Tuesday, January 17, 2017

First Steps to An Ethical New Year


Is "ethical fashion" something you have caught wind of, or have known about, but can't wrap your mind around what that change in your life would look like?  If that's you, feeling stuck in making the switch this new year, I'd love to lend some personal advice on how to take the first steps. 

1. Choose. Whether going dairy free, implementing weekly exercise, or starting a job search, we all know that making any sort of positive change in life requires a choice. As for myself, I seem to be far more successful at starting and sustaining a change if I've made a decision to do it.  Don’t sit on the fence in an apathetic culture that constantly RSVP’s Maybe to Facebook invites.

Tip:  If you want to be successful at changing your consumer choices, share your decision with friends and family! Accountability goes a long way in motivating us towards our goals, especially when we know that it's written plain as day on our Instagram. ;)

2. Inspire. Yourself, that is! It takes very little time these days to search and find tons of gorgeous Fair Trade, vintage, handmade and other ethically produced products on the Internet.  Even if you aren't in a place to buy anything new at present, I totally encourage browsing in order to expand your horizons about what's available! Following ethical bloggers is also a great way to see how stylish responsible consumerism can be! If you have some feelings of separation anxiety from your favorite brands, they will quickly melt away when you see the unique and quality crafted, ethical items that are available!

Tip: Start a Pinterest board for the gorgeous ethically made items that you might invest in down the road-- believe me, it makes Target and Modcloth seem much less tempting.

3. Clean. Now, don't misunderstand. I believe that ethical style means moving forward, not looking back.  That said, when sweaters at H&M are $8 a pop, some of us may have been guilty of getting twelve different colors (when we actually only wear three). Do not, by any means, feel like you need to get rid of already purchased items that are quality and/or that you wear often-- you'll notice in my posts, that I have kept certain items purchased unethically long ago, because they are high quality staples in my wardrobe. That dress that you always try on but never wear, though? Maybe that one needs to go, to make space for something better.

Tip: Know that by recycling things you don't wear, to places like Goodwill or independent thrift shops, you are making another form of ethical consumerism possible: Thrifting! That perfect red J.Crew cardigan that you found at Savers for $7  last year would not have been there, if Jane hadn't admitted that she never wears red. Donate and thrift, thrift and donate-- it's a pretty amazing, sustainable cycle. :)

4. Save. Time and money, that is. Are some Fair Trade, vintage and handmade garments going to be more expensive than Walmart? Yes, but most are actually on par, or cheaper than popular stores like Banana Republic, Anthropologie or Urban Outfitters. What's more, ethically made products often have far more attention to detail and high quality craftsmanship than their non-ethical counterparts.

One thing has surprised me more than anything, that ethical style is extremely fun! Not only can you be rest assured that your dollar is doing good, but shopping thrifted, handmade, vintage and small, ethically produced brands generally ensures that your wardrobe will consist of unique items that can't be found in your average shopping mall.

Have you successfully made the switch to shopping ethical? I'd love to hear if there are any tips you would share, or how you've maintained the decision to be an advocate of slow fashion. :)

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