Shop second hand! Shop vegan! Shop small! It seems as if everywhere and everyday we’re being told how to shop. What to buy and what not to buy. We wanted to go over these terms to help us all better understand what they mean and what they’re meant to promote. Before we begin to go over a couple of these terms let’s just forget the notion that we have to shop a certain way or that we are better or worse for doing so. Here at Mela, as we always say, it’s never about perfection but about trying and living without constraints!  

First we have shopping vegan or plant based. This is for those of us who want to try shopping for products that aren’t made out of animal-derived materials and aren’t tested on animals. Luckily for us, nowadays many popular items are made in a vegan alternative. Take the Adidas Sambas for example. The original is made out of leather and suede–two materials that are made from animal skin. Adidas makes a vegan version!

Second hand shopping, what is it? Also referred to as consignment or thrifting, this means buying clothing that has previously been owned by someone else. You can find unique pieces and  items with years under their belt. The beauty of buying second hand clothing is that you’re able to give a piece a new life! Combined with the nature of overconsumption and short trend-cycles, you can even find pieces brand new with their original tags. Going to a Goodwill or local vintage store to look through clothes can be a fun activity with friends. If that’s now for you,  there are sites and apps such as thredup, Poshmark, and Depop where you can both sell your clothes and buy second hand from your couch. Sites like Poshmark and Depop you’re able to buy directly from sellers and interact directly with anyone you’re selling to. This is a great way to find one-of-a-kind pieces. One tip from us is to always be conscious of what you’re buying. There are many people who only have access to shopping second-hand. So if it’s nearing winter and you’re able to afford new gloves, think about leaving that last pair at the thrift store for someone who may not have access to getting a brand new pair. Also, this is why it’s always a good idea to donate your clothes or sell through consignment!

When you hear “shop small,” think about Mela. This means shopping from and supporting small businesses. We’re a small business that makes products out of apple-based leather. When wanting to support small businesses, think about many independent sellers on places like Etsy instead of going straight to Target. For our fellow New Yorkers, you can support small businesses buy buying coffee from your local bodega or coffee shop, getting flowers from a local vendor. Yes, perhaps it takes more effort, but you’re giving back to the community you’re a part of.

Here at Mela we’re about promoting a community that lives in the present, but considers the future. These are only a few of the many terms thrown around concerning shopping habits. Now that you’re more familiar with them, try out incorporating these habits and sharing them with those around you. You are allowed to feel confident that you not only look good out in the world, but that you are doing good for the world as well. 

January 17, 2023 — Neel Elsherif