Fashion and looking fashionable is almost as crucial today as mastering a handshake or having good manners. So, sometimes, even knowing the true cost of that $15 pair of jeans isn’t enough when you want to make the best impression you can. Not many are aware of their options (and boy are there a lot of fair trade/ethically sourced fashion options these days!). Our guest blogger, Christy Nicholson - blogger at Beyond the Fried and ethical fashion connoisseur - shares her own story of returning to an ethically sourced wardrobe.
When I was in my twenties, I was going to change the world.
I quit my corporate job to start a store specializing in fair trade and locally made accessories. My wardrobe consisted mostly of ill-fitting vintage and second-hand items, thrown together in whatever style suited me that day.
When I became a mother and decided to close my business, a dear friend — who happened to be a personal stylist — offered to take me shopping and find what style suited me best in my new maternal role.
That was when I was introduced to fast fashion. I learned how to dress for my size and shape. By shopping at cheap retailers, I could buy whatever current trends dictated. Getting the latest styles quickly and cheaply suited my low-maintenance, new-mommy needs quite well.
My conscience did feel a twinge now and then. After all, I knew about fair trade and worked for years to tell others about it.
When the clothing factory at Rana Plaza collapsed, I knew it was time to return to ethical fashion. My excuses about not having enough time or money to shop ethically started to feel hollow.
Armed with a better knowledge of style, quality, and fit, I knew I could still dress well. Instead of regretting my years as a consumer of fast fashion, I viewed them as an invaluable time of learning. I hoped the knowledge I gained would help me be a better consumer of ethical fashion.
And after five years away from fair trade, do you know what I found?
Where fair trade options once were limited in style and availability, ethical options now exist for almost every need. Jeans, t-shirts, dresses, underwear, and shoes are available at affordable prices for the conscious consumer.
I no longer run to the store and thoughtlessly grab whatever wardrobe pieces I need. Shopping now takes a bit more time — and a bit more money — but I’m buying items that offer more value to me and to the communities that produced them.
And that, my friends, is priceless.
Catch more from Christy at beyondthefried.com
And make sure to mark your calendars for tomorrow, Friday May 30th, when TRC founder and opportunity advocate, Bethany Tran, will be featured on Beyond the Fried with her own guest post! (Check for link tomorrow)