on the subject of trips! But this time I wanted to approach it in the context of shopping while travelling, and share my reasons to buy local.
Before I tell you my views though, I’m curious to know what you think about shopping on vacation. Do you plan ahead, reading up on what the area is famous for, and stocking up on those items? Do you go for a spur of the moment purchase, adding a truly thrilling piece to your collection at home?
Or do you not pay much thought to the whole process-or maybe not even buy much on holiday? Whatever your case may be, share it in the comments! And of course, don’t forget to also give me your 2 cents on my views on buying locally:
It supports local businesses and designers
I often hear people complaining about big fashion chains taking over, and us ending up with the same stores everywhere. So if that’s something that concerns you, I encourage you to try to buy local when going somewhere new.
By shopping items produced in the area you are visiting, you are directly supporting the local economy. You are encouraging local manufactureres, and potentially smaller businesses to keep their doors open and further their craft.
By digging a bit deeper, asking questions about your purchases, you may even learn more about the people producing them!
You may find that you just bought from a local artist that the community is very proud of.
Or that you are now in possession of a stunning piece from a young designer, who you are helping thrive and grow their atelier.
Someone who will pass on their craft and knowledge to the next generation of creative manufacturers.
And I don’t know about you, but as a Business graduate with a penchant for style, that really lights a fire in my heart 🙂
It can lessen the environmental impact
A while ago I shared a few fashion sustainability principles which I apply. Some ideas that I think are easy to adapt and adopt in one way or another by most of us out there. And shopping locally is a principle that can do just that: help you purchase more sustainably!
If the items you are buying have been sourced and manufactured locally, there is less need for lengthy transportation and for storage facilities.
Which in turn means that less fuel is needed and less emissions are produced. So in the end, your carbon footprint gets diminished when you buy local.
Of course, circling back to my first point, this means that you dedicate some extra time and effort to asking about the clothes or accessories you are considering buying.
But here’s the great thing:
I’ve found that most of the time, the shop personnel are more than willing to share what they know about the items. Even more so if they are the owners/producers!
So don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation and ask for the info you need. And of course, keep your eyes peeled for production and material labels on the inside of the garments.
You discover unique pieces that suit you
This is one of the best reasons to consider buying local, rather than at your more well-known high-street brands. If you are indeed bored of seeing the same clothes everywhere, the same shoes made with the same materials, the same old jewelry when you’re looking for something specific…
Then give local brands a chance to WOW you!
A quick example: majolica prints are some of my favorites. And they have been picked up and reinterpreted by major brands, making me think about shelling out the big bucks for a dress or a bag here and there (looking at you, D&G!)
But the truth is, I could have finally bought one of these reinterpreted pieces anywhere in the world, from London to New York to Tokyo. And they would have looked just the same. It would have been impossible to tell where they came from!
So was I happy to find a majolica-lemon print dress in a little Italian boutique in Capri, homeland of lemons and azure waters?
And not only did it save my quite some money, but I also walked out feeling like I bought a little piece of the island to bring home with me.
A piece I will always remember fondly, and which will always remind me of the Capri sun, sea and limoncello…
Because that’s the thing when you buy local-it’s almost impossible to find the exact same piece someplace else.
The items are special, and they are unique in that they stem from a certain country or region’s background. And they will likely not be the same replicated elsewhere.
You learn to appreciate your purchases more
Vacation purchases are often small trinkets, or run of the mill acessories that are being sold a dime a dozen, and produced in pretty sketchy conditions. But once you decide to buy a select few items that embody the local spirit, you will have something much more special on your hands!
When you invest more time and attention into what you buy, you start being more present. And by enjoying the moment and shopping mindfully, you transfer more of your energy into the piece you are taking home with you.
Not to mention adding layers upon layers of memories you are creating every time you reach for those items.
Like the straw hat you bought spur of the moment at a handmade products market, that accompanies you on every travel after that.
Or a cuff bracelet which perfectly captures the spirit of Roman warriors-and makes you feel empowered next to your daily power suit.
You know-just a little detail whose story and memories belong only to you.
It enriches your experience
In the end, I full-heartedly believe that buying locally enriches your experience of the country. Seeing new places is great, but there are so many more things worth experiencing in a new country!
Trying traditional dishes, shopping at a typical market, learning about the local resources. Getting informed about the history, the art and the products. Chatting with the locals! These are all part of immersing ourselves in the local culture, and they’re what gives our holiday that special feeling that we want to carry home with us!
Of course, our memories are what we hold most dearly, and pictures are there to help us remember. But sometimes we want to bring back something more.
Maybe it’s that rich dress we saw in a small boutique. Or that particular perfume that will forever smell like a certain place for us. Or even a simple scarf we remember tying around our tanned wrist.
All those tangible objects that breathe the air of a different place. And of a different us.