Ever since reading Seven by Jen Hatmaker back in the summer of 2013 and becoming a Noonday Ambassador in March of 2015, my eyes have been opened to the harsh realities surrounding how our “stuff” is made.
Whether it’s shoes, clothing, accessories, or anything really…often times the chain of production is tainted with violence, oppression, injustice, and a perpetuation of the poverty cycle. And unfortunately, many of our favorite brands take part in this type of supply chain just so that we can buy things at lower prices.
Before the opening of my eyes, I shopped blissfully unaware to the fact that their were people connected to my clothes, or my shoes, or my anything. But the fact remains that there ARE people connected to the purchases I make. Real human lives, mothers and fathers, with mouths to feed and dreams for themselves and their children.
And while our market is overwhelmingly saturated with products, brands, and companies that make it seem impossible to make a better choice with our dollars, the good news is that there are also an abundance of other products, brands, and companies that are dedicated to the good things for all people…good things like fair trade, socially responsible business practices, transparency, sustainability, empowerment, and ethics.
Below are some of my most favorite places for ethical shopping. I will continue to update this list as I discover more fun, easy, and stylish ways to be socially responsible with our lives.
Noonday Collection – “A socially responsible business that uses fashion to create meaningful opportunities around the world by designing and selling an inspired collection of jewelry and accessories made by Artisans across the globe.”
Good Deed Goods of The Apothecary – “Good Deed Goods is a gift shop offering a varied array of unique gifts that are centered around giving back locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. Good Deed Goods pledges to donate %10 of total sales to various non-profit organizations.”
The Root Collective – “Small batch, ethically produced women’s flats. Handmade and changing lives in Guatemala.”
Sseko Designs – “Sseko Designs uses fashion to provide employment and scholarship opportunities to women pursuing their dreams and overcoming poverty.”
Everlane – A clothing company dedicated to radical transparency in their supply chain.
Elegantees – Tees and cardigans designed in NYC and made in Nepal by overcomers of sex trafficking.
Roma Boots – “Roma Boots is a socially conscious ‘buy one give one’ boot company that merges fashion with philanthropy to help impoverished children around the world. For every pair of Roma Boots sold, a brand new pair stuffed with educational supplies is donated to a child in need. Ten percent of all sales proceeds go to the Roma For All Foundation to help these impoverished children break out of their cycle of poverty and despair.”
Mata Traders – “Vintage inspired, artisan made fair trade clothing.”
Bari Naturals – “Sustainably sourced, locally produced, and socially conscious powdered dry shampoo.” (coming soon! find them on Kickstarter.com)
The Fair Trade Fashionistas -A marketplace of fair trade goods.
Seamly.co – “Socially responsible clothing for mindful, adventurous women, made in Denver.”
Sevenly – “Every week, Sevenly highlights a new cause or charity partner, passionately promotes them for seven days, and creates unique Cause Art apparel to raise funding for them. For that week, every Cause of the Week item donates $7 or 7% to that partner. All other Sevenly goods donate 7% to the featured cause or our past charity partners.”
Nena & Co. – Handloomed, one-of-a-kind products designed in the U.S. and made in Guatemala.
Sudara Goods – “Our products help empower women who are working to remain free from sex slavery. Made from hope. Made for comfort. Worn by world-changers.”
Mitscoots Outfitters – “GEAR with a Mission: Get + Give + Employ: Every item is helping the transitioning homeless get gear and work. 100% made in the USA.”
Better Life Bags – “Custom bags with a cause: job creation and empowering women in Detroit, MI”
Matter Prints – “Pants to see the world in. We’re a socially motivated lifestyle brand creating travel ware with stories to tell.”
Garment Collective – “Ethically sourced, redemptively made in Nepal by survivors of exploitation.”
Stitch’d Ethical Clothing – “Handmade clothing all ethically sourced from Indo. We believe in loving humans.”
Symbology Clothing – “Making fair trade look sexy. Each piece, handcrafted by women artists in India and the Middle East.”
The Shine Project – “We employ inner city youth to hand make jewelry. It’s a place where students come after school to hand make your jewelry. They are involved in running everything from customer service, shipping, jewelry design, t shirt design, new product design, sales, and events. The students who are given scholarships through the non profit are then given jobs through Threads, so they can be mentored and guided every step of the way.”
Esperos Bags – “Thoughtfully designed in Austin, TX. Each product sold helps fund one year of education for a child in need.”
31 Bits – “Fashion for Good. Using fashion & design to empower people to rise above poverty.”
The Giving Keys – “We employ those affected by homelessness in Los Angeles.”
Unlock Hope – “Spreading hope and love one shirt at a time! You purchase provides food, shelter, tuition, healthcare and more for girls in Uganda.”
FashionABLE – “LOCAL + GLOBAL …beautiful products by women who have overcome.”
Albion Fit – Fitness and Leisure Apparel made by a company who is “committed to [the] environment and [their] community by continually striving to make [their] manufacturing facility greener each day by recycling plant waste and by using earth friendly materials in our products. [They] follow fair labor practices with all of [their] employees and business partners to create a sustainable work environment.”
Overwhelmed yet? Not sure where to start?
Simply start with a desire to make better purchasing choices and by consistently asking yourself “who made my clothes/shoes/etc.?” Also, begin following some of these brands on Instagram. It’ll grow naturally from there, and overtime, you’ll find yourself noticing the “Made in ______” on each clothing tag and simply thinking more about things before you buy. Personally, I’ve found that it helps me with my impulse buying!
Still interested and want to know more? Follow @fash_rev on Instagram and watch “The True Cost” documentary on Netflix.
Other tips: petition your favorite products/brands/companies for transparency in their supply chain and production process & shop secondhand!