Ah, Fall. It’s that time of year that brings out all the obsessions. The changing of the leaves, boots and scarves, and #PSL. Pumpkin spice all.the.things. Fall makes a really great case for being my favorite season, too. And every year, without fail, I start cleaning out my closet, donating the unused and unwanted, reorganizing my favorites, and making room for the new. This year, I feel an even stronger pull towards downsizing. Making do with less. Owning items of higher quality, yet fewer of them. Choosing to see my half of a perfectly adequate closet as a warehouse of plenty. Don’t get too excited and roll your eyes just yet: I have by no means achieved “capsuling” status in my wardrobe and I don’t know if I’ll ever make it there.
But somewhere along the way, the hoarding and consuming tendencies of our culture need a gut check. I used to treat shopping like a sport, and the prize was always the lowest, bottom-dollar bargain I could find. It’s still a hard tendency to fight. Sometimes we even call it noble things like ‘being good stewards of the resources God gives us.’ I would say that we need to be better stewards of the where of spending our dollars, as much as the how many.
After years of being a huge fan of Noonday Collection and it’s mission, I made a little trip to Africa and the Lord dropped this idea for Kushuhudia in my lap. Now, I’m using every connection I can find to sell products that improve the lives of artisans and students in a Kenyan slum in big ways.
When you are inundated with slogans that influence the way you view and spend your money, (“Save More, Live Better”) it is easy to focus in on your own needs. Being intentional and purpose-driven in the way you spend your money CAN change the world for the better especially for those of us who have been afforded the luxury of freedom and choice.
So I started up a conversation with my dear friend, Leah Martin, on Voxer and talked about what this could look like and how she’s making the transition to more responsible fashion in her closet. Here’s a little insight into her journey:
Someone makes the clothes and accessories we put on our bodies and carry with us everyday. A person with a face, a name and a story. A person who is valued and loved. A person who is someone’s child, sister, brother, mama, daddy, friend. I feel like we as consumers have gotten to a space where we view fashion as disposable and that view has trickled down with the result being the people making the products seen and treated as disposable. Poor working conditions, low wages and long hours without breaks. This is the standard.
We have to be a catalyst for change. Exploiting factory workers cannot be the norm. We have to demand ethical fashion and responsibly sourced products. We have a voice and, I believe, an absolute responsibility to use our purchasing power to start a movement supporting transparency and fair treatment of the person behind the products. The person who deserves the dignity and respect we all desire. The industry is going to respond to the demand we create. If not us, then who? If not now, then when?
Don’t think that I’m suggesting you go in and throw away everything you own that is not responsibility sourced because I’m not. I started small. Accessories felt like an easy way to enter the ethical fashion world. So I started with one pair of earrings and over the past few years have added to my collection as needed and as my budget allowed. I then moved to clothing and as I add pieces to my wardrobe I donate items that no longer fit with my views on fashion. Change is possible if we work to create a culture that is intentional with how we spend our money.
Do your research. Ask questions. I’ve included a list of a few of my favorite brands, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. Buy smarter. Buy less, but buy higher quality items that will last. I’m crazy enough to think that we can actually change the way society views fashion and that could just change the world.