How to shop for V.A.L.U.E. in ethical fashion

by: Sara on 10/28/2015

Shop better and feel better about what you put on your body, from head to toe! Today Kate Black, the author of Magnifeco: Your Head-to-toe Guide to Ethical Fashion and Non-toxic Beauty offers some simple tips on how to shop ethically while reevaluating what we consider "value" for our money.

When shopping ethically, things often cost more. Most of us are “value” conscious and fast-fashion chains can be a hard habit to break (thanks to their alluringly, inexpensive clothes). But the trade-off is when we pay less, we also get less: less transparency, less accountability, fewer ethics and lower quality. We want low prices, but not at all costs. What we are really seeking is value. (V.A.L.U.E.).  Use this checklist to help you discover ethical fashion pieces from unlikely places.

V (for vintage or second hand). This is an ideal choice for trend driven pieces like this fall’s Fringe or Floral pieces. Choosing a second hand or thrift item saves both money and resources.

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Fashion by Study NY, photgrapher: Mathieu Fortin

A (for artisan). The Ethical Fashion Initiative (which works with designers like Stella McCartney and Stella Jean) believes in ‘not charity, just work’ highlighting that supporting artisan means supporting artisans (usually female) in the developing world creating pieces that are handcrafted, handmade, collectable or one-of-a-kind.

L (for local). Most fast fashion and mass manufactured brands offer lower prices due to lower (worker) costs. Supporting small ethical designers (or brands like Zady who produce in the US) supports the local economy and reduces the carbon footprint of garments that are coming from the other side of the planet.

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Artisan includes Brother Vellies image Jason Eric Hardwick

U (for upcycled). Anytime something can be saved from the landfill, ethical fashionistas rejoice. Whether it’s a trainer made by Adidas from “ocean plastic” or handbags made from truck tarps by Frietag, upcycling utilizes existing materials and refashions them for reuse.

E (for ethical). This covers aspects that are related to personal values. This includes: cruelty-free options like vegan shoes and bags; fair trade options that ensure workers were paid fairly; and sustainable textiles that are kind to the planet (like organic cotton or tencel®).

Kate Black is the author of Magnifeco: Your Head-to-Toe Guide to Ethical Fashion and Non-toxic Beauty, available at Green Festivals and bookstores across the country.






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