*Modeling my favorite ethical outfit - rePURPOSE Headwrap, rePURPOSE Fair Trade T-shirt, thrift store jeans, Sseko Brave Bracelet and my Sseko Booties.
When trying to raise awareness about human trafficking and unfair labor practices, I frequently get asked the same question: "Where do I shop ethically?"
My first response is always, "the thrift store". When you purchase items at a thrift store, you aren't dumping money back into the hands of greedy corporations who continue to produce cheap clothing at the expense of others. You're also helping to keep clothing out of landfills, which is a huge environmental issue right now.
If thrift stores aren't your thing, or you weren't blessed with the gift of finding exactly what you need (which I was... I once found a lime green business suit when I needed one for a costume), then you should start researching fair trade and social enterprise. There is an entire market of beautiful, fashionable and ethical products in the fashion industry. It's so easy to discover once you start looking.
I forced myself to stop watching Game of Thrones, and to finally get my ethical shopping guide typed up. The following businesses are just a fraction of the awesome companies and social enterprises that are in the world, but it should be a good resource to get you started.
When you're searching through this list, there are a few common phrases or words you will see:
Fair Trade: The official definition is: A social movement whose stated goal is to help producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions and to promote sustainability. Members of the movement advocate the payment of higher prices to exporters, as well as improved social and environmental standards. So basically - fair trade means people are getting paid fair wages and work in great working conditions.
Sustainable Fashion: Sustainable fashion, also called ecofashion, is a part of the growing design philosophy and trend of sustainability, the goal of which is to create a system which can be supported indefinitely in terms of human impact on the environment and social responsibility.
Organic: You all know what this word means, but did you know this is super important when shopping for fabric and cotton? When people search for organic products, they are usually looking for organic food, not clothing. But skin is the largest organ on your body, and it needs to be taken care of just like the inside of your body. Cotton is covered in pesticides and toxins, so you should try to choose organic cotton whenever possible.
Buy One-Give One/Giving Back: A lot of products are similar to rePURPOSE, in that they donate profits or portions of their sales to help out with a cause. These items might not be fair trade or 100% ethically made, but their causes are great and are still worthy of being on my list.
If you find an item like rePURPOSE that is ethically made AND gives back, then it's a win-win!Happy Shopping!
The Good Trade - ethical denim list
People Tree - Women, Men
Mata Traders - Women's Clothing, Jewelry
The Reformation - Women's Clothing, Formal Wear, Bridal, Accessories
Everlane - Women, Men, Kids
Amour Vert - Sustainable Women's Fashion Made in the USA
Gypsy 05 - Women's Clothing, Swim, Fitness, Jewelry
In God We Trust - Men, Women, Jewelry, Gifts
Loup - Women's Fashion made in NYC
Marine Layer - Women, Men
Nanette Lepore - Women's Fashion Made in NY
Shop Good Cloth - Women, Men, Baby, Gifts, Jewelry, Shoes
Style Saint - Women's Fashion
Sun Dry Clothing - Women, Kids
Seamly.co - Women's Fashion
Synergy Organic Clothing - Women, Outerwear, Fitness, Accessories
Unlock Hope - Unisex Shirts and Accessories
Garment Collective - Women's Fashion
Fair-T - Fair Trade T-Shirts for Men and Women
Annie Greenabelle - Women's Fashion
Sevenly - T-Shirts for a Cause - Men, Women
Touch Me Not Clothing - Women's Fashion
Brain Tree Clothing - Women, Men, Socks, Accessories
Slum Love - Sweaters for Women and Men
Elegantees - Tees for Women
Eternal Creation - Women, Men, Kids
Free Set Global - Custom, Fair Trade Clothing and Accessories
Maya Miko - Women's Fashion, Accessories, Jackets, Fitness, Gifts
Noctu - Organic Cotton Pajamas for Men, Women and Kids
Good and Fair Clothing - Scarves, Underwear, Tees for Women and Men
Good Society - Denim
IOU Project - Women, Men
Fair Indigo - Women, Men, Babies, Kids, Gifts, Home
Maggie's Organics - Women, Kids
Wear Pact - Underwear and Lounge Wear for Adults and Kids
Novica Clothing - Women, Men, Jewelry, Home Decor, Gifts
Marigold Fair Trade Clothing - Men, Women, Kids, Home, Gifts, Yoga
Sudara Punjammies - Pajamas for Men, Women and Kids
Skin and Bliss - Kids' Clothing, Shoes and Accessories
Nena & Co Kids - Kids Clothing and Accessories
Mabo Kids - Kids, Babies
Baby Soy - Kids, Babies
Boys and Girls Shop - Kids, Babies
Duns Sweden - Organic Babies, Kids, Tweens, Adult, Maternity, Bedding
The Fabliests - Kids
Green Fibres - Clothing, Skincare, Home Decor, Bed + Bath
Imps & Elfs and Friends - Baby, Toddler, Kids, Toys, Gifts, Home Decor
Little Green Radicals - Kids, Babies, Gifts, Skincare
Piccalilly - Kids, Babies
I had major shoe envy when my friend Sarah posted these boots on instagram. She got them from Sseko Designs - which employs women in Uganda and other parts of East Africa.
rePURPOSE Accessories - Headband, Scarves, T-Shirts
Sevya - Scarves, Clothing, Jewelry, Home Decor
You Wood - Wooden Accessories
Mitscoots - Socks, Beanies
Gray Market Design - Scarves, Bags, Bath, Bedding
Krochet Kids - Hats, Accessories
Kancha - Laptop/phone Sleeves, Camera Straps, Wallets
Sackcloth and Ashes - Blankets
The Created Co. - Coffee Mugs