Apparently, the average woman’s outfit costs $1321.28. According to this infographic by Digital Surgeons, that is the amount of money many of us walk around in every day (I’m thinking 1321 one dollar bills would make for a fascinating dress, but that may be the fact that I’m entering the World Of Wearable Art spilling into other areas of my life).
One of the big barriers to making more ethical fashion choices that we often hear about is cost. It’s too expensive. As someone who has a grand total of $50 on her bank account right now, I feel ya. I do. And yet if this is the average amount we spend on a single outfit, it seems we have more to work with than we might think. That’s quite a lot of potential to vote for a better world. I wanted to experiment with what this might mean in an eco/ethical outfit.
Obviously not everyone spends that much (I for one don’t), and I don’t mean to say that it’s necessary to do so to buy ethically. But it is interesting to think about how much you’re wearing (right now, maybe?) and what positive change you could be part of with that.
- Venus Triangle Necklace by Mettle Fair Trade
$89. Made from recycled bomb shells.
- Scarab Trench Coat by Reformation
$248. Made from deadstock materials.
- The Silk Rounded Collar by Everlane
$80. Made in ethical working conditions.
- Sunday Tote by Angela Roi
$148. Vegan, made in ethical working conditions and part of profits are donated to charity.
- Maddy Black Hemp Shoes by Beyond Skin
$124. Vegan, PVC free, made in ethical working conditions.
- Aster Jumper by Sezane
$151. Made in ethical working conditions with high focus on quality.
- Aimee Shorts by Who Made Your Pants
$20. Made in the UK from deadstock fabric, providing jobs to female refugees.
- Atelier Skirt by People Tree
$208. Handwoven Fair Trade cotton.
Total = $1068 (all prices in US dollars, because I assume that was what was used in the infographic)
But here’s the thing…
As it so often does, thinking and writing about this topic has brought up some other issues and questions. In particular, where do you draw the line between promoting better products and plain old promoting consumption?
As in, does this pretty picture I put together for us all to enjoy (loving the colour scheme, if I do say so myself) leave us feeling inspired to make better choices, confident that eco/ethical fashion is just as stylish as any other kind of clothing? Or does it just feed that desire for new and for more? Does it in fact contribute to (what I believe to be) the biggest issue – namely that we are consuming far too much, and for all the wrong reasons?
This is one of the reasons I’ve avoided doing product-focused posts until now – in a world that teaches that buying is the solution to all of life’s problems, we don’t really need another shopping list slapped up on the internet. But if we don’t push these better products, talk about them, let people know that it is possible, fun and pretty damn sexy to do better, then how can we expect them to do so?
If we shut up and lie low, the businesses doing the damage certainly won’t be following suit. That’s for sure. Their voices will become the only ones that are heard. Better brands need help to become well-known, and people need to feel that buying an ethical piece of clothing doesn’t need to involve hours of hunting around and stacks of research.
I notice undertones of these questions in a lot of people’s work, and I’m glad. We are asking questions of others and ourselves. In Rebecca’s If You Need It series (the name says it all, really). In Jess’ hesitant and oh-so-dry recommendation (please never lose the oh-so-dry) for Sezane. In Patagonia’s Black Friday celebration of what we already own. When a company starts saying, “Buy our stuff. But not too much! And only if you need it!”, people are starting to think.
So I ask you, my lovely readers – in this space here, how do you feel about product recommendations? Brands being highlighted that are doing things differently? Is this useful, or is it more stuff in a world that already has too much?If you enjoyed this post, stay in touch! Follow @ThisKindChoice