How to get an ethical closet! And how in the WORLD do you afford it?!
Throw everything out!!
Often when people start learning about the global injustices happening around fast fashion they want to know what they can do to fix it. What is their individual part?
There is often a knee jerk reaction to throw away everything that could be tainted with the evils of people being harmed, enslaved, and oppressed as well as the ongoing polluting of our earth (second only to oil) in the textile industry.
The answer however is slow and steady, just like the kind of fashion we encourage here at Brookes Collective, we encourage you to go about it using wisdom!
Often when speaking of ethical fashion it is considered something for the elite or the wealthy. Most ethically produced clothing lines are expensive in pricing, which makes sense because they by calling themselves ethically sources, they are stating that they actually pay people a fair and reasonable wage (what a revolutionary thought!). This however, leaves people feeling like although they care deeply about the value of human life, how can they afford a whole new wardrobe?
Here’s the thing; it doesn’t have to be all or nothing! An ethical closet is something that is built not bought over night! You can do it, we believe in you!
How to start?
First look through your closet. What do you wear? What don’t you wear?
Pull out everything that you haven’t worn in the last year and throw it in a pile. That will be your donate/sell pile.
Once your closet has been properly paired down to what you’ve worn in the last year, start looking for duplicates. Do you have two, three, five black blouses? Pick your favorite one and throw the others into you pile.
How many jeans do you have that don’t actually fit? Pick your favorites (try to keep one black and one blue) and throw the rest in the pile. Go through this process with your t-shirts, long sleeves, tunics, etc.
Once you are further paired down, go through the labels of each of your items. Familiarize yourself with the places you normally shop and the places they source their products from. Now it’s time for research.
What are the places you normally buy from? And how do they treat and care for the people that are making your clothes? Do you stand behind the way they are treating their people and the earth? If the answer is YES! Then stick with them, and bravo to that company!
If the answer is NO! Then it’s time to find yourself some companies you can be loyal to!
The next step is keeping the clothes you have.
Yes, you heard me correctly. Even if it was made in a sweat shop, keep it! Throwing it away is just adding to the problems. It’s already there, so keep all the things you love in your closet and wear them until they are no good anymore.
Now you are already well on your way to be self-aware in your shopping habits! Congratulations!
Here is what happens when you do this instead of trying to start from scratch:
Instead of spending money on three, “fast fashion” items (articles of clothing that would only last several wears and quickly be out of fashion) you can buy one high quality ethically produced item that will last through multiple seasons! This saves you money, keeps you classic, and reduced pollution and waste because you are adding less textiles to the dumps!
Starting an ethical wardrobe should be a transition not a one-step quick fix overhaul. It takes time to build something beautiful!