Ethical Fashion + Sustainable Shopping
“Quality over quantity” — the new mantra being used by women to transform the way we view our wardrobes. This was the hinge of the conversation that stimulated our team as we sat down for the first of many roundtable dialogues creating intentional spaces to discuss the philosophies of womanhood — whether it’s debunking the deeply rooted faux pas of body positivity or helping a sister out with the latest eyebrow trend.
The expense of fast fashion, as we’ve come to see, is great and has made a negative impact on individuals and the environment alike. But still, the temptation to partake in the latest trend, snatch a deal, or spend our dollars flippantly is real. Our team sat down to rethink the way we choose to shop + dialogue around what it means for us as consumers to make a difference. Let’s listen in!
Blake [Assistant Editor]: I feel like a common struggle I have is being on a budget while still wanting to “keep up with the trends” if you will. Low price tags can be so tempting, but at what cost? The older and more aware I am of the realities behind a low price tag, the harder it is for me to confidently buy things.
Anna [Editor-In-Chief]: You guys, if you haven’t seen the documentary —
Ella Ruth [Editorial Coordinator]: THE TRUE COST!
Anna: Yes! It’s a must-see. I watched this film, and I don’t use this lightly, but it changed my life. Once you see it, it’s so hard to turn the other cheek. It really opened my eyes to the true cost of what inexpensive fast fashion is. It’s at the cost of the environment, and more importantly to women in factories with their babies on the ground while they work. I highly recommend it. It completely shifted my way of thinking. No more Forever21. No more H&M for me. That’s how we as consumers can make a difference — voting with our dollars.
Blake: Aisle 9 talks about living a life you can afford to love — and you [Anna] are still so fashion forward. You’re still buying things that you love, but you’re mindful of your purchases. How do you manage to buy clothing that you love sustainably + ethically while still living on a budget?
Anna: Vintage. I think that’s a great solve for the position that we’re in right now where we still want something fun that will inject some life into our wardrobe but we can’t spend $200 on one piece. I’m constantly scouring — Goodwill, Salvation Army, Cheap Thrills — it makes me feel creative. We recently did a clothing swap with some of my girlfriends, which turned out to be so fun.
Jamie [Staff Photographer]: Oh that’s a good idea!
Anna: I walked away with – you guys have all seen it – that amazingly weird denim cape. It makes me so happy!
Ella Ruth: What about brands? I know Everlane is so good and transparent about their sources + practices.
Anna: It makes me feel great to shop local. It’s helping our community, even if it isn’t 100% sustainable. It’s putting money where we can see it.
Blake: I think it’s all about thoughtfulness… I go into a store and it’s like “50% off the whole store!” …again. I know what they’re doing, but still, it’s tempting. You have to have the conviction. It’s almost like this social pressure [in a positive way] to be mindful — it just shows the power consumers have with their buying.
Ella Ruth: And when you think about it, fast fashion itself is rooted in “we’re going to have a new look every single week…”
Anna: More, more, more.
Ella Ruth: …So you think you have to have the next best thing when really, it draws back to the comparison game, which is a whole other issue. But when are we going to say actually, no, I don’t need that.
Anna: Quality over quantity.
Blake: Well, and it brings you back to style over trend — classic jeans, classic white button up and then being able to invest more in earrings that are handmade and trendy.
Anna: Yes. Great points. And I will say that in this shift, my personal style has become much more simple. If I want to invest in a good piece, I’m not going to buy something that has a time stamp on it.
Ella Ruth: Investing in classic denim that yes, might be more expensive, but are timeless and I can wear three days a week if I want to.
Anna: I’m going to invest in a great white button up. or a great pair of pants — something that, cost per wear, I can get more miles out of. Since I’ve made that choice, my closet is a lot more monochromatic.
Do you feel the shift + collective conviction of society right now to shop ethically and sustainably? Share your thoughts with us on Instagram!