In June 2018, I decided to participate in Fashion For Good summer challenge of not buying any new clothes. I posted about my first month and failed to post my second because life can be busy. I saw the post for the challenge the first Saturday of June and decided I wanted to do it and grow more in my ethical lifestyle and journey. Did it help change anything? To be honest, this summer was busy and with personal things getting in my way of wanting to blog and research, I did not center my summer around this challenge. No one had an expectation of me following through with the challenge but I wanted something to keep me accountable.
(PS: I made the top from ethically sourced fabric from Offset Warehouse during the challenge and my skirt is ethically made also)
During the 3 months, this challenge did get me thinking, “Does not buying clothes really help people?” Fashion for Good promotes ethical and sustainable living- clearly, something I care for. I saw the good in taking a break from buying new items of clothing, creating less of a demand to produce more products (therefore using fewer materials) and causing sweatshops to slow down. However, the challenge had some failures. The failure in the challenge was not that I didn’t get new clothes for my personal gain but I was not supporting companies that were going against fast-fashion, by creating livable wages for employees overseas and creating a model for the fashion industry to follow.
A Few of My Favorite Companies:
Elegantees– Employing human trafficking survivors from Nepal.
(The mustard yellow skirt is from Elegantees)
The Tote Project– Hiring survivors or women vulnerable to human trafficking. 10% of their profit goes to Two Wings, non-profit fighting against human trafficking by providing educations to high-risk areas.
Krochetkids– Providing skills and livable wages to employees overseas instead of aid and goods.
(This top is coming in the mail 😏)
Ssekos– Empowering women by employing them to help fund their way through college.
Symbology– Artisans across the globe, making a livable wage by creating clothing in their tradition.
(Received this pink kimono from my Spring Cause Box!)
There’s are more companies out there but those are the ones I’m familiar with and have some items from already.
Is it possible to only buy Fair Trade clothes?
Yes and no. Having a six-figure salary will guarantee me of only buying Fair Trade clothing and really Fair Trade everything. I have bought second-hand when I really needed a particular item and could not find it from an ethical company or was not able to pay the cost. However, I can choose to buy more ethically made clothing when I chose to buy something. I can buy Fair Trade clothing when they are on sale and enjoy a discount for signing up for their Newsletter (which is what I did with KrochetKids as I was writing this post). When I want to purchase new clothing, I will find the ethically made option first.
If you have the chance to buy an ethically made item, do it. Do your research, find a company that uses sustainable materials, is known for respecting their employees, and values their craftsmanship. You may be surprised that some of the ethically made items are the same price or slightly more than the standard retail vision. If second-hand is the option you have to pick because of a budget, then do that. If you somehow you can’t do either, buy something and make it last.
Most conscious consumers would say buying ethical should be second or third to secondhand/using up what you have. Those are good options and I recommend them as well. I just would love to see more people go the ethically made route because it is giving an individual a livable wage. It will create more opportunities for people and my hope is those individuals who were once working in sweatshops will be able to work for a Fair Trade company. We vote with our wallets, I will be voting for more respect and livable wages. I will choose to buy ethical products when I can before buying second-hand. This is the thing I will be taking from Fashion for Good summer challenge, being mindful to buy ethical first.