The other day, I was talking to my friend Lauren about ethical fashion and being more conscious consumers (because we’re exactly the kind of nerds who can talk about this topic for hours), and she said something that totally resonated with me: “Once you commit to being a more ethical consumer, it spills over into every area of your life.” It’s true: I began this journey by simply trying to cut down on my “fast fashion” purchases, but now I find myself checking labels on everything I buy (hoping to find my favorite phrase, “Made in the USA”) and reading up on all kinds of companies to see if they’re the type of business I want to support. This is not to say that I’ll never buy anything from China ever again, but I’m definitely more discerning these days. If I can scout out an alternative that’s made in the USA and/or in a more sustainable way, I’ll always buy that instead.
Which is why, when I read about S.W. Basics reusable, organic cotton rounds in Real Simple, I bought a pack right away. I’d been using (and throwing away) regular cotton rounds and makeup remover wipes every day for years, so I welcomed this sustainable and reusable alternative. Plus, they’re machine-washable and made in the USA. What’s not to love, right? Read on for my full review! Keep reading »
I came across the brand Show Me Your MuMu on the racks of the boutique where I work on weekends. Every time I’d check the tag of a fabulous new skirt or slouchy tunic, I kept finding the words, “SHOW ME YOUR MUMU” along with a phrase that made me really happy: “MADE IN THE GORGE USA!” A little research informed me that Show Me Your Mumu was formed by two best friends, Cammy and Cologne, who wanted to design flowy, flattering clothes for free-spirited ladies like themselves. And those tags weren’t lying: every MuMu piece is indeed made right in downtown LA. Does this translate to a slightly higher price tag than other brands who churn out their clothes in Chinese factories? Of course. But remember: you’re paying for a quality product that was made by fairly compensated workers. And if that’s not enough, the endless compliments you’ll get on your SMYM clothes will surely justify the extra bucks. Click through to check out 11 of my favorite MuMu pieces!
Today’s Compassionate Fashion spotlight shines on an awesome little company called JOYN India. JOYN products are made by Indian artisans who create beautiful textile products completely by hand — everything from weaving to printing to stitching. JOYN gives these artisans the chance to sell their products to the American market, providing them with fair wages, safe working environments, a daily meal plan, education, and medical care. Their motto is “Fashioning Better Lives,” and by purchasing JOYN products, you’ll help them put those words into action. Click through to check out a few of my favorite colorful accessories from their current collection!
When you’re trying to find clothing that’s made in the USA, it’s fairly easy to track down funky, one-of-a-kind items from indie designers and well-made investment (read: expensive) pieces from higher end labels. But what about the basics, the stuff you wear every single day — jeans, hoodies, t-shirts, tights, sneakers, pencil skirts, etc? Luckily for us, there are still some awesome companies producing these must-have clothing items right here in America. They can be a little tough to find, but that’s why I did the work for you! Click through to check out 10 everyday basics, all American-made, all great quality, all $100 or less…
Tradlands is a new fashion company based in San Francisco with a simple mission: “Our intention is to make the best clothing for our customer, the woman who drifts towards the men’s section and thinks, ‘I wish they made this for me.’” Using fabrics and materials from the US, Tradlands designs and manufactures all of their timeless, tomboy-inspired shirts in downtown San Francisco.
I just got one of their henley shirts (pictured on the right), and I was completely blown away by the quality. After spending so many years filling my closet with flimsy Forever 21 blouses, it’s refreshing to feel fabric with a bit of weight to it, and strong seams that won’t disintegrate after two wearings. Tradlands makes the kind of shirts you’ll own and love for years, which, combined with the ethical sourcing and attention to detail, easily justifies the price.
The other thing I love about Tradlands is that even though the brand’s aesthetic is very tomboy-ish, these shirts would look just as good with a pencil skirt and high heels as they would with slouchy jeans and sneakers. So cute and versatile. Want to give Tradlands a try? Click through to check out some of their awesome options…
When it comes to major athletic brands, most companies’ abhorrent manufacturing practices leave a lot to be desired. And then there’s New Balance. Take a spin through one of their stores or pick up one of their colorful athletic shoes and you’ll probably find a little surprise printed on the tag: “Proudly Made In The USA.”
While other brands have moved more and more of their production overseas, New Balance has increased their domestic manufacturing jobs by 45% since 1995, and have never — I repeat, NEVER — laid off a domestic factory worker. Currently, 25% of New Balance shoes (that’s 7 million pairs a year) are made in the USA. If you want to support American workers, pamper your feet, and look fabulous at the gym, New Balance is absolutely the way to go. I’ve picked out a few of my favorite sneakers (and one magical pair of socks) from their USA collection. Click through to check ‘em out!
Zady is a sustainable fashion shop founded by friends Maxine Bédat and Soraya Darabi. Bédat and Darabi both worked in the non-profit sector, and noticed that their closets were overflowing with fast-fashion garments that were cheap to buy and quick to fall apart. They’re hoping Zady, which focuses on showcasing high-quality, sustainably produced brands, will be an antidote to that.
“We go to each brand and ask where are your products made, and that narrows it down. 99.9 percent say they don’t know, or it’s a really vague response,” Bédat told Stylecaster of Zady’s selection process. “So we find those brands that do know. They have to know like the back of their hands how their supply chains work. Where they were made and designed and where the materials come from. We eliminate anyone who just doesn’t know, because it’s a sure sign that that they don’t fit our mission.”
And what is their mission? It’s “to combat the fast-fashion craze by providing a platform for only those companies that care about timeless style and solid construction.”
Sounds pretty good to us. Above, check out pieces from Zady’s carefully curated sustainable collection.
There are so many reason to love the women-owned clothing line Dobbin, but here are a few:
1. They make all of their clothing in the U.S.
2. They use the same quality fabrics and factories as much, much more expensive designer labels, but keep all their prices below $200.
3. Most of their pieces are available in sizes 0-16.
4. Their simple, beautifully tailored styles are flattering and perfect for the office.
Click through to check out 8 awesome mix-and-match basics from their current collection that you’ll reach for again and again come Monday morning…
This post has been a long time coming. I decided to write it on April 24th, 2013, but I didn’t know how to write it; all I knew was I needed to change the way I thought about fashion in a big way, and fast.
April 24th was the day that Rana Plaza, a clothing factory in Bangladesh, collapsed, killing over 1,000 people. The building was not designed or certified to be used as a factory, and even though the workers — the vast majority of whom were women — had reported massive cracks forming in the ceiling the day before the collapse, their supervisors told them they would be fired if they skipped work. So they returned to Rana Plaza to sew cheap dresses and tops that would be sold by companies such as Mango and Walmart, and they died.
One of my Facebook friends summed it up in nine words: “America, your addiction to cheap T-shirts is killing people.”
As a clothes hoarder, fashion writer, frequent shopper, and feminist, I felt an intense wave of guilt in the wake of this tragedy. Keep reading »
Back in April, hundreds of workers died after a building collapse at the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh. In the wake of this tragedy, the Bangladesh Safety Accord was created, with the aim of ensuring safety for clothing manufacturer employers. It’s overseen by the United Nation’s International Labor Organization, and signees to the accord agree to regular factory inspections and improved safety measures and standards at factories that produce their garments.
But guess who’s not down to protect the lives of their factory workers? TopShop, that’s who. Since April, more than 80 companies have signed the accord, including H&M, Mango and even Abercrombie & Fitch. (You can check out the full list here.) TopShop agreed to sign in May, but has yet to actually take pen to paper — even after they were urged by the British government to do so in June. Keep reading »