So today I though I’d talk about something that actually has a bit of meaning and importance behind it rather then just a random assortment of items I’ve been loving this past month. I’ve been noticing for a while that we as a society are obsessed with consumerism. We need to buy everything new, we need it and we need it now. We are addicted to buying and buying and buying more but how often do we stop and think about the impact of our purchases? Not just on our own bank balance but on our fellow human beings and our planet. Let’s face it, we don’t. We all know our clothes are produced in sweat-shops we just don’t like to think about it.
Now I’m as guilty as anyone for this so I will try my best not to be a hypocrite. I’ve joined in, bought the fast fashion that’s popular each season and ended up doing a massive declutter as result of it. I’ll not lie half my wardrobe is made up of Zara and Topshop and I’m pretty sure they aren’t the most environmentally or people friendly items I could have bought but we as a society in the western world are ignorant to the abhorrent conditions going on in factories in the likes of Bangladesh, Cambodia and Vietnam where our clothes are mass produced. However recently I’ve been trying to think more carefully about my purchase choices, as the consumer we run the show at the end of the day- if we don’t spend the money and direct it in a more ethical direction, the powers that be will notice.
The first thing I’ve been thinking before buying an item of clothing is how often will I wear it? It’s inevitable that in this day and age we will still want to buy from the fashion giants- even I will, so if you are going to purchase from a big name brand that exploits third world workers that dress had better be bloody worth it. I’ve been asking myself will I wear it at least 30 times? If not then I don’t need it, I won’t miss the thought of it in a couple of months when it’s on the sale rack at the end of the season.
My next tip would be to buy vintage, give an item a second life and save it from being sent to landfill. It’s okay to wear something that’s not new, in fact often these items have a lot more character, get yourself down to your local charity or vintage shop for a forage and you wont believe the things you come across. You may have seen in my Holiday Haul that I have recently given a new home to a vintage denim jacket and I love it.
I recently watched the documentary The True Cost on Netflix, which I would advise everybody to view by the way (I think it’s also available on Amazon), it’s very eye opening as to the processes and immoral, corrupt company ethics that go into making our clothes. The film directed me to look more towards ethical clothing brands that are marked as Fairtrade or brands which use organic ingredients with less of a negative impact on our environment, where pesticides and GM crops are not used. Not so fun fact for you, did you know that the trillion dollar fashion industry is the 2nd most environmentally damaging industry behind oil- just something to think about when you are mindlessly buying anything within arms reach just because it’s on a sale rack.
If you, like me would like to look into some more informed and worthwhile purchases, I’ve compiled a list of 9 brands which for one reason or another are ethical and make for a smarter consumer.
–Peopletree: This is a Fairtrade clothing organisation, which uses organically sourced cotton and pays it’s workers a decent wage and most importantly provides a SAFE working environment for people who would otherwise have no choice but to work in the harsh conditions of sweat-shops. The designs are modern and current – I am in love with the selection of jumpsuits, buying thoughtful fashion does not have to mean ugly, this company would be a great start if you want to explore further the world of slow fashion.–Gandy’s Orphans for Orphans: You will probably all remember the awful Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004, well these 2 brothers tragically lost their family to the disaster but they honoured them by creating a line of flip flops which has spread to an entire clothing range. The pair donate 10% of all their profits to Orphans for Orphans, an organisation which has already seen the opening of an orphanage in Sri Lanka, with hopes to open more worldwide, including Nepal very soon. So if you fancy buying someone a thoughtful gift or you’re off on your holidays, spend a little more and buy a pair that means something. – Made: This selection of jewellery and bags are handcrafted in Kenya, these beautiful designs are made with traditional techniques and the company provides sustainable employment in one of Africa’s poorest countries. These beautiful jewels would make a perfect gift with a story behind it, all whilst aiding a worthwhile cause. – Sand Cloud*: I mentioned this brand in my Holiday Haul, they are a beach accessories company who focus on towels and t- shirts, with 10% of their profits going towards marine conservation to help save our oceans and beaches. Instead of buying a cheap towel that you will throw away after one holiday (we’ve all been there) why not invest slightly more and get a quality product that will last for years. You can use the code MeganHarv25 to receive 25% off your purchase at checkout. – Thought: This is another slow clothing brand which uses organic cotton, bamboo etc. All the products are made in the same place so the carbon footprint is low, as items aren’t been transported during the production process. The brand has a modern feel to it and uses sustainable materials which is more tan can be said of a lot of high street brands. – Matt and Nat: So this brand offers Vegan alternatives to leather bags and they are gorgeous. The styles are as gorgeous as any other designer (they’ve been featured in many a magazine) and unbelievably the ‘leather’ bags are made out of cork, cardboard and recycled bottles- honestly go look for yourself you wouldn’t even know. If you have a vegan or Veggie friend who you want to spoil for their birthday or in fact just anybody who wants to be a bit more animal friendly, check out these bags. The lack of leather also means water supplies in poorer countries aren’t being contaminated with the tanning agents used on real leather items.
– Patagonia: This one’s good for sports, swim or outdoors gear if that’s you bag. This brand is Fairtrade certified so yet again you know your clothing is coming from a more ethical, sustainable source. The brand aims for clean, safe working environments for workers offering a living wage to help improve the lives of impoverished people whilst still offering gorgeous swimwear.– My Sister: So if you’re a fan of a sassy slogan t-shirt this one is for you. The brand aims to fight sex trafficking of women around the world, they offer jobs to survivors so they can support themselves and build new lives away from poverty and the dangers of sexual exploitation, they also provide after care for victims to aid them through aftermath of the traumatic experiences these women have faced. – Sea Salt: You may be more familiar with this one if you’ve ever took a stroll through Cornwall. This beachy brand produces almost all of their products right here in the UK. They use organic cotton that hasn’t been touched by any nasty chemicals and makes for a soft finish on their lovely sailor vibe t-shirts. I hope you like this post even though it’s a little bit different. Let me know your thoughts in the comments and tell me if you know about any ethical brands to look into!
- Brands marked with * are affiliate links but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
- Disclaimer: Images curtesy of brands are taken from brands websites and are property of the brands not myself, all links to the original image are linked below the images.