Spring Sprang Sprung

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Even though winter never really happened in Alabama this year, there’s still something magical about the transition into spring. Warmer weather and longer days yield outdoor adventures (my favorite) and reacquainting myself with my hometown after four years away at school. It’s amazing to see all the new places that have popped up since I’ve been gone, and with only a few months left before the big move, I’m trying to experience all the worthwhile and unique things this place has to offer. Lately, I’ve been really enjoying seeing movies at the independent movie theater and walking across the street to one of the two non-Starbucks coffee shops in town afterwards. The last two movies I saw there were I Am Not Your Negro and Paterson, and I highly recommend both. Now, they’re playing a documentary on Russian avant garde art, and I’m itching to go see it.

I picked up this bodysuit in the American Apparel sale, and since it doesn’t quite fit my office’s business casual dress code, I haven’t had a chance to wear it until now. Paired with an old pair of jeans, my comfiest shoes, and a backpack, it was perfect for walking around downtown, drinking coffee, and snapping photos.

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What’s your favorite thing about your hometown?

– Lauren

Milestones

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Since I started buying only ethical fashion, I’ve been accumulating ethical clothing here and there and incorporating it into my outfits with the pieces I already owned, replacing fast fashion items with ethically-made ones as needed. The result of which has been outfits made from a mix of old and new and new-to-me pieces, and the ultimate goal has been to slowly achieve a wardrobe comprised only of ethical clothing. Which is what makes this post so special for me; it’s the first post I’ve done where every single thing I’m wearing was purchased ethically. My sweater is from a consignment shop; my jeans are from a seller on Etsy; and my boots are from Poshmark.

There are so many people who think shopping ethically is out of their reach when there are so many ways to practice conscious consumerism even if you don’t have money springing from your fingertips. It may seem silly, but I’m so excited to have reached this milestone, because in a very small way, it signifies the possibility of making sustainable changes that make the world better. I’m excited to continue cultivating a conscious wardrobe and contributing to a more compassionate world.

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– Lauren

Ethical Shopping on a Budget | 03

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I recently wrote a post reflecting on my first year of cultivating ethical shopping habits, and being on a budget, I learned a lot about how to put my principles into practice in spite of my financial obstacles.  Over the past few months, I’ve been sharing my tips and tricks for being budget-savvy while sticking to your principles and supporting an important and worthwhile cause: workers rights around the world. So without further ado, here’s Part 3 of my Ethical Shopping on a Budget Series.

  1. Take it in steps. Replace your clothes on an as-needed basis. When I first switched to buying only ethical clothing, it was months before I made my first clothing purchase. In the meantime, I was a little discouraged because I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing anything. I couldn’t afford a complete wardrobe overall, which was what I needed to rid my closet of fast fashion brands, and I felt like maybe this lifestyle change I felt so passionately about was nothing but good intentions. When I thought about it logically, however, I recognized that for the fast fashion pieces I owned prior to making the switch, the damage had already been done and that getting rid of all of it was not only financially impractical but wasteful. What I decided to do, and what I think is the most viable option for most people, is to incorporate ethical pieces into my wardrobe on an as-needed basis. Whenever my basic white t-shirt from Target wore out, I replaced it with an ethical one from Les Sublimes. When I needed some business casual clothes for my new job, I picked up a few skirts from a consignment shop. This was not only more financially feasible but also more suited to the slow fashion mantra that less is more.
  2. Instagram is your friend. When I began to write blog posts about ethical fashion, I would try to promote those posts on Instagram using hashtags that were geared toward conscious consumerism, slow fashion, and sustainability. In using hashtags such as #haulternative or #fashionrevolution, I was able to discover so many small ethical clothing companies. In fact, the majority of brands listed on my Fair Trade Clothing Companies 1 and 2 posts were ones that I discovered through Instagram. As someone who is passionate about learning more about slow fashion and supporting small businesses, this was a win-win.
  3. Shop off-season. Though shopping secondhand is a really great way to shop ethically, there are times when you just want to treat yourself to something new, and I understand that that’s not always possible when that Reformation dress you’re eying is $200. For me, the key to shopping from ethical brands, which are understandably more expensive than fast fashion brands, is to wait until the end of the season sales. So I’ll buy winter pieces in the spring and summer and vice versa. My reasoning behind this is that seasonal pieces go on sale when the season is over, but also that brands tend to tack on an additional discount for the end of the season. For example, in Reformation’s end of the year sale, they gave a discount worth 40% off of all items, even sale items. I found a pair of pants in the sale section that were originally $150, but between the original markdown and the extra 40% off, I snagged them for about $40. What I’m getting at here is wait until the end of the season and shoot for the double sale. You’ll some really great deals on high-quality pieces that will last you a while if you do.

For this outfit, I mixed some of my old fast-fashion stuff from years ago with some new-to-me pieces from my latest Etsy purchase. My striped top has been in my closet for years and will remain there until it’s coming apart at the seams. These jeans are my new favorite clothing item. I picked them up from a vintage shop on Etsy, and I’ve been wearing them non-stop. There’s a possibility that I’ll be moving to Paris in September, and if I do, I think this outfit might become my uniform of sorts. It’s very stereotypically Parisian, don’t you think?

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How do you shop ethically on a budget?

– Lauren

Check out Parts 1 and 2!

 

Fair Trade Clothing Companies

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Throughout the past couple of weeks, I’ve written several posts about conscious consumerism. I know it can be difficult to search through all of the clothing companies out there and research the ethics of their business models before making a purchase. I completely understand that sometimes it’s a little hard to motivate yourself to put in tons of effort to find a fair trade company when all you’re looking for is a simple t-shirt that you could pick up at Forever 21 for $5. It’s easy to be discouraged when the vast majority of what is available for consumption is produced unethically.

Over the past few months, I’ve compiled a list of some socially-conscious brands that I’ve come across, and I want to share it with you in the hopes that it will make your ethical shopping experience a little easier. I’ve tried to include a vast array of shops that sell everything from everyday clothes to swimwear to undies to jewelry in a range of prices. And to make it just a little easier for you, I’ve linked the website for each shop. All you have to do is click the name of the shop you’re interested in, and you’ll go straight to their website.

I’ve also gotten some requests to include some options for all the guys out there, so every shop with asterisk beside the name has options for anyone who’s looking for some male attire.

Clothing

23 Skidoo

Ace & Jig

Alternative Apparel*

Braintree*

Bridge and Burn*

Everlane *

Gather and See

Indigo*

Les Sublimes

Mata Traders

Modcloth Made in the USA

People Tree*

Raven and Lily

Reformation

Seamly

Slumlove Sweater Company*

Symbology

Tent Marketplace

Threads 4 Thought*

Vintage Style Me

Zady*

Active Wear

Albion Fit

Patagonia*

Threads 4 Thought*

Tracksmith*

Swimwear

Albion Fit

Kortni Jeane*

Denim

Monkee Genes*

MUD Jeans*

Undies/Socks/Jammies

Braintree*

Sudara*

THINX

Wear PACT*

Shoes

IX Style

Fortress of Inca*

Humble Hilo

Nisolo*

Oliberte*

Sseko

The Root Collective

Bags

IX Style

Duluth Pack*

FEED*

Humble Hilo

Love 41*

Market Colors

Mulxiply

Raven and Lily

Tribe Alive

Jewelry/Accessories

IX Style

Greenola Style

Haiti Design Co-op

Indigo

Love 41

Market Colors

Mata Traders

Mulxiply

Raven and Lily

Symbology

Tribe Alive

Home Goods

The Citizenry

Humble Hilo

Indigo

Nkuku

Raven and Lily

Children’s Clothing

Ace & Jig

Humble Hilo

Indigo*

Kortni Jeane*

Seamly

Sudara*

Wear PACT*

Additional Resources

The Good Trade

The Her Initiative Ethical, Conscious, Fair Trade Shopping Guide

The True Cost – Buying Better

Disclaimer: I haven’t partnered with any of these shops to write this post. I’m just passionate about promoting brands that do good things and treat their workers and our planet well. Also, I haven’t purchased items from each and every one of these shops. These are just the ones I’ve found through my intensive internet searches for ethical options and keep on a running list on my computer. I hope it helps!

For those of you who are on a budget (like me), check out my Ethical Shopping on a Budget Part 1 and 2 to see my tips for buying cheap clothes without supporting fast fashion.

What’s your favorite fair trade company?

– Lauren

Ethical Shopping on a Budget | 02

IMG_3864A few weeks ago, I wrote a post with some of my tips for shopping ethically on a small budget. Because I had so many tips, I decided to make my ethical shopping tips posts a multi-part series on my blog. That way, I wouldn’t dump a ton of information on you all at once, and also so that I could create an ongoing list of socially-conscious shopping tips that I can add to as I discover new ones. Last week, I went on vacation to Nashville, Tennessee and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get some shots for Part 2 of the series. So without further ado, here are some more ways I afford to shop ethical clothing on a student budget.

  1. Be an outfit repeater. Remember that scene in The Lizzie McGuire Movie where Kate calls Lizzie out for being an outfit repeater? I remember watching that scene when I was 9 years old, seeing Lizzie’s utter humiliation, and not understanding why repeating outfits was so bad. It seems like such a silly thing to never or rarely repeat outfits, especially when considering the amount of water, energy, and manpower it takes to make our clothes. Did you know it takes nearly 3000 gallons of water to make one pair of jeans? And it takes about 400 gallons of water to grow the cotton for one t-shirt. That means that one outfit consisting of a pair of jeans and a t-shirt takes at least 3400 gallons of water to produce. Now, if you wear that outfit only once, you’re not only wasting your money but valuable natural resources. Clothes are meant to be worn more than once, and I don’t know about you, but if I have an amazing outfit, I want people to see it, even if that means I wear it multiple times.
  2. Swap with friends. An alternative to buying a new outfit for every exciting occasion in your life is to raid your friends’ closets. If you need a blazer for an interview or a sundress for a wedding, I’m willing to bet you know someone who’s happy to let you borrow theirs. In fact, that’s one of my favorite things about having a roommate: 2 closets to choose from! My roommate has this one white tank top that she can never seem to pry away from me. Another fun alternative to shopping is having a clothing swap party with your friends. All you have to do is have your friends bring to the party all the clothes they don’t wear anymore, and you can trade with each other. You can even order a pizza, watch Pride and Prejudice, and make a whole girls’ night out of it.
  3. Ethical brands. Though they’re not as visible as many fast fashion brands, there are so many really incredible ethical clothing companies that respect their workers and the planet.  When you do decide to buy a new item, make sure it’s an investment piece. Because these companies responsibly source their materials and pay their workers a living wage, their prices are higher, and it may not be possible for you to buy 12 outfits worth of clothes in 1 go. Pick pieces that you know you’ll wear over and over again and can be styled in a variety of ways. That way, even though you’re repeating items of your wardrobe often, you don’t have to wear the exact same shirt + jeans combo every day of your life. Stay tuned for Tuesday’s post, which will be a list of socially- and environmentally-conscious clothing companies.

For this outfit, I’m wearing a romper from the 80s that I picked up at a vintage shop. Although I bought mine in Atlanta, I highly recommend checking out the vintage shops in Nashville if you’re ever in town. My favorite one I visited was Local Honey.

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How do you shop ethically on a budget?

– Lauren

Check out Part 1!

*Photos by JFG Photography

Les Sublimes | Fashion Without Compromise

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On this blog, I talk a lot about making conscious decisions about what we consume, particularly when it comes to fashion. Recently, the Fashion Revolution has been gaining more and more momentum and challenging consumers to be more conscious that their clothes are made by human hands. Recently, I’ve partnered with an inspiring Paris-based start-up brand called Les Sublimes that embodies the socially-responsible consumption and sustainable practices that the Fashion Revolution is all about. Les Sublimes creates stylish wardrobe essentials without compromise. Every item is not only fashionable, timeless, and high quality, but all materials are produced responsibly and with integrity.

When you first make the switch from fast fashion brands to socially-responsible brands, it can be a little overwhelming to wade through all of the clothing brands out there, research their ethics, and determine whether or not they’re making a sincere effort to treat their workers with respect and provide them with a living wage. Much of the time, popular fast fashion brands “address” concerns about the conditions under which their clothes are produced by providing a brief, vague statement on an obscure section of their website about how they are working to improve sustainable practices and provide better wages for the garment factory workers. However, these brands rarely provide details about how they’re working toward these changes. In my experience, brands that are passionate and earnest about social change are forthright about it.

That’s what initially impressed me about Les Sublimes: their incredible transparency. Take a look at their website, and you’ll see what I mean. There’s no question what Les Sublimes stands for. For example, there’s a page on the website that details all of the materials they use, where they’re produced, and why those materials are better options for the planet. On another page, you can learn about Thierry and Madame Pérard – the owners of the multi-generation family business that produces the clothing – and how their business employs mothers and provides them with fair pay, health care, and training programs to help improve their skills. Les Sublimes even reveals how they distribute their profits, which is something I’ve never seen another company do.

Les Sublimes launched a campaign on their Indiegogo page today to raise $10,000 EUR to finish producing their first collection. This campaign is an opportunity to not only support their business but also to preorder the collection.

The collection consists of six styles, each of which is a classic wardrobe staple. My favorite items are the Stockholm Tee, the Buenos Aires Dress, and the Paris Tank (pictured, left to right). Future collections will complement this one and offer more seasonal colors or fabrics.

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Each piece is easily styled, versatile, and suited to a variety of personal styles. I love the way the Pokhara Tee (pictured above) is styled with a leather skirt, but can also be worn with skinny jeans and a flannel. In the same way, the London Dress (pictured below) can be worn with a leather jacket and sneakers or with a fun hat and sandals.

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More Cool Reasons to Support Les Sublimes:

  1. For every item sold, Les Sublimes and their partners provide 1 month of education to a girl in need. By providing education to young girls, the girls can gain the knowledge and skills to find good jobs and lift their families out of poverty. 1 month of education for 1 item sold? That’s pretty amazing.
  2. Not only are the pieces from the Les Sublimes Spring Collection made of eco-friendly materials, Les Sublimes seeks to reduce its waste by donating unused scraps to be made into new textiles. The clothes are also packaged using more sustainable materials than traditional packing materials.
  3. No animals suffer in the production of their clothes.
  4. All of the workers involved are treated fairly and with dignity.
  5. If you sign up for their rewards program, you can earn perks while giving back. For example, by joining the rewards program and referring your friends, you could earn $10 EUR off a purchase or provide reusable pads so that girls don’t have to miss school when they have their periods.

Overall, Les Sublimes is doing great things. Definitely check out the Les Sublimes website and their Indiegogo campaign!

– Lauren

*Photos courtesy of Les Sublimes.