As a continuation of my own learning arc after reading Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, here are eight ways we can all shop ethically…
- Only buy what you love. This is the critical first step because I observe so much shopping that is deal-driven, rationalized because of sales/promotions/marketing. Step back and ask yourself: “do I love it even for twice or three times the price? Do I have one just like it? Would I be willing to get rid of one thing in order to buy this new thing?”
- Prioritize quality. Given a limited budget, buy 5 things instead of 10. Case: $195 Rag & Bone denim jeans, made of Japanese fabric, sewn and cut in the U.S.A. vs. $69.95 Gap jeans made in Bangladesh, or Sri Lanka, or China.
- Wear more than once. I meet people from time to time who think they should only wear an outfit once if they’re truly stylish. Please! Maybe they mean trendy? Style is about a signature, forming a connection with your wardrobe, and truly living in it. Wear until it is begging for retirement.
- Where is it made? Demand transparency and above-living wages for workers. Find brands that are committed to this, or ask your favorite mainstream brands to become more committed to this.
- Scrutinize composition labels. Organic Cotton, Wool, Cashmere, Tencel, Modal, Silk, Hemp, Linen ✔︎.
Acrylic, Polyester, Rayon, Viscose (Rayon), Cotton (typically grown with pesticides).
- Consider ecological-/animal-friendly alternatives. Stella McCartney. Organic. Recycled synthetic fabrics. Reformation is a chic LA-based womenswear brand committed to sustainability.
- Shop vintage/resale. Where available and practical. I’m not suggesting you spend a day at Salvation Army, but the internet is a wonderful playground of preowned fashion: eBay, Tradesy, Vestiaire Collective, Grailed.
- Rent rather than buy. Hello…Rent-The-Runway! And by the way, it isn’t just for runway looks…some dresses retail for as little as $225 and rent for $30.
- What Does it Actually Mean to Shop Ethically?, Racked, 8/22/17
- 10 Things You Can Do to Shop More Sustainably, Racked, 8/22/17 **I disagree with shopping online; supporting local brands, retailers, independents, and salespeople directly boosts your local economy**
- Everlane’s Quest to Make the World’s Most Sustainable Denim, Fast Company, 8/23/17
- Op-Ed: An Alternative to Consumerism Does Exist: The Performance Economy, Business of Fashion, 8/17/17