the moral wardrobe: all the neutrals

Ethical Details: Tee – Everlane; Cardigan – thrifted; Necklace – handmade via etsy; Sandals: Betula by Birkenstock*

I went through a couple of outfit changes to get to this one, but I’m so happy with the result. I used to avoid warm colors and neutrals, but I think last year’s experiments with hair color helped me get a sense of what suits my complexion. I love coppery brown tones that highlight my natural hair color (isn’t it crazy that I hadn’t seen my natural hair color in all its glory for something like three years?).

I think my orientation to the fair trade industry has shifted slightly in the last few months. I’m trying to find and highlight more brands that are both fair trade and sustainable, because I think it’s silly to avoid the inevitable conversation between the two movements. Additionally, I’m increasingly convinced that supporting factories with ethical labor standards in countries like China is just as important as supporting fair trade; they reform different parts of the same industry and I think supporting them in tandem is the way to go. Not everyone can be supported by a fair trade co-op. If there’s greater consumer demand for well-maintained factories, more people can find good work. There are a lot of moving parts and it’s easy to get overwhelmed, but I’m glad to know I can make choices that help.

*Betula sandals are made in Spain, where labor standards are high and regularly enforced. Parent company, Birkenstock, makes efforts to reduce energy and materials waste.

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5 thoughts

  1. Yeah! I'm all for supporting the global economy, but I try to buy American made stuff, too, since it supports people in my country. And things certainly aren't perfect here.

  2. The birkinstocks are a good point that fair trade is not only about the third world but also Europe. I make a point to buy Oska linen clothes because I know they are made in my home town which whilst in the EU suffers high levels of deprivation over 15% unemployment. linen growing and processing as well as garment making has a llong history there and of course a lot of skills. I think it is very important to support European economy.

  3. I started out very firmly in the fair trade camp, because I was horrified with the way we were treating our own species, but I'm realizing the interconnectedness of people and planet and that ultimately they need to work together. I know what you're saying about picking and choosing one primary cause over another – it's difficult to know what product does the most good sometimes. Sometimes it feels like choosing the lesser evil.

  4. I never thought of choosing. I have a very broad definition of what I like to support, basically anything that is a little better, and is pushing the fashion industry in a direction towards more fair and more sustainable practices. But that also means sometimes I have to choose something that I know to be made under good or OK condition, but know very little about the materials, and the other way around (which happens more often, and that I have maybe started questioning whether I', fine with) where I know all about the environmental impact of the materials, but little to none about the production conditions.

  5. This is such a good point. Artisan groups have become sort of en vogue, but large factories will still manufacture most of the world's clothes. If companies can make sure those factories are safe and their employees are fairly paid, then that will go along way toward improving things.

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