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Why I Don't Feature Ethical Men's Fashion

men's ethical fashion
via Unsplash

You want the short answer or the long answer?

The short answer is that I have yet to find an ethical retailer that makes clothes my husband fits in. 

The long answer is that I'm frustrated. Daniel, despite his good intentions and desire to shop ethically, literally can't.

That's because ethical retailers like Everlane, Krochet Kids, Thought, and more either don't carry men's clothing past XL or they only carry "slim fit" and "athletic" silhouettes, as if all men spend a lot of time drinking Muscle Milk and beefing up their pecs at the gym while managing to keep their wastes taut and trim.

I haven't struggled with my weight the way many people - through a combination of absurd social expectations, genetics, stress, and other factors - have, and do. But I watched my mother struggle to feel like she was enough: that she'd lost enough weight, that she looked right and acted right and dressed well. And I watch my husband try to juggle the crushing expectations of academia with the equally crushing, superficial expectations of our culture when it comes to physical appearance.

It's not fair that people who don't fit the mold are physically excluded from pursuing certain lifestyles with the same gusto "average" or "thin" people like me are granted. 

And yes, I totally understand that startups prioritize middle sizes before they move outward on the spectrum, trying to balance consumer demand with costs and predict what sizes will actually sell through. But 2/3 of American adults are considered overweight, which means at least a portion of them are bound to need sizes above XL in silhouettes that account for the fact that they aren't body builders, and I honestly don't understand why companies - especially the well established ones that brand themselves as ethical - aren't accounting for this.

I don't feature ethical men's fashion because my husband has been systematically excluded from participating in it. It's a rebellion, but it's also just a fact. 

How can I review something that won't work for the man I love the most?

Now, there are some utilitarian basics that are produced in the USA. Daniel purchases a good amount of his t-shirts from Bayside, for instance, but other than that, we haven't had much luck. I told him a long time ago that I don't judge him for not converting everything over to responsibly sourced and fairly made. Like I told my sister once when we were swimsuit shopping: "Clothing is made for bodies, bodies aren't made for clothes."

We shouldn't be expected to conform our proportions to an industry standard. We shouldn't let inanimate clothing make us feel like we're nothing. Before mass production, clothing was made-to-order by tailors who took our individual measurements. Clothing was made to flatter bodies that sometimes didn't match the golden ratio, and that was ok.

Of course I want men of all shapes and sizes to benefit from ethical fashion, to be a true part of this community. But I can't in good conscience offer resources that have no relevance to the man who is my other half.

This is my rebellion, but it's also just a fact.

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