Often, it is easy to fall into the trap of impulsive and mindless consumption. You step into the mall, see something you like, and the next thing you know you are walking out of a store with a paper bag in your hand. You feel good and satisfied with your purchase. After all, it is something you adore.
“I learned to want less. And if I do want something, it’s wanting substance,” - Mo Vivar of Denuo
Words by Tricia Quintero & Photos by Ivan Grasparin
Consumption nowadays are almost instantaneous, and with the additional layer of online shopping, it makes it even more accessible and easy for consumers. People all over the world are buying more clothes than ever. We can attribute this to the growing fast fashion industry where mass-produced trendy clothes are sold at affordable prices with quick turnarounds. While this may sound like good news to the industry, it also has an alarming effect on the bigger picture – the environment and the society. Fast fashion businesses can mass-produce while keeping the prices of their products in check primarily because of cheap materials and labor. Not to mention, the apparel industry makes up 10% of the global carbon footprint. This is where the need for sustainable and ethical fashion comes in, and luckily there are more and more brands that are striving to provide alternative options to drive sustainable and ethical consumption. One of those is Denuo.
Denuo is an online boutique which serves as a platform for sustainable and ethical retail. They do this by ensuring that their products undergo eco-conscious sourcing, production, and even marketing. Eco-conscious to them is taking every step necessary to ensure that all aspects of their operations are sustainable and doesn’t harm the environment. As a sustainable brand, they aim to help lessen the carbon footprint.
Their products are primarily reclaimed used and vintage clothing. The Denuo team goes to different places in the Metro and even outside the country in search for unique and stylish items that they can repurpose or sell to their clients. They make sure that their products are in good condition before putting them up for sale. With the goal of keeping their brand sustainable, they hand wash their products using essential oils, and then they are sun-dried. Their process might be tedious and laborious, but it is further proof of how they do everything with utmost care – both for the product and the environment. Even their delivery system stays true to this. For orders in Metro Manila, instead of using traditional couriers, Denuo uses Pedala, a bike messenger delivery system.
Denuo prides itself as a brand that’s aware of the community that it’s involved in, its impact to the future and the present, and how it reflects to the past. They understand that when you have a brand, you have a power of influence and that it’s very important to know what you can do.
They don’t aim to force their advocacy to people, but rather they want to provide their customers with a choice. “It’s all about empowering them as a consumer,” said Denuo founder Mo Vivar. “It’s about letting clients decide what has meaning for them.”
The terms sustainable and ethical consumption may seem intimidating for people who are starting out, but for Denuo it all goes back to responsibility. It’s taking control of what you buy. When you are empowered and when you take responsibility, you are not just a mindless consumer who purchases because of marketing and advertising influence. However, this is easier said than done, with consumers surrounded by ads and temptations to purchase, it is difficult to not get carried away. The impulsive shopping culture brought about by fast fashion is one of the biggest challenges anyone needs to face. When asked how she counters this, Mo said that the drive for sustainable consumption is also linked to mindfulness.
“I take responsibility for what I buy. Sometimes you just don’t want to think about it, and you want to just buy it, but over the years I’ve practiced being more responsible. It’s hard work, but like with everything, with repetition, it becomes a habit. Soon, it becomes second nature to you,” she shared.
“I learned to want less. And if I do want something, it’s wanting substance,” she added. “Once you start practicing thoughtful consumerism, you start to think of your purchases more critically. You start to ask why more. Whenever I buy something, I automatically ask myself ‘Why do I love it?’ ‘What purpose does it have?’ or ‘Why do I need it?’ It’s being aware and responsible.”
While sustainability is a serious topic and business, it is not a difficult lifestyle. It all boils down to caring – for yourself, for your community, and for your environment because if you start caring for these things, you will undoubtedly make the right decisions.
As a consumer, it’s important to understand how much power and capability you have to drive impact. After all, it is only until we change our habits as consumers that we start to see the effects. It ultimately brings you joy when you start to see consumption as sustainable and ethical because then you will be making meaningful purchases. It’s not that we should stop buying altogether, but it’s about buying less and buying better.