About a year and a half ago I read the book Overdressed by Elizabeth Cline and it started me on a journey to be more intentional with how I spend my money especially when it comes to fashion items such as clothes and accessories. I want to be a better consumer and so now when I go out to purchase a new item I do a little more research on where the things I buy are being purchased and what the company is doing to make sure they are not abusing or taking advantage of vulnerable populations in our world for the sake of cheap products.
Here are some things you can do to be a conscious consumer today:
1. Take a look at the price of the item and the quality of the item. We have gotten so used to paying close to nothing for our clothes and going through them so quickly that we have created not only an environmental issue (over 15 million tons of textile waste in created in the US each year) but also a humanitarian issue. Each item we wear is made somewhere by someone and yes some things are manufactured by machine but those machines are manned by people. Many workers in countries like India & Bangladesh work in sub-par conditions for long hours for below living wages.
2. Look for quality over quantity. Sure it's super fun to buy a new shirt every week but buying one quality made garment will last longer, you'll probably be happier with it in the long run and you won't feel as bad spending a bit more on it. Also, look for natural fabrics such as organic cotton, linen, silk or wool. Synthetic fabrics that end up in landfills take longer (or never) decompose.
3. Look for B Corp or Fair Trade Certified companies. Both of these organizations work to certify and oversea that companies are ethically sourcing and "considering the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community and the environment,” according to the organization’s website.
4. Don't be afraid to ask questions. I know it can seem like a pain but it really only takes a minute to click on the "contact us" button as the bottom of your favorite brands website and ask them one or two questions about where and how they manufacture and oversea the production of their goods. I have found that companies that I have reached out to respond quickly.
5. Support local businesses. I love when I see the Amazon truck coming down the street as much as anyone BUT I find myself more and more pausing to see if there a local shop that I can support that carries a similar or the same product. I have gotten to know small business owners and felt more a part of my community through this as well and a side benefit is that I don't have to break down loads of boxes and fit them in my recycle bin.
If you're looking for a good resource for brands that are practicing sustainable and ethical practices The Good Trade has a bunch of lists that have become my go to guide.
~Don't just survive, "thrive"
See you next month!