Last week, I opened the topic of ethical clothes shopping. If you haven’t read the first part, go back and catch up before reading this, where I will share a few tips on approaching clothes with a more conscious mindset.
1. Discover the garment’s backstory
Before you buy, learn more about the company or the garment. Consider where the garment is made, what the material is, and worker treatment/factory conditions. If you don’t know where to start, the internet is a great resource. If a brand has some sort of skeleton in its closet, Google will probably make it evident fairly quickly.
2. Shop for ethical brands
Surprisingly, many of these brands are pretty accessible. For example, you may not know that American Apparel clothing is made right in downtown Los Angeles, where all of its workers are paid above minimum wage. Some of the other most widely available brands include Earnest Sewn and Everlane. Another LA-based company is J. Brand jeans; their manufacturing process was detailed in a really unique and raw article from Fashionista.
3. Even better, shop locally
It is likely that a small boutique in your neighborhood will know exactly where their products are being sourced and often have close relationships with the designers they buy from. Fortunately, San Francisco is at the center of this movement and there are so many great stores right here in the city. Some of my favorites are mira mira, Ambiance, and Weston Wear.
4. Buy less stuff
Even though sometimes we feel like we need a certain pair of shoes or jeans, at the end of the day, the more you buy, the more stuff you accumulate. Be mindful of the quality and quantity of items you purchase. Even if you love that $12 pair of shoes from Forever, could they really have been made by someone earning a proper living? In addition, purchase second hand clothing and sell anything you no longer want. If Goodwill scares you, there are so many apps now that modernize the entire process. My favorites are Poshmark and Mercari!
5) Make a difference!
In today’s day and age, social media is an enormously powerful tool. If you are interested in getting more information or bringing more awareness to an issue, use the resources you have. If you call a company out for their actions or even just want to ask them a simple question, it will be available for everyone to see and that company is publicly held accountable.