Sustainable and Ethical Fashion 101: Q&A

Part 1 I Part 2 I Part 3 I Part 4

Here we are (finally) at the end of our journey! I know I pushed back this post by a few days and then that turned into two weeks! I’m so sorry about that. Mom — and Covid — brain truly gets the best of me sometimes. In this last post in the series, I want to answer some questions that have come in from you guys — my blog, IG and Facebook followers — about sustainable and ethical fashion. We have been on this journey now for five (OK, really seven if you add in the delay) weeks and I hope you have learned a ton. I love doing series like these because it gives me a chance to really go in depth into topics for you guys. I love and thank you for the opportunity to share this information with you.

So now, without delay, here are the answers to some questions you have sent me throughout the series. And, if you think of any more, simply comment on this post and I’ll be sure to answer!

1. How can we hold large retailers accountable to ensure they highlight sustainable and ethical brands?

  • With policy changes. If we have learned anything in 2020, it is that your vote really does matter. Sure, we can use our dollars and shareholder votes to hold companies accountable. But honestly, we can’t buy our way to accountability and large companies with shareholders to please will be among the last to make long-lasting changes. But we can elect government officials who can push and promote environmental initiatives, ethical standards, and fair labor practices that align with our own personal values. You know why other large industries made sweeping, overarching changes for the betterment of the environment? Because, in a lot of cases, the government mandated it. When we vote for and elect officials we make many choices about our future, including the kind of environment we will live in. And, if there isn’t a candidate that is pushing any of these agendas, consider becoming one. Just a thought.
  • With our dollars. There are two ways we can use our dollars to enact accountability and change. The first way is by taking our money AWAY from brands that don’t align with our sustainable and ethical values. That looks like ditching fast fashion, for example. But we can always put our money TOWARDS brands that do align with our values. That could mean shopping for slow fashion, local fashion, and BIPOC brands. If you hurt people in their pockets they will eventually take notice.
  • With our shareholder votes. If you own stock in any retailer then you have shareholder votes to use. It is important to pay attention to the votes and what’s on the docket. A lot of times people don’t vote and it automatically counts as a vote that the company may want. But if we pay attention to these votes, we can use our voices to impact change.
  • With our voices. You know why people take to Twitter when they have an especially bad customer service experience? Because NO brand wants to run the risk of going viral for all of the wrong reasons. Their teams take care of social complaints in an expeditious manner and then politely ask you to take down the tweet once all is forgiven. Use your voice on social media to express your desire for accountability and change. Share information with your followers and friends. Talk about it, even casually, with your family. Every single one of us has influence and we can use it to make positive changes. And, if you don’t want to complain, use your voice to promote the good work you see brands doing. Highlight those companies that you think are getting is “right” and encourage everyone you know to check them out!

2. What are some reasonably priced sustainable and ethical brands?

In addition to the brands highlighted in Part 4 of the series, I recommend you check out the following:

You can also check out some clothing rental and resale/consignment brands, including:

3. Is it OK to still wear the clothes I already own from fast fashion brands?

Of course it is!! You’ve already purchased them and so you might as well get your use out of them. As we talked about in Part 3 and Part 4, building a sustainable and ethical wardrobe takes time. I want you to still be practical about it. There is no need to get rid of clothing that is in perfectly good condition simply because you purchased it from a fast fashion brand. Keep wearing and enjoying it. When the garment has reached the end of its life-cycle as clothing, think about how else you might be able to use it. Could you cut up a t-shirt or sweatshirt and make it a crop top instead? Break something down for cleaning rags? Know someone learning to sew? Pass along the clothing for practice scraps. Somebody got a new puppy or kitten? Maybe the owner needs some old t-shirts for the doggy crate or kitty bed. This journey is all about changing our mindset, how we look at everything we use, and being more thoughtful going forward. There is no point in beating ourselves up for past decisions.

Saturday Style Chat: Sustainable and Ethical Fashion

October 24, 2020 at 11 AM

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 865 2759 7428

Passcode: 249185

If you enjoyed this series, want to learn even more, or have additional questions about sustainable and ethical fashion then you don’t want to miss our upcoming Saturday Style Chat featuring Lucy Bedew, owner of Wanderlust Wardrobe. We will be talking about sustainable and ethical fashion and all about her sustainable, size inclusive boutique.

Thanks so much for being a part of this incredible sustainable and ethical fashion journey. I hope you enjoyed reading the series as much as I enjoyed creating it!