#fashionrevolution, fair trade, ethical brands. Fast fashion, while still convenient and cute and cheap, is no longer the game for a lot of influencers. And normal people. They’re asking the questions of where their clothing comes from, and they’re encouraging you to do the same. They want fair wages and fair working conditions for dressmakers all over the world.
Anyone can get behind that, right? Sure. We want people to have well-rounded lives, and that includes work conditions without rats or chance of losing fingers.
But it also means a higher price tag for you, the consumer.
So what do you do? How do you afford the ethical wardrobe? You want to support these good causes and these people, but your clothing budget is really small, and that dress at the super store is really cute and you could use an update in your wardrobe…
Tips on Joining the Ethical Wardrobe Movement
There’s such a thing as a trend, so you don’t have to stress about jumping on board if it’s just not possible for you. Appreciate that people are asking questions and wanting change, but ultimately you are free to make your own decisions. They should be good decisions, I would think, but they don’t have to be what everyone else is telling you. We all have a cross to bear; maybe yours isn’t buying fair trade clothing.
But if you really want to, here’s what you need to know:
It involves doing your own research. What do clothing brands claim about themselves? Do they actually live up to that promise? If you don’t know where to find that information, start here. Regardless of what some on social media would tell you, you can’t blindly buy something from a brand that claims to be fair trade.
How to brands produce their clothes? Who sews them? Who creates the fabric?
Fair trade brands almost always cost, well, a lot. Sometimes it’s in order to pay their workers a fair wage; sometimes it’s because they’re also building a name for themselves and people will buy from a trendy brand no matter the price tag. Sometimes they also choose very expensive materials. Regardless, you’ll have to increase your budget.
Or, you’ll have to be really picky about the pieces you purchase (say that ten times fast).
So you’ve done the research, but doubling your budget isn’t possible. Now what?
How to afford the ethical wardrobe
- You par down your existing wardrobe and move to a minimal wardrobe or a capsule wardrobe. As you need new pieces, you swap in specific new pieces with the old ones. It keeps costs down (and prevents decision fatigue)!
- You pick two or three ethical brands (at least for starters) that you watch for sales and deals and clearance. Not only can this save you money, but sticking with your favorite brands streamlines your wardrobe.
- You shop secondhand. This is the cheapest way to buy an ethical wardrobe. No one said you have to own fair trade brands. If you buy second hand, you keep clothing in circulation and out of landfills. Plus, you also give these old clothes new life and create a very unique style for yourself. If you can, shop at local thrift stores, but any old recycling store or garage sale will do.
- You clothing swap. This is the cheapest way to have an ethical wardrobe. You can organize an entire event where multiple people attend and swap, or you can get together with a few girlfriends and pass around clothing or accessories.
So with a few starting tips, you’re well on your way to owning a more ethical wardrobe that you can afford.
But really, tell me in the comments, what are your tips for affording an ethical wardrobe?