Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.
– Proverbs 31:25
Be the change you want to see in the world.
What is Conscious Fasion?
How can we live consciously when it comes to our clothing? To fashion? Unlike those lucky girls above, we don’t automatically get to wear beautiful, hand-embroidered traditional dresses. We have countless choices to make in the mall and online when it comes to decking ourselves out.
In the ever-changing, consumer-driven world of fashion, how can we make conscious choices and how does this enrich our culture?
(Don’t skip it! We will wait for you.)
If you are anything like me, then up until now your shopping has been motivated by one simple question: how can I look good and spend the least money possible? Yes, I am Scottish. And while over-shopping has never really been my problem, (I agonize over every purchase…) this video made me realize that I needed to make a change.
If I spend $5 on a brand new shirt, how much of that ever makes it back to the person who made the shirt?
And when, in a year, the shirt wears out because it is so cheaply made, do I just add it to the trash pile? My rag drawer can only handle so much!
Creating a Culture of Conscious Fashion
So how can I create a conscious culture through my fashion choices?
- I can buy less. Shopping should be proactive, not reactive. Instead of shopping for fun, I can shop for a true purpose. I can ask myself, “do I need this or do I just want this?” I can remember that it is not about having more, it is about appreciating what I already have.
- I can support honest companies. When I do buy clothing, I can do my research to find conscious clothing companies. Several companies use Fair-Trade practices, or hand-make their products in the United States, or strive for a lesser impact on the environment. While it is impossible to know exactly what went into the making of each product, something is better than nothing. (I’ll give you guys a list at the end of companies that I like to support.)
- I can buy quality that lasts. Good quality items last longer, and reduce the need to consume more. And often, conscious companies make better quality items. These items will cost more money, and that is going to require a definite mindset change on my part. But I can remember that by supporting good companies and buying less, my money is well spent, and spent less often.
- I can buy second-hand clothing. Although less glamorous than my other options, this is possibly the option with the biggest impact. I can combat a wasteful culture by buying and using someone else’s unwanted clothing. And honestly? I used to hate this option. But I recently found some awesome consignment stores in my area. Take a look in your area. You can shop second-hand and not feel like a Goodwill special!
Is it realistic to think that I can completely change the consumer culture around me? Not really. But I can change my culture. I can give my money to honest work. And when I get past the mindset that I need more to look good and be happy, then I find that I appreciate the clothing I do have. I remember how happy I was when I first found that cranberry colored cardigan. I wear it with joy. I take better care of it so that it lasts longer. I feel beautiful.
Conscious Fashion Challenge
Will you join me?
Let’s start with a challenge. I challenge you to find one outfit in your closet that you LOVE. I know you have at least one! Be thoughtful. Be creative. And then share it with us! Share on social media using the hashtag #blueshoesfashion
And then do it again tomorrow! How many days in a row can you dress beautifully, thoughtfully, and joyfully with the clothes already in your closet?
So I did promise to give you a list of companies that I like to support. But you have to promise me that you’re not going to go all crazy retail therapy on me! If you need something, scroll down to the bottom. If not, bookmark this page and come back when you do need something.
Still need to buy something??
Brands I Recommend
*Disclaimer: No company is perfect, no matter how hard they try. I recommend companies that seem to care and give some evidence of this. Some of these companies I have supported and can attest to the quality of their products. Others, I have not yet supported; (don’t buy what you don’t need right? Gotta live by my own rules!) these companies I recommend based on their mission and reviews.
- Patagonia: Many of their products are fair-trade, and you can also send back items for repair! Also, check out their Worn Wear site…this company hits all three R’s…Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, baby! (I own the Better Sweater, and I love it.)
- Everlane: This company is committed to partnering only with ethical factories, to using high quality materials, and to being honest about the true cost of their products. They also claim to make the “cleanest” denim around. (I own the linen crew sweater.)
- Darn Good Yarn: I didn’t know ethical yarn was a thing, but I guess it is. Plus, skirts made from old saris. Need I say more?
- Thought: This company uses sustainable materials, and encourages “slow fashion.” (They even ask on their site, ‘will you wear this 30 times?’)
- Cotopaxi: This company uses left-over fabric and llama fiber to make high quality, outdoor gear, guaranteed to last 61 years.
- Mamahuhu: This company employs previously unemployed artisans to hand-make beautiful shoes.
- Gitche Gumee: This company makes beautiful leather purses and bags…in their shop! If you are looking for USA-made products, this is a good one for you.
That’s it for now. I will continue to add recommendations as I find them! And if the prices scare you off with some of these companies, check their sale pages, or Patagonia’s Worn Wear, or Everlane’s Choose What You Pay.
Let me know what you think! And don’t forget to join in on the Conscious Fashion challenge using the hashtag #blueshoesfasion 🙂