When life is normal, things are typically a bit more black and white. Now that we’re facing somewhat of a ‘new normal,’ we’re all having to do the hard work of figuring out what remains the same and what has changed.
You may have your regular coffee order on your way to work, a job that pays you a certain agreed-upon amount every two weeks, or a weekly happy hour you’ve been doing with your girlfriends for years. But now you’re finding yourself lounging braless in jammies you’ve been rocking for well beyond 24 hours (no judgement).
While some things never change, we can all agree that a whole lot of things have. Moral conundrums are not immune. You, as a consumer of ethical fashion, may have been asking yourself, ‘should I be shopping during all of this?’
Sorry to disappoint, but we can’t answer this one for you. Before you leave though, let us explain why this is a good thing.
You have the knowledge, and now is the time to use it. If you’ve been following along with us for a while, you know why ethical fashion is so important (if you need a refresher, no worries, check out this post).
For starters, fashion is one of the largest industrial employers of women worldwide, and it’s also notorious for taking advantage of extremely vulnerable communities. By putting two and two together, it’s not hard to see that fashion retail is a key player in the global economy and in human rights. You still with us?
Moving onto YOU and current events. Under normal circumstances, it’s pretty much a no-brainer to ‘vote with your dollar’ so to speak, and shop with brands that align with your values. But what if money is tight? What if you’re facing unemployment? What if shopping feels too frivolous right now?
If that is your reality, we understand. Really, we do. And here’s what it boils down to: you know your wallet, your values, and your spending priorities better than anyone. Just like always, we encourage you to support brands you love and do so in a way that’s responsible.
If spending on clothes is giving you anxiety about your finances, don’t do it. If you’re torn between a bag from a brand you love and helping your neighbor cover rent, lean into your community. But if you want to show some love to brands doing it right in the midst of uncertainty, know that your support means the world to them.
We know this is a weird, uncomfortable thing to navigate– trust us, we’re right there with you. If you are feeling like spending money is off the table for you right now, there are still lots of ways to engage with ethical fashion during this time while staying financially responsible. Don’t lose hope, you can make an impact whether you’re spending or not.
Here is a list of our favorite ways to engage with ethical fashion while feeling good about your finances:
Take a class
Lots of colleges and universities are offering free classes at the moment! A few of our favorites? Ethical Leadership Through Giving Voice to Values at the University of Virginia and Sustainable Fashion at Copenhagen Business School.
Mend your clothes
Maybe you have a sweater you love that has a little snag or you’ve been looking for a way to repurpose those jeans. There’s no time like now to learn how to mend! This article is a good place to start.
Sign up for Business of Fashion Updates
Things are changing fast, and it’s great to stay up to date. Business of Fashion is offering one month of their professional membership for $1. This includes things like the latest news in the fashion industry, courses to dive deeper into your interests, and invites to livestreams and events.
Clean out your closet
Nothing makes you feel more accomplished than a little closet clean out. Take this time to organize what you have and take note of what you love or don’t love.
Our friend Elizabeth Cline wrote several books that serve as our Ethical Fashion Holy Grail. If you haven’t read Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion or The Conscious Closet: The Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good, now’s a great time. If reading’s not your thing, you can listen to the audiobooks while you do that at-home yoga class.
Engage on social media
Lots of brands are looking for new ways to connect with their customers and see what they need during this time. Enter, social media! Share about your favorite brands, even if you aren’t in a place to buy. Any support is positive, whether it’s monetary or relational.
Send an email
Is there a brand you admire? Let them know! Brands are full of imperfect human people trying to navigate the storm, just like you. Shoot an email to customer support or send a DM on instagram. Positivity is contagious.
How have you been navigating shopping during this time? We'd genuinely love to know. Drop us a comment below to join the conversation!
Cover image from @missdakotalynne