5 Ways to Lead a More Ethical Lifestyle -- Using Your Closet
Is there anyone else who wishes to do more good in this world, but just can’t figure out where to begin? I know I’m always trying to slowly make changes in my lifestyle to live more conscientiously, but our culture urges us to buy single use, disposable, and poor quality items — especially when it comes to clothes and apparel. This “throw-away” culture not only harms the environment but also leads to a supply chain that favors inexpensive labor and fast, poor-quality manufacturing.
MOSAIC'S TOP 5 TIPS TOWARDS CONSCIOUS CONSUMERISM
1. RESEARCH THE BRANDS YOU PURCHASE FROM
If the factory names and locations are not listed on the brand’s website or found by a quick google search, chances are they don’t want you know where their products are made. This doesn’t bode well for the practices in those factories. There are lists compiled online by other blogs that have done some research for you on which brands to trust. You can find one here:
- The Good Trade (Fun fact: This list includes Krochet Kids Intl; the founders of this company actually went to college with Brittany, one of the co-creators behind Mosaic)
- Still Being Molly
- Change the World by How You Shop
- Of course, Mosaic Collective's products are all made by artisans, not in factories.
2. SHOP SECONDHAND
With the rise of iPhone apps and Instagram have come some really easy ways to purchase secondhand. Yes, there are the traditional thrift stores like Goodwill and Arc, but that can be a lot of wading through mostly just…junk. Instead, find local secondhand shops near you who have already done all the hard work for you - this way you are having a doubly beneficial impact by shopping secondhand AND supporting a local business. In Colorado Springs, Wilder Bag Co, Mae Green Vintage, and Two Wolves Boutique (all run by women) share space at Eclectic Co. with Mosaic, and they all sell pieces online, through Instagram or Etsy!
3. REPAIR + MEND RATHER THAN DISPOSE
Brands that make high quality products are going to last longer and the repairs will be worthwhile when you do eventually need them. The brand that comes to mind for this is Patagonia. They have a repair shop that you can send any of their gear to for repairs, and they encourage you to use this option. [Side note: They also have a used gear site called Worn Wear where you can buy gently used Patagonia apparel for less!] If anything else you own needs a repair or an alteration, take it to a local tailor or seamstress — you are cutting down on “consumption” by extending the life of your clothing, but also again supporting a local business!
4. BUY ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY CLOTHING
Ever heard of a B corporation? These are for-profit companies that ”meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability” according to the official B Corporation website. Allbirds, Athleta, Bombas, and Patagonia all fall under this category. Basically, these brands don’t leave the world worse off than they found it. In fact, they try to offset their environmental footprint and also strive to do a greater good, usually through some way of giving back to the community. Other brands have specific eco-conscious lines like Madewell denim. A word of caution: be discerning about eco-friendly lines. H&M's "conscious" line does not even specify what percentage of the item is made with recycled polyester, only that "some" of it is recycled.
5. START A CAPSULE WARDROBE
There are many blogs and Pinterest images related to this, but a capsule wardrobe allows you to pair almost any item in your closet with any other item in your closet, allowing for a wide variety of looks, without a closet bursting at the seams with clothing you hardly ever wear. By purchasing neutral colored items meant to last, you are cutting down on your consumption of apparel.
In my research, I was advised to watch The True Cost documentary. So I will pass along that recommendation to you, my readers. Just don’t blame me when you end up in a Netflix black hole ;)