Hello, I’m Leah.
I’m a writer, blogger, hobby ethicist, singer, and, until recently, thrift shop manager, who just moved to Connecticut from Virginia to pursue a Masters of Divinity degree with the goal of becoming an Episcopal priest (that’s just what they call pastors). I live with my husband, Daniel, our cat, Li’l Sebastian, and 4 pet rats (ask me about my rats!).
I am a progressive Christian who believes that we all benefit from cultivating values of universal human sacredness, environmental stewardship, and intentional community. While my faith informs my work on StyleWise, my intended audience is universal, and I seek to be as inclusive as possible.
I first started thinking about the ethics of what we consume more than eight years ago while working at a craft store that sold cheap, sweatshop goods marketed as “artisan made” without fair prices to match. The disparity between the workmanship of these goods and the $3.99 price tag made me question the system behind it. Honestly, I had never thought about the makers before that experience.
I think many of us in Western countries grow up thinking that production is automated, made by robots in clean, state-of-the-art factories. After all, this is the 21st century. But the reality is that human production is often still the most precise, highest quality, and cheapest form of labor. Exploitation in the garment industry is just one nefarious symptom of a troubled world, but it is an important one because we are encouraged to consume at such a breakneck pace that we can’t help but be complicit.
As I uncovered the stories of artisans and makers on StyleWise, I began to take an interest in environmental sustainability and responsible business practices, because these things are inextricably linked. Additionally, my experience operating a small thrift shop in Charlottesville, Virginia for five years gave me further insight into our massive overconsumption problem while also providing an incredible education in textiles and garment quality.
Now I seek to provide thorough, nuanced, and accessible resources, articles, and reviews that work through the complexity of garment and goods production systems. I believe that small steps matter, but I also believe very strongly that we must build strong, sustainable coalitions that lobby for better regulations while working to imagine and create a narrative of hope. You can’t merely buy your way to a better world, but like all good habits, committing to doing the best thing you can within your means and circumstances is a catalyst for change and an example to others.
In addition to blogging, I write, speak, and consult on ethical fashion, digital marketing, theology, and the thrift economy with bylines in Christianity Today, Relevant Magazine, Mind Body Green, and Elephant Journal. You can hear me chat about ethical fashion and thrifting on Reframe Your Life and the Green Dreamer podcast (links below).
Thanks for reading StyleWise! You’re welcome here.
Green Dreamer Podcast, How To Thrift Shop Like a Pro and Support the Secondhand Economy to Grow ft. Leah Wise
Reframe Your Life Podcast, Do you feel good about your clothing purchases? Interview with influencer Leah Wise
Ecohabitude, Guest Editor Picks: Leah Wise
ORIGIN Magazine March 2017, Wellness Influencers
Feedspot, Top 75 Sustainable Fashion Blogs
AGAATI, 10 Ethical Fashion Bloggers
Christianity Today, Buy the Product, Not the Sob Story
Relevant Magazine, The Cost of Spending Less
Relevant Magazine, Why I Buy Secondhand
Rachel Held Evans, “Strength and Dignity Are Her Clothing”: Making Ethical Fashion Choices