by Sarah Schwarz

Vegan, kosher, halal, no parabens, sulfate-free, organic, ethically- produced, eco-friendly, handmade, cruelty- free, modest- all these key words that we rarely hear for sometimes, are all over the place, all of a sudden.

What is going on?

There has been a great shift in consumer attitude towards shopping in the recent years. It’s unlike before, people tend to look at the value of the product more than its price tag. And that is the trend!

Few weeks ago, we featured the amazing revival of Hanfu in China and we realized how much people are changing in the way they look at clothing; its is not a piece of garb to cover ourselves but an emblem of our identity.

In recent years, the market growth of Halal products that ranges from food to beverages, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, to travel and tourism, rose to over a trillion dollar economy. Not only because of its Muslim consumers but also health- conscious non- Muslims who started patronizing Halal products too, because it is healthy. And Halal means that the products are sure to have no contamination, that they are ethically- produced, which assures consumers a guilt- free shopping experience.

Alongside eating healthy, consumers tend to look the other way also when it comes to fashion, hence the success of the modest fashion revolution. People came to realise that they can wear whatever they want. This allowed them to break free from the dictates of the runway trends, and instead look at value and meaning. And again, modest fashion which started among the hijabis in Instagram, now reached every doors of religiously- conscious individuals or just average individuals who just want to cover up. The movement gave courage to fashion consumers, especially women, to feel confident about their personal choices. Nowadays,the modest fashion trend is not only selling to Muslims but to all fashion- conscious individuals as well, regardless of faith affiliations.

The above are the two majour examples of “conscious consumer” trend. For our honourable mentions, we acknowledge the “Biodegradable” movement which promotes vegan and plant-based products that replaces plastic and leather. Plastic straws were replaced with paper, grocery wrappers with plant leaves, water PET bottles to become edible,  wooden spoons or recycled laminated papers cutleries instead of plastic. Even leathers will be replaced with a material derived from Cactus plants that looks just as good.

Another honourable mention is the Recycle and Upcycle movement. Fashion items that are made from it also getting a place in the consumer wish list, and you wouldn’t know they came from scraps and discarded items, and sometimes garbage. This movement that started long ago addresses the issue of pollution and climate change.

It is not that halal or modest fashion, or handmade or sulfate- free products was invented only yesterday, they were already practiced long ago. Our behaviour as consumers change over time. When instant food came into the market during the Industrial revolution, had everyone excited, and it sold. Because our access to fresh home- cooked meals were stolen from us by our busy lives. But as our health deterioriated with every instant food we eat, we realised it is time to stop and eat healthy. Nowadays as more and more people look at the ingredients, studies how they are made and where they came from, as consumers started becoming conscious, the more we see that Halal food items are healthiest stuff that you can put into your basket. The Halal that we see as a small sign on some canned goods in the past are now almost in every product and every shelf in the supermarkets. What used to be a tradition only practiced among Islam’s followers now holds one of the biggest expo in North America such as Halal Expo Canada.

Our conclusion is that the global conscious level of consumers started realizing that Halal is healthy, that modest fashion is not only for muslims, that the universe have only one livable planet for humans and all other living things to survive, and we need to take care of it.

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