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There’s shopping mindlessly, and then there’s shopping consciously, which means thinking about where you’re shopping, the quality of the item you’re purchasing, and how and where that item was made. When you care about more than the price or trend-factor of a piece, you want to shop with ethical clothing companies.
Ethical clothing brands are companies who care about more than the bottom dollar. Instead of turning out massive amounts of cheap, trendy clothing, these companies work to ensure the products are made with care and environmentally-friendly materials. Oh, and bonus, they do everything they can to ensure the people crafting these items work in safe, rewarding factories for fair pay.
Why Does Ethical Fashion Matter?
Ethical clothing companies are changing the way the fashion industry operates, but more importantly they’re working to take care of the Earth and the people living on it. These companies have a conscience. You could continue shopping on the cheap at places that specialize in fast fashion, or you could use your money to buy well-constructed items of clothing you’ll keep for years and help to support this shift to environmental, economical, and social consideration.
Many of the clothing items sold by major retailers are made in factories on the other side of the world. These factories don’t always have safe working conditions, and the employees are commonly overworked and underpaid. Despite the long, dangerous hours, they still struggle to support their families. This system only benefits the company. It doesn’t benefit the employees, the environment, or you.
Switch your mindset from cheap and convenient. When you shop with ethical clothing brands (of which you can find a lot of options through a Google search), you’ll contribute to the change these companies are trying to institute and you’ll help people from all over the world make a living through their craft. Isn’t that more important than scoring six v-neck t-shirts for $25 from Old Navy?
Yes, you’ll pay more money for your clothing and accessories, but those items will last you much longer. Shopping this way also keeps you from shelling out money for pieces you only kind of like. This benefits you and your finances in the long run, just like it benefits all of the people working through fair trade certified companies.
These brands sell high quality fitness gear, but they also do their part in bettering the world.
PrAna is committed to sustainability. They’re a Textile Exchange member and go to great lengths to guarantee they use quality materials to contribute good to the world. In addition, they’re committed to transparent traceability so you can see exactly where your item was made and how all materials were gathered.
They use organic cotton, recyclable materials, and work with Fair Trade certified factories to produce their clothing.
This company is Chicago Fair Trade, and its products are entirely organic and recyclable. A portion of the proceeds of each sale go to aid global poverty and environmental relief efforts.
Non-GMO cotton is the basis of Yogiiza’s clothing. Their items are made in Peru because the country has better human rights standards, and they are the biggest back of the charity 305 Yoga Gangsters (a group that teaches yoga to underprivileged kids, single moms, prisoners, and all other at risk groups).
For the Men in Your Life:
This is where you want to go for artisan made products to gift the men in your life. They work with people all over the world to bring you locally made products from around the world.
Good news: everyone’s favorite boot maker is doing its part to improve the world. Timberland is dedicated to ensuring its products are made in fair, unbiased work environments, using recyclable materials, and giving back to the communities. You and your man need matching pairs of yellow Timberlands to do your part.
Compared to other luxury fashion brands, Stella McCartney is a saint. The company never uses leather or fur in any designs, so it’s perfect for those vehemently against animal cruelty.
Every step of the fashion process is monitored closely by Everlane. They work tirelessly to find factories that will uphold ethical work practices and make sure that doesn’t change. No workers are subjected to less than fair pay or treatment when under their watchful eye.
Symbology’s main goal is to empower women around the globe. They use artisan textiles from India to create unique, fashion-forward pieces, and pay their craftswomen livable wages that can support their families.
Raven + Lily
Devoted to empowering women, Raven + Lily specializes in working with at-risk women in Cambodia, who hand-screen and sew each garment. They currently employ “1,500 marginalized women at fair trade wages” in order to help better their lives in every way and break the cycle of poverty.
There are tons of ethical clothing brands out there—more than you can probably shop from, honestly. Do your part to support fair trade and recyclable materials by researching your favorite brands. If they aren’t making efforts to be more conscious of the Earth and the people constructing their garments, then consider finding a similar item from a more thoughtful company. Ethical clothing companies produce high quality items that will last you for years, and your business will help support the men, women, and children who rely on these companies for survival.