How Do I Shop Ethically?
Let me preface this by telling you that there is no one "right" way to shop ethically and, secondly, I am no expert. My eyes were opened to the responsibility to shop intentionally and with awareness, when I saw the documentary The True Cost.
I have designed this "ethical shopping pyramid" in hopes that you can take a deep breath of fresh air and continue striving towards intentional purchasing. Because.. I get it! Ethical shopping is confusing and cumbersome.
You can reference back to my post on "What is Ethical Fashion" to take a peek at where I've landed, but essentially ethical fashion means something different to everyone. What's new, right? But let's just admit that's there's no one right answer and we should make room for everybody at the table.
As a sort of Part 2, to my what is ethical fashion post, here is my Ethical Shopping Pyramid. The best way to engage in ethical shopping is to honestly, buy less.
1. Love what you have and use it. There are some obscene statistics out there on how little we actually wear the things we have in our closet and how many pounds we throw away/give away each year. I'd give you numbers, but you know the reality. The sad part? The things we donate are more than likely to end up being shipped to developing nations where they destroy any semblance of a local textile market and economy OR they rot in a landfill.
2. Trade, Thrift and Borrow! Have no shame. Borrow is the new black. Be one of the few that DOES rescue vintage pieces from thrift stores. This year, I gave my best friend a pair of TOMS boots that I've had for almost 2 years. Now, don't get grossed out. I've probably worn them 5 times. She borrowed them for a weekend away and came back raving about them. I KNEW she would be on the hunt for a similar pair and that mine would sit in my closet unworn. So, despite what society says, I wrapped them up and gave them to her for her birthday. And you know what... she was THRILLED.
3. Shop Local & Handmade! Supporting local businesses is a direct way to impact other human hands right here in your community. Know a local soap maker? Skip the big box grocery store and be intentional about picking up your soap at their shop. Pick up your party directions at the local scrapbooking store. You ARE going to pay a bit more. But won't you feel better knowing that your purchasing power is making a difference and not fueling the monster of materialism at any cost? Will some of it be made in China? Yep. Will it all be ethically sourced? Nope. That's why it's #3, not #1.
4. Shop USA made. As we know, USA made items are not the gold standard but we do know that fair labor laws are in place. That's a great way to make a stand and say, I care where things are made and about the people who are making them.
5. Shop Ethical Brands. Save up and splurge! The time old tale is true. If you sleep on it, save up for it and wait for it... it's worth more... anndddd you'll keep it longer, if not forever! So ya, that pair of ethical leather boots that you've been longing for. Do just that, sleep, save, wait and buy with every ounce of pride.