Discussing sustainable practices in art and design

By Lorenza Mezzapelle


While ethical consumption is something that we think of when it comes to clothing, it seems to be dismissed in regards to furniture and other facets of consumerism. With sustainability being an increasingly prominent topic in our everyday lives, it is important to think about adopting sustainable practices, both as an artist, and as a consumer, of works of art and design. While we tend to reflect often on the purpose of the works we purchase- their value and aestheticism- it is rare that we think about their effect.


With the recent release of studies and articles in The New York Times and other news sources shedding light on the current climate condition, I have taken it upon myself to be more thoughtful when it comes to not only what I am wearing, but also to how I am living. Not unlike the scientists and reporters who facilitated the release of this information, I was already aware of the condition of the planet. These reports just prompted me to act.


Scrolling through the multitude of posts from lifestyle bloggers that grace our Instagram feeds can make it difficult to not want to shop and redecorate our homes. Yet, we neglect the ramifications of the pieces of art and decor we buy on our environment, in an effort to remain trendy. Similarly to when it comes to shopping for clothes, it is possible to be more conscious and still be stylish.

We get it, the MALM is cheap but if we’re being honest we can’t differentiate it in your space from anyone else’s. Shopping locally as opposed to at chain stores is a great way to support your local businesses and find a unique piece that is reflective of your character. For those willing to spend a little more, working with woodworkers or other artisans to create a custom piece is another way to find the perfect piece for you. On another note, browsing flea markets, thrift stores, bazaars, and even garage sales are a great way to find great art and decor with flair and personality.


How exactly does this help the planet? Buying items that are made locally reduces CO2 emissions; the less planes and trucks used in transportation, the lower the carbon footprint that is left behind. Moreover, supporting businesses around you promotes your city’s culture, trades and crafts, provides work opportunities for artisans, and for those of you who are business-inclined, helps support your local economy.


Implementing these simple changes when shopping for art and decor is an easy way to be more conscious about the items that you are bringing into your home. Not only will you help save the planet but putting more thought into your purchases will truly allow for you to develop your own sense of style. Purchasing items that are less trendy and more timeless will ensure less waste and help you put together your own covetable, Insta-worthy home.