In 2016, a few friends from Westmont College started a blog called Lighten Project, and I was inspired to think about where my clothes, shoes, necklace, and purse came from. How many people were enslaved in the supply chain to make my shirt? I decided that in order to love others, I needed to not support the companies that were creating unsafe working conditions and paying unfair wages.
BUT finding clothes and shoes that are ethically made, sustainably produced, cute and affordable is HARD! I have found myself giving in and giving up so many times. Over the past couple years, however, I have found some great brands and healthy habits that make wearing ethical and sustainable clothes possible!
In this section of my blog, I want to show you how I make buying ethical affordable and I want to introduce you to some great brands that I really like.
I know what most of you are thinking…
“I can’t afford ethically made clothing. It’s just so expensive!”
But before you throw in the towel just yet, hear me out. It is possible! It’s not always easy, but it is possible.
I am a teacher, so I don’t make a lot of money. Here is how I afford to shop ethically.
Less is More
I don’t buy a lot of clothes. I am saying no to “fast fashion” and buying clothes that are made to last and that are versatile. I don’t need 3 new dresses this summer. I bought one that I can dress up or dress down. Thankfully my kindergarteners don’t care when I wear the same outfits over and over again.
Thrift-stores, resale boutiques, Poshmark, etc. Buying used clothes means that you are not contributing to the making of another shirt by someone in a sweat shop AND it’s great for the environment AND it’s affordable! WIN, WIN WIN!
I set a clothing budget each month, and I make sure that I do not buy more than I have set aside for clothing. If I want to buy something more expensive I might save up two or three months of my clothing budget and then purchase it.
Find the Right Brands
Some brands are very expensive but other brands that are committed to sustainability and ethical standards can be reasonable. Naturally, clothes that are ethically-made cost more because you are paying for the person who made your clothes to have good working conditions and receive a fair wage.
Good news! Many brands that are committed to ethical practices also focus on sustainability so you can love others and love the earth at the same time!
If you follow my blog, I will share with you more tips for being a conscious consumer with your clothing, shoes, and jewelry. I especially can’t wait to tell you about some great jewelry companies that are empowering people, especially women, around the world.
* Photos from Albion Fit, Amour Vert, and Trades of Hope