For much of my life, I shopped almost constantly and brought hundreds of new items into my closet each year. Over time, I came to realize some of the negative consequences of my behavior, but I thought those deleterious effects were limited to the confines of my personal closet, bank account, and relationships. It was only after I started my recovering shopaholic project that I became aware of the ways in which my overshopping was also harmful to people outside of my inner circle, as well as to the environment.
When We Know Better, We Can Do Better
I am still a neophyte when it comes to the vast topics of ethics and sustainability, but I am eager to learn more and change my shopping behavior. I know that for many years, I was a much larger part of the problem than the solution, but now that I’m coming to know better, I can also do better. Some of the resolutions I’ve made to mend my shopaholic ways will also help me to be more ethical and sustainable, including buying less, aiming for quality over quantity, and wearing what I have instead of always looking to buy more.
Those are wonderful steps we can all take to make a difference related to the way our shopping impacts the environment and the people in other countries who produce the clothes we wear. We can also buy from manufacturers who produce garments using sustainable fabrics and ethical practices. Such companies can be difficult to find, but here are a few links that can help point us in the right direction:
- Better World Shopper – Clothing Rankings
- SweatFree Communities – Shop with a Conscience Consumer Guide
- Ethical Consumer – Clothing Buyers Guide
Many bloggers have also started to write more about the topic of ethical shopping and I plan to share the best posts with you from time to time, as I know that many of you are also looking to do better. Today’s installment includes seven articles – some recent, some from a while back – that cover various aspects of the ethical fashion question.
Posts on Ethical Fashion and Shopping
This informative article was written by Shannon Whitehead, a sustainable apparel consultant who was also the co-designer of the Versalette. Shannon explains six big reasons why we should care about what’s in our closets. She also links to resources where we can learn more about the serious issues she raises. Did you know that there are chemicals on our clothes? Scary, but true!
This post on “Into Mind” is a collaborative effort with Emma of “This Kind Choice.” Included are tips for how to find out whether a brand is ethical, some examples of ethical brands, and a useful flowchart for guidance on developing an eco-conscious shopping strategy. A key point made in the article is that an eco-conscious approach to fashion is not solely about buying from eco brands. It’s also about avoiding excessive consumption, repurposing things you already own, and buying for quality.
Sally from “Already Pretty” explores a variety of issues in this comprehensive post, including ethical manufacturing processes. The main crux outlined is that consumers have very high expectations for the clothing we purchase. We want variety, quality construction, low prices, local production, and ethical practices all at the same time, but such wishes don’t match up with the realities of the marketplace. If you read this article, I also recommend you explore the comments section, as some excellent points are made there as well.
I had never heard of the blog A L’Allure Garconniere, but the tagline has me wanting to read more: “A critical take on fashion culture.” This post is in response to some questions from a reader on various aspects of ethical fashion. Two topics explored are whether second-hand buying is automatically considered ethical and if it’s okay to buy “fast fashion” brands in resale shops. Lots of links are included within the article for those who want to learn more about the issues in question.
Over to You – Your Thoughts and Links
I hope you enjoyed this “useful links” post. If you come across any helpful articles on the topics of ethical shopping and sustainable fashion, I invite you to send them to me for inclusion in a future post. You can also share them in the comments section of this post.