The Buyerarchy of Needs

We've decided to use a “Buyerarchy” of Needs as a visual “how to” in pursuing ethical fashion. We hope it will give you inspiration and motivation in regards to the many ways you can pursue conscious shopping. We encourage you to see where on the Buyerarchy your shopping habits can fit into!

The Buyerarchy of Needs is an adaptation of the popular image that represents “Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs”. This image is based on Abraham Maslow’s “Theory of Human Motivation” in psychology, where Maslow describes patterns of motivation that humans go through.

Sorry Maslow, we are here to talk ethical fashion, so let’s re-focus on breaking down the Buyerarchy!  

Work With What You Have

The #1 goal of every ethical shopper! This is where we try to get creative with what we have and recognize that shopping less is actually a fantastic contribution to a fashion movement that aims to reject mindless and wasteful shopping habits. To get all deep about it, this is where we realize that having new clothes doesn’t make us more fun or attractive, we all have beautiful souls that outshine what we wear!


Create, design, repair, experiment, there are a lot of ways to use clothes you already have in new ways. Pinterest is a great place to look for DIY ideas for pieces you are not sure what to do with


Lighten up, share the love! It is highly likely your friends are delighted and flattered to lend you something you find completely adorable in their wardrobe. At the same time, make it known to your friends that you are happy to lend them  some clothing for their special event, or suggest something from your wardrobe that would look absolutely stunning on them. Create a culture of communal clothes amongst your crew and you may be surprised at how easily it satisfies that nagging desire to have a new outfit.

My New Neighbour tip - create a “communal closet” with the people you live with as a space to keep clothes you don't mind sharing!


I could really use that black rain jacket you never wear, and you have always admired my denim jacket that doesn't fit me quite right.. let’s SWAP! Swapping can take many forms and is an efficient way to get a new wardrobe item for free.

My New Neighbour tip - make the swap less formal and more fun by inviting a bunch of your friends over with the clothes they don’t wear anymore. Divide the clothes into appropriate categories and let everyone mingle and shop, for free! My New Neighbour recently hosted a swap that we will be posting about soon!


Oh the wonderful adventure of thrifting! What may seem like a time intensive burden quickly becomes an exciting treasure hunt once you begin. Thrifting gives clothes that are not ready for the landfill an opportunity to be used again. You can aim to shop at charity thrift stores that directly support awesome causes (such as Women in Need or WorldServe) or you can shop at the large chain thrift stores like Value Village.

Consignment is another form of thrifting that allows you to make some extra cash for your clothes or purchase higher end clothing at a fraction of the original cost. Once you get going, thrifting quickly becomes a thrilling adventure and shopping at the mall becomes totally mundane.

Buy (with intention)

Ethically made clothing is a lot easier to find than you may think! A quick google search can lead you to a lot of resources within your city. Think quality, timeless pieces when you do buy. If you followed the Buyerarchy then you have hopefully spent a lot less money on clothes and can afford to invest in a quality garment that has given it’s creator dignity and joy. We will be posting about all of our favourite ethical brands that we hope will inspire and excite you to shop ethically, so stay tuned!