Why I'm Phasing into the Ethical Fashion Movement - And Why You Should Too
Let's start being more socially conscious and ethical consumers.
Carina, what are you even talking about?
I am talking about becoming socially and ethically conscious of where, what, how, and why we purchase what we do.
First, let me give you a bit of background on myself. Until recently, I was a hardcore Capitalist. I am forever searching for the perfect outfit and I have never found it. My closet is never full. I didn't comprehend the word "savings" and I often joked that it was my duty to help stimulate the economy after the Great Recession of 2008 (which I'm still attempting to single-handedly do). I also often joked that I need to shop and collect things because if the world ever ends, I will have enough things to barter with. Funny, right? Sounds like a true Capitalist.
I won't bore you with my theories of how I think we have reached Marx's Fourth Tier of Capitalism in America. But I am going to tell you why we should all jump on the ethical fashion bandwagon now rather than later, because I think it is important as a society that we start helping those that need help and stop giving our money to people driving Teslas for fun.
Why should you become a more socially conscious and ethical consumer?
Because we have the power to change society with our money. We've already seen it happen after the most recent election. People began boycotting certain brands and companies for social justice and social change - and it worked. Then a few people began to see the big picture: It's not just a few companies that are perpetuating our current economic situation, but all of them.
Think about it like this: In a third world country, someone some where made that $8 shirt at Target for pennies on the dollar so you could buy five of them in different colors for $8 each. What if instead of buying five different color shirts from Target, you spent your $40 buying two shirts in neutral colors from a small, local shop that paid workers in another country living wages.
Is it so bad to forego five shirts for two?
Why do we even need so much stuff?
Simple: Society tells us we do.
Go on Instagram and look at all the bloggers tagging a million different brands for a couple thousand followers. Do you know what this does? It perpetuates Capitalism. "Quick, my favorite shirt is 50% off right now. Buy it fast before it's gone." And in our minds, many of us jump to buy the shirt because we just got a great deal, right? Not really. In reality, we bought another shirt that we will probably only wear a few times so that some CEO can collect a seven figure paycheck while someone in a third world country struggles to feed their children. Why are we perpetuating this practice?
What if we all stopped feeding into this behavior and only purchased from ethically conscious companies? Yes, it would cost more, but the revolution starts and ends with us realizing that we don't actually need as much as society makes us think that we do.
Think about it. Do your kids care if you wear the same shirt five times in a week? No. All they want is food and to jump on you while you're sitting on the couch trying to write a blog post (me right now). Does your husband care if you wear the same shirt five times? Hopefully not. And if he said, "I do," he's kind of stuck with you and your limited wardrobe. Does your employer care if you wear the same suit every day? No. As long as what you're wearing is work appropriate and clean, I would put money on the fact that most employers do not even notice if you wear the same outfit multiple times. So stop buying so much stuff. There really is no need or reason for a closet that you can rotate outfits for two or more weeks without wearing the same thing again.
Is this lifestyle change going to cost me more money?
To be an ethical consumer, you only need to do three things:
1. Be conscious of where you buy;
2. Buy less; and
3. Buy well.
I've carefully chosen the pictures for this post. The first picture shows me in a dress I got this summer for $20 at Target. I thought I got a deal. But at what cost?
In the second picture, my shirt was $8 at Target, but my jeans are Gap for Good, which ensures workers are paid a living wage and that materials are created in the most sustainable way for the environment.
In the picture to the right, my sandals were $20 at Target. My pants I got for $10 in Egypt from a local, small shop. I insisted on paying more than they asked because I wanted to ensure they made a living wage.
What is the point? The point is, you do not need to go throw everything away in your closet. If you did, it would be counter productive and actually create more waste. What you can do though is from here on out, just be aware of who is making your clothes. Ask yourself if you really need something before you purchase it. And don't just grab a deal because a blogger on Instagram is promoting it. In reality, that only puts more money into the hands of the 1%.
Over the next few weeks, I will be walking you through how to shift over to this ethical fashion movement if you're interested in joining.
I think you should join me. I think we should start a revolution.