Early this year (and clearly bitten by the January Resolutions Bug), we cleaned – nay, overhauled – our closets. I shared the process in this post, which included the 8 simple things you can do right now for happier mornings as you get dressed and ready for the day! But our closet clean out didn’t stop there; it continues daily with a vow to work harder and smarter towards making the more ethical choice in fashion. To be clear, I am so far from being a leader on the topic, but we’re here to learn from each other! We’re taking the first steps. We’re putting in effort. If you haven’t yet, take a read through the comments on that post. You’re so thoughtful in your efforts towards sustainability, and it was really inspiring to learn your take. You make us want to do better.
What does it mean to be ethical?
The definition of ethical (or eco or sustainable) fashion is so incredibly vast, that I think it can feel overwhelming to know where to begin. The definition alone can be the trickiest part to navigate, so I’d like to preface this by saying: Do your part where you can. Try for your best. If you’re questioning your choices in the first place, you’ve already taken the first steps towards the more mindful choice.
But if I can get technical for a moment, to be ethical in our shopping choices encompasses more than just the physical textile. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t want to flub this, so I’ll quote the most clear-cut definition I could find:
Ethical Fashion is an umbrella term to describe ethical fashion design, production, retail, and purchasing. It covers a range of issues such as working conditions, exploitation, fair trade, sustainable production, the environment, and animal welfare. (via)
Consider shopping secondhand.
Perhaps the easiest first step we could all take towards supporting a more circular economy would be to shop secondhand. I’m constantly amazed by our friend and neighbor who has the most incredible thrifted wardrobe, and she owns it. Scott and I love a good flea market or vintage furniture shop more than anything, but when it comes to clothing, we know this is an area where we could improve. In college, the thrift store was my second home, and looking back, I miss that creativity and thrill-of-the-hunt when it comes to finding a unique piece. If sifting through those (admittedly overwhelming) racks of clothing sounds daunting, consider a more curated online approach, such as ThredUp! You can even earn cash or credit when you send them your gently used clothing, too.
So, in summary…
I’m making this list for me as much as for you, because I could stand to put better practices into place. This list is far from complete, but I’ve pulled this list together using the brands you mentioned over and over again in the closet post that started it all, as well as my Instagram callout.* I’ve also double checked these brands against their personal mission statements, a quick Googling and a new-to-me app, Good On You. Good On You has incredibly strict guidelines, and I’ve found that it’s important to read all of their notes on each brand to determine if it’s right for you. Thank you for your feedback, and feel free to leave additional sources for us all in the comments!
*To keep this post from spiraling, I’m sticking to fashion. However, there could easily be an entire post dedicated to beauty and home! Perhaps you’d like to leave some of your favorite beauty and home brands in the comment section? Here are a small handful of our go-tos to start: Thrive Causemetics (I love and use their setting powder), Glossier (cloud paint in puff for life), Milk Makeup, Schoolhouse and Rejuvenation.