Fashion. What's in? what's out? and what are we wearing next season. Who is rocking the popular style in clothing, accessories, makeup, hairstyle and more. Every year millions of us eagerly tune in to watch Fashion Week tidbits and witness how the runway trends from Milan, Paris and New York slowly seep into the streets and storefronts. We indulge in our social media feeds for style inspiration from numerous fashion icons and ‘style influencers’, some of whom inspire us, some not so much.
How about Fast Fashion? It is sort of a phenomena of how quickly current fashion trends, inspired by spring and fall Fashion Week designs, are captured and moved from catwalk to retailers. Although fast fashion allows us to keep up with all the current hip and chic looks, as well as obtain those very inexpensively, it is not always the smartest fashion choice. Why you might ask? Well, in order to feed our desire to look the best, wear the newest and on a budget, companies don’t always use the best production practices. Fast fashion often has a huge environmental impact such as water pollution and textile waste. Lots of fun colored fashion uses toxic chemicals not safe for us. This type of production also affects fair trade, working conditions and safety of many workers in under-developed countries where many textile factories are located.
Ethical fashion on other hand encompasses ethical design, production, working conditions, fair trade, sustainable production and the environment to name a few. Ethical fashion can sometime steer away consumers because it often costs more. In my personal opinion, there are ways to enjoy quality fashion pieces in ethical way and on a budget. You just have to do some research. In being ethical, consider extending the life of your clothes by donating it, swapping it with friends or finding ways to reuse it. You can also buy more second-hand by visiting vintage and thrift stores. There are always some fun finds there. Sell and buy your clothes at online thrift store such as thredUP. Take good care of the clothes you do own, follow care instructions and buy laundry detergent that has less dyes and perfumes. Buy from merchants that have good ethical practices and support Fair Trade businesses whenever you can . You will feel better knowing you are doing the right thing.
Speaking of local and ethical, I wanted to introduce you to a lovely lady dear to my heart. Her name is Laura. She is a dear friend of mine, and a kindhearted soul behind American Made and Free Trade boutique store in NE Minneapolis, TRUE ETHIC. Laura and I had a nice chat about everything from fashion to passion of being ethical in business, and paying it forward.
Here is little bit about Laura, her work, how to get involved and where to shop. Please enjoy:
Other than yourself, who else is part of the True Ethic Family?
“My husband and two teenage children are a big part of the TRUE ETHIC family. They support and help me often with the business”.
Why are you in this particular field of work, did you always have this in mind thinking back ?
“I am in this type of business because I think it is important for people everywhere to be paid above poverty wages, have safe working conditions, have opportunity for education and advancement wherever they are, and to be employed by people who care about them as much as or more than profits”.
I know that you encourage and support fair trade, and ethically responsible businesses practices. What is the biggest challenge with choosing this route?
“I find that not enough people really care and that has been so disheartening for me. I think that it may be due to lack of knowledge about where and how most things we wear, use and buy are made. I feel that even those who know about sweatshops and unethical practices they still don't change their purchasing habits”.
In same sense, what is the biggest reward?
“The reward is knowing that I am doing the right thing and that I am a part of the solution to empower people out of poverty around the world”.
Are there any events happening at True Ethic in the near future we should know about?
“Yes! Art-A-Whirl is May 17 - 19. It is a large open studio event at the Northrup King Building in NE Minneapolis where my shop is at. We will be open for this event Friday the 17th, 5-10pm, Saturday the 18th, 12-8pm & Sunday the 19th, 12-5pm”
What are some of the trends we will be seeing for season spring/summer?
“Acetate earrings, big statement jewelry pieces and thank goodness tassels are still going strong! “
Anything else you would like to leave us with about True Ethic? A message for our Twin Cities community or perhaps an advice or tips on how to be more ethically conscious when choosing clothing.
Thank you so much Laura for letting me into your shop, your life and for being an inspiration. We can all surely take small steps in ensuring that we shop and behave ethically. If each one of us makes even a small change in our shopping habits, we can make a huge difference in the world around us, especially for those who are most directly affected.
Shop Small, Shop Smart and Do Good. Until next time, be well.