When we find a cute shirt, shoes, or even a handbag we assume that the price of it is just what it says on the tag (plus sales tax of course). However, the cost of consumerism is more expensive than what it shows on the cash register. When you swipe that card, hand over a wad of cash, or even note down a check, you could be funding a very unethical system.
Our world today is more materialistic than ever and with elevated demand comes consequences that a lot of us cannot even fathom. For instance, if we are consuming more, then we are naturally throwing more away. And let's be real for a second - for most people, recycling is a hassle and it's much easier to just throw stuff away.
Needless to say, this plays a toll on the environment because most cheap fabrics aren't biodegradable and, even if they are, it can take countless lifetimes to completely decompose. Other than being a threat to the environment, modern day slavery does exist and these big corporations and marketing firms who are keen on creating cheaper clothing with a greater chance at getting sold (aka "fast fashion") are feeding off of inhumane slave labor from places such as Bangladesh and Brazil.
So What Can You Do?
Well, you can start by looking beyond the price tag and acknowledging the real cost of consumerism and how you could be unintentionally supporting the inhumane system. Secondly, you can start recycling your clothing and/or purchasing stuff from thrift stores. I know, I know, the thought may be gross to some, but laundry exists and washing and reusing someone else's clothes can help take a step towards putting an end to unethical production. Plus, it's more affordable and if you're a crafty and creative person, it's fun to revive old pieces and turn them into something more up your alley. Lastly, if you're keen on purchasing new articles of clothing, then you should probably look into more ethical brands. Don't fret having to do a Google search though! I have compiled a list of five sustainable, affordable, online, and of course undeniably cute clothing brands that you should check out.
1. Alternative Apparel
Alternative Apparel was founded in 1995 and is known primarily for its presence in leading retailers, such as Macy's. From active wear all the way to business casual, Alternative Apparel has something for everyone.
And the best part? They're completely eco-friendly and certified by WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production).
2. Eileen Fisher
If you're looking for a brand that's on the 'luxury' pedestal, Eileen Fisher Inc. is the way to go.
Fisher's been in the business practically all her life and has made a pact to always use eco-friendly fabrics and practice safe-dyeing. The company is also known for recycling and reusing materials.
Her pieces can be found in Nordstrom and online.
3. Verloop Knits
Not interested in minimalist looks and would rather go for a warm, comfy outfit? Don't you worry because I got the perfect sustainable brand for you!
Verloop Knits is a clothing company which focuses on reducing textile waste by recycling and reusing materials to create adorable pieces. Moreover, they don't just focus on attire; they also create pillows, comforter sets, accessories, and more!
Cute additions to your closet or room AND eco-friendly? That's a win - for sure.
Love yoga? You may be familiar with the brand Manduka, which specializes in practically everything yoga-related - from mats to yoga pants.
Everything is sustainable and as comfortable as it comes. The environment will plank you very much. Bad pun? Come on, calling it bad is a stretch. Alright, alright, I'll stop.
5. Columbia Sportswear
If you weren't familiar with any of the brands above, you for sure have probably heard of Columbia.
The company is open about their practices, standards, and impact on the environment and also claim to do everything in their power to stay away from unethical practices.