I'm defining "ethical shopping" as clothing and accessories that is environmentally and worker friendly, and this post isn't meant to make anyone feel bad or guilty or shame anyone who buys cheap clothing out of necessity. The free market isn't going to end slavery or the environmental problems associated with fashion--the responsibility to change begins with governments and the producers themselves. It's important to remember who the bad guys are, and it isn't the person who maybe honestly can't make the lifestyle change to be a more conscientious consumer.
Don't buy anything: This is the only way to shop ethically--by not buying anything. Think critically of anything you want--do you actually need this? Love and cherish the things you own, or alter them. At the turn of the last century, people altered clothing they own to match current styles. From collars to sleeves to waistlines, people kept what they owned for years and years--not just one season. Not everyone is as gifted with thread and needle these days, but we have YouTube now, and there are plenty of "hacks" to update your regular Ts into cold-shoulder tops and almost anything you can think of. If you loved the embroidery trend, why not watch a few videos and learn how to do it on your own? This used to be what gothic fashion was about. Altering what you already owned reflected your journey of self in a way--plus it looked a whole lot cooler.
|When I stopped dressing cybergoth, I added some patches to this neon pink vest for a more wearable punk look. Also, obviously I've worn these shoes for ...almost 20 years now lol.|
Buy from ethical companies who manufacture where you live: Environmentally friendly companies who give living wages to their workers are next best. I rate this above buying used, because the majority of the clothing sold at used clothing stores comes from unethical companies, because that's what the majority of what people buy. If a person who shops the hottest trends at a fast-fashion store drops off a garbage bag of last-season's clothes at a goodwill shop, it's still a toxic model. If you must buy something, I think it's better to support ethical brands who deserve to exist.
|All old American Apparel (except the bracelet)...I miss the old American Apparel so hard...|
|Thrifted, from Beacon's Closet in NYC|
Buy or barter used, online: Same as buying local, but shipping and shipping materials are not green. Plus you may be buying from a place like Amazon, which does not treat its workers well.
|Bought these Black Milk leggings second hand on Poshmark--much cheaper too|
Shop local: If need to buy something and either can't afford or don't have access to the previous options, try to buy local. Walk on over to your local department store or wherever you shop. It's good for your local economy and, depending on where that store gets its clothing, it might be greener than buying online. Plus you get to try it on before you buy!
|Trying on a Nanette Lepore dress at my favorite department store, Century 21|
|A cotton jacket with metal embellishments that I ordered online from Lip Service|
An acrylic necklace that I still love and wear!
Thanks for reading!