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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

I come from a time when the word ‘local’ was synonymous with ‘cheap quality’, something which should not be your first priority to buy. It was the time when brands were alluring and going to the mall for shopping made you look cool. 

But times are changing and trust me, it’s for the better.

The Era of Brands

While huge brands do appear more fashionable and ‘elite’, we must understand what goes behind those glossy shopping bags and huge sale signs. The trend of expensive lifestyle brands has an American origin. Malls and showrooms were initially a western concept and entered India during the process of globalization. While this opened up the economy, giving consumers more options in terms of variety of products, quality and price range, it also gave a boost to capitalization in our country. While capitalization is not inherently a bad concept, we cannot ignore the fact that it created a gap between the haves and the have-nots. 

Shopping at these international brands became a symbol of wealth. If you did not have a pair of Ray Bans or a Gucci bag, you were simply not cool enough. 

Although these big companies started with the noble idea of giving the consumer better quality products, the world changed and so did people’s priorities. Now, it was not about the quality of the consumer’s experience but the money that went into the business owner’s pockets. When a company grows, it acquires more employees, the chain of command expands and the structure becomes more hierarchical. The companies that once were (somewhat) nobly led had now become completely profit-oriented. And that naturally led to exploitation of labor, production of cheap quality goods and even higher marked prices. The products were completely mechanized and had no human touch whatsoever. While this was an alluring factor in the olden days, today our lives are filled with technology and so, mechanical production is no longer satisfactory. Not to mention, many of these big companies are committing environmental sins. They do not care about the natural resources they exploit in their race for money.

Local Is In

If you were diving into the sale bins at the mall a few years ago, now is the time to shop local. With the growing realization among the masses about the unethical way many big corporations regulate, people are starting to return to local companies and sellers. Buying a chicken dish from KFC is much more unethical than buying a chicken from a local supplier and cooking it at home. It is much more sustainable if you go for small businesses. Plus, if you choose to buy local, you will be supporting local people directly. Your money will not add to the already-heavy pockets of rich CEOs but will contribute to the daily income of, perhaps, a single parent who is trying their best to stay afloat during month-end or a struggling college student who can now buy their expensive course books. 

Buying local is great because you get to skip the numerous overhead charges like the cost of distributor, retailer, delivery, etc. You are buying your products straight from the creator. There is also a possibility of haggling (if you are good at it because honestly, I am not). Buying local is lighter on your pocket. Also, you get a product that has a story behind it and not just another piece from the assembly line. If you buy fabric from a boutique and then get a kurta custom-made from a local tailor, that kurta will be blessed by so many hands (not to forget, it will be a perfect fit for your body type!).

So, how can you buy local?

Humans have been exchanging goods and services since communication was made possible. Check out your local bazaar! Also, after the pandemic and people’s shift to the digital world, social media platforms like Instagram also serve the purpose of connecting small local businesses with potential customers. There are a ton of artists, creators, artisans, etc. offering their services and goods; all you need to do is slide into their DMs. 

Of course, it’s not always easy to find something that is ethically produced, fits in your budget and is available as per your taste. So give yourself some time to make the shift from ‘brands’ to ‘local’. Not everyone has the resources to buy expensive handmade products and that’s okay. You have to pick your battles. Buy local when you can; it still counts. Just remember to not worship big international brands. Invest in local businesses to invest in a better economy!


Delhi South '22

Yashica (she/her) is an undergraduate based in Delhi, India. A student of Lady Shri Ram College for Women, she is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature. Her poetry has been published by Sapphic Writers, The Red Megaphone, AsianZine, and The Write Order. She is also the coordinator of the creative writing society of her college. While she briefly worked as a content writer, she usually finds herself writing about the grotesque realities of the human psyche and society. Her work ranges from horror fiction to confessional poetry. She also writes about Dalit issues and her experiences as a member of the queer community.
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