I think we can all agree that there is a lot of bad stuff going on in the world, so the last thing you’ll likely want to hear from me is that you have something else to worry about. Sorry, but I’m going to tell you anyway: the clothes you’re wearing right now probably had a negative impact on people, animals and the environment when they were being made.
The good news is that you can make easy changes to the way you shop that will encourage brands to source their materials and manufacture them in an ethical way. I’ve put together 5 shopping tips and lots of resources to help you make your wardrobe more ethical.
I’ve also shared a video of my minimalist wardrobe + an update on my own journey at the bottom of the post. You’ll see that I’m still just scratching the surface, but I’m happy with the progress I’ve made so far.
First things first, here are those tips I was telling you about:
1) Don’t Buy It.
Most of us already have all of the clothes we need, so instead of buying more, we should start by working with what we already have. The benefits of buying less make it worth the sacrifice:
– Less laundry to do
– More money in the bank
– Smaller environmental footprint
2) Get It Used.
Finding quality used clothing is a lot easier and more socially acceptable than it used to be. Here are some fun and easy ways to find used clothes you’ll love:
– Plan a clothing swap with your friends, family or co-workers
– Scan the racks at thrift shops like Value Village and Salvation Army
– Search for used or vintage finds on Etsy
– Shop for vintage and repurposed clothes on sites like Preloved and Ursa Major+
3) Buy It Fair.
Fair Trade means that garment workers are paid a fair wage for their work. Here are some brands you can feel good about buying from:
– Patagonia has a certified Fair Trade line
– MEC has a certified Fair Trade line
– Armedangels uses Fair Trade cotton
– prAna has a certified Fair Trade line
– Indigenous has 100% certified Fair Trade clothes
– American Apparel are 100% made in the USA
– Yoga Jeans are 100% made in Canada
4) Buy It Vegan.
Vegan clothing means it doesn’t have wool, feathers, silk or leather in it. Here are some fun brands & stores that the animal lover in you will appreciate:
– Vegan Cuts sells vegan wallets, bags, accessories & more. I also work for them <3
– Toms has a nice selection of vegan shoes and accessories
– Alternative Outfitters is a 100% vegan boutique
– Moo Shoes has 100% vegan shoes, boots, accessories and more
– Herbivore Clothing sells 100% vegan clothing
– Cruelty-Free Culture has 100% vegan apparel with compassionate messages
If you’re interested in learning more about how to veganize your wardrobe, you should check out the free Vegan Cuts Fashion Guide for tons of information and inspiration.
5) Buy It Organic.
If you want to avoid the nasty chemicals and pesticides that are used to grow almost all cotton worldwide, you should try the organic options from these brands:
– MEC cotton clothing is made with 100% organic cotton
– Patagonia cotton clothing is made with 100% organic cotton
– prAna has an organic cotton line
– Indigenous cotton clothing is made with 100% organic cotton
– H&M has an organic cotton line
– Armedangels cotton clothing is made with 100% organic cotton
Here’s a peek at how things are going on my end:
My Ethical Clothing Journey
When we sold our house in 2012, I downsized my wardrobe so that we’d be able to travel light. I watched as many YouTube videos as I could find to see what other people were doing to minimize their wardrobes without compromising comfort, practicality and functionality; then I did the same.
Since then, I’ve been careful about only buying clothes when I really need them. If I do have to buy something, I try to get it used first. If I can’t do that, then I try to buy something that is vegan, organic and fair trade. As a last resort, I’ll sometimes buy something that isn’t organic or fair trade, but I’ll make sure it’s good quality so that at the very least, I’ll be able to use it for a long time.
Here’s a breakdown of my 25 piece wardrobe* by category**:
– 64% Bought New
– 28% Bought Used
– 8% Received as a Gift
– 100% Vegan
– 24% Owned for more than 2 years
– 20% Fair Trade
– 8% Organic
*not including undies, bras, socks.
**the percentages won’t add up to 100% because most pieces fit into more than one category.
And here’s a peek at my minimalist wardrobe:
I hope you find these tips useful! If you have any questions, ideas or suggestions – let me know in the comments or send me an email!
Happy exploring :)