Make Your Black Friday an #ethicalblackfriday

ethical black friday, MadeFAIR + Bead & Reel

What would an Ethical Black Friday look like? 

Because it seems to me that it can't just be about diverting our crazed shopping to ethical companies (Did you know that from 2006-2014, there were 7 deaths and 98 injuries that occurred as a direct result of Black Friday shopping?) Conscious consumerism means taking the time to be more thoughtful: to slow down, look up, and make the best choice we can (and improve lives instead of stampeding over them).

MadeFAIR and Bead & Reel* believe that, too, so this year they're co-hosting #ethicalblackfriday. On Black Friday, both sites will redirect to, where you'll be able to purchase just one item - the handwoven, fair trade Linda Scarf - with 50% of proceeds benefiting the Dressember Foundation, which raises money for antitrafficking efforts around the world.

Read the full Press Release below:

Independently owned ethical and sustainable fashion retailers MadeFAIR and Bead & Reel are teaming up for an Ethical Black Friday initiative supporting Weavers Project and the Dressember in a joint statement addressing overconsumption, labor exploitation, and unsustainable fashion practices. 
This Black Friday, both online stores will be offering a new way to shop, shutting down for the day and redirecting to, where conscious shoppers will have the opportunity to support fair trade practices and this year’s chosen charity—the Dressember Foundation—with the purchase of the limited edition Linda Scarf. Visitors to the site will be encouraged to spend the day investing in experiences with family, friends, or by themselves.They can join the movement by sharing said endeavorson social media with the hashtag #ethicalblackfriday. 
The Linda Scarf is handwoven and fair trade, manufactured in Cambodia by the Weavers Project. It’s 100% unbleached cotton, with charcoal stripes that were hand-dyed using actual charcoal. Half the proceeds will go to Dressember, a 501(c)3 collaborative movement leveraging fashion and creativity to restore dignity to all women and end modern day slavery.  
Transparency is at the center of Ethical Black Friday, and a complete cost breakdown of the scarf is available so shoppersknow what their money is supporting. The price of the $50 scarf accounts for: $25 donated toDressember,$6 towards shipping, $9 profit split between the participating stores, $4 to the individual artisan who wove the scarf, and $6 to be re-invested in education, healthcare, and impact investments in Takeo Province, Cambodia.  
Last year, Ethical Black Friday sold out, offering 100 scarves that raising $2,000 for Made in a Free World. This year, the campaign has grown to include its own websiteand will have 200 scarves available until November 29th (or until they are sold out). Supporters can expect to receive their scarves on December 5th, and flat rate international shipping will be available.  
Both stores will remain closed through Cyber Monday and reopen on Fair Tuesday

While it's inevitable that we'll shop this season, even if just for simple gifts for family and friends, we can start off the shopping season with a meditation on what we need, what we want, and how our purchases affect others. I'll share a list of sales and discount codes over the weekend, but I plan to get outside as much as possible and enjoy the good things this Holiday weekend brings, like family, food, and autumn mountain views.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all. See you on the other side.


Check out more info on Ethical Black Friday here.

a good read: ecouterre's eco-fashion predictions

Ecouterre recently asked 37 ethical and eco-minded designers, leaders, and organizers what 2015 holds for the sustainable fashion industry. Though no one knows for sure how things will pan out, most believe that this may be the year the movement hits critical mass. Things are changing, and with starlets and world leaders talking about it and wearing conscientious clothing, the larger population is sure to join in soon.

image source: ecouterre

The difficult thing about discussing fair trade, for me at least, is that it's always a give and take between endorsing sustainable brands and limiting consumption and consumerist ideals. If fair trade becomes a trend, that means we can get a lot of people motivated to spend their money on things that make a difference. But I'm a big believer that motives matter. Ideally, a move toward sustainability will include thoughtfulness and conviction, and help us slow down a bit in our race to get what's new and better. In the short term at least, it can't be helped that we're forcing ethical ideals into the Capitalist framework that forms our economic identity. But we should try to acknowledge that the consumerist system we live within is a construct. It does not represent all possible realities. We must strive to change shopping habits and hearts. We don't have to settle for less.

All that said, I am really inspired by what these ethical leaders have to say about the future of sustainable fashion and I'm in a bit of disbelief that changes are happening quickly and on an international scale. Let's keep fightin' the good fight. Let's keep reassessing what our goals are and what they should be!

A few excerpts:

Over the past year, we’ve seen the end of greenwashing as an industry practice as more designers and brands focus on the internal shifts within their companies and supply chains needed for real actionable change. While the importance of the consumers' education for better quality fashion still exists, 2015 will be a year for retooling internal operations. - Lewis Perkins
And, as consumers are made increasingly aware that both fast fashion and fast luxury are responsible for unethical fashion, I predict the resurrection of the artisan, as we collectively look into our heritage, as well as innovation, for sustainable solutions. - Orsola de Castro
On the brighter side, Fashion Revolution enters its second year. Carrying on the groundswell of international support, the global conversation will be opened even further. More people than ever before will demand to know that their clothing has not been made at the expense of people or the planet, and the public will expect that brands are able to ensure this. - Sarah Ditty

All quotes excerpted from Ecouterre's 37 Eco-Fashion Predictions for 2015


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I'm following in Catherine's (of Walking with Cake) footsteps today and posting a few memorable links.

Palestinian teen killed in suspected revenge attack by hard-line Israelis, Al Jazeera America

Promoting better products or just promoting consumption?, This Kind Choice

Brainstorming Keywords, Etsy Blog (I've been working on SEO this week)

Set Me As a Seal, Rene Clausen (we sang this in church choir this morning; it's always a lovely one to sing and listen to)

Dus of Cuddly Cacti just got back from Mexico and has stocked Mitla Moda with some great new arrivals: Shop here

Over 50 Workers Injured in Yet Another Disaster..., North Face Death Traps

Retailer Asos Resumes Taking Orders After Warehouse Fire, Wall Street Journal (did you guys hear about this?)

Anything interesting on the fair trade front? On the internet cats front?

ModCloth: it's not that great

modcloth is meh

ModCloth, popular online retailer of vintage-inspired clothing, has a lot going for it: independent designers, an in-house collection, fair trade options, and diverse models and size ranges. But I don't like them. I've placed a dozen or so orders over the past few years and have returned almost everything due to poor quality and fit.

I recently discovered that ModCloth purchases from the same LA fashion district warehouses as Forever 21 and other discount retailers. This wouldn't be an issue if ModCloth garments were priced in the range of Forever 21. But they're often quite expensive; full priced dresses start at $44.99 and tend toward the imported and cheaply made variety. Despite thinking I know a lot about the retail industry, it hadn't dawned on me that ModCloth was using its wholesome reputation to generate absurd profit.

Personal Disappointment

I purchased several pairs of domestically produced high waist jeans in the price range of 35.00 to 50.00 over the past year. A button fell off the first pair on the second wear. The second pair had a grossly off-center waist placket; when I exchanged it for another pair, I found the button hole impossible to fasten. When I got in touch with a representative to voice my quality control concerns, I was dismissed. The third pair I purchased went back due to a defect, as well. That one happened to be the last pair in my size and I noticed a few days after my return that the size was back in stock with 1 pair left, so I know they ignored the defect and resold them as new.

Poor Corporate Environment

As if quality control issues weren't bad enough, I read recently that warehouse conditions are sub par, with grueling hourly processing expectations preventing employees from adequately looking over garments. The social environment is akin to that of my old employer; it's a drink-the-koolaid-or-else mentality that offers all the surface level bells and whistles without any of the personal fulfillment or long term security.

modcloth article quote

Deceptive Branding

I've gotta hand it to them for their genius social media and branding tactics that make them seem like a small but thriving happy band of social justice warriors. It's genius because it isn't quite true. ModCloth's sales exceeded 100 million dollars last year. And in a recent interview with Mashable, co-founder Eric Koger, states, "We want the brand to come across as if Susan is still writing copy, not a big organization." On some level, this makes sense and it's certainly a great way to ensure personable customer service. But when customers are led to believe they're supporting a small business, they're more likely to overpay and over-advertise the company to their social networks. When they're being duped into doing it for a large, established company like ModCloth, the feel-good branding doesn't feel so good anymore.

modcloth article quote,

I like some of the things ModCloth stands for: individuality, community, diversity. But I fear that it's all a big marketing ploy. I fear it's all smoke and mirrors to cover up widespread quality control issues, poor sourcing practices, and meh corporate standards.
*I'm shooting myself in the foot here because I just applied to be a model for ModCloth. Oh well. Also, they just changed their return policy, so beware: returns are no longer free!

World Fair Trade Day is tomorrow

World Fair Trade Day is tomorrow!

wftd graphicHere's what you can do:

Watch the new documentary, Connected by Coffee, for free, streaming all day May 10 at

Visit your local Ten Thousand Villages for product samples and information.

Read up on Fair Trade organizations and companies.

Deck yourself out in fair trade attire and try to consume mostly fair trade food.

Let others know!

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style wise guideJust a quick announcement to let you know that Style Wise has a new domain name! is now WordPress will automatically redirect you to the blog from its old web address, but you may still want to update your blog readers (or your memory). There are unfortunately quite a few variants of my blog name on the internet, but Wise is my last name and the term captures the goals of this blog so well that I'd rather keep it and hope for the best.

Thanks for following. I think this is going to be a good year for Style Wise.

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12 months, 12 goals

Style Wise is one year old! To celebrate, I'm rolling out a new series in which everyone can participate!

12 Months, 12 Goals is a year long challenge that breaks down ethical shopping goals into easier-to-manage, month long chunks. These challenges are emphasized during the month in which they are originally announced, but can continue throughout the year. The intent is to develop habits one-by-one that contribute to more ethical, sustainable living and to confront both unhealthy consumer habits and our broken retail system. By taking slow and thoughtful strides toward ethical and intentional living, I hope to develop lasting positive routines that benefit myself and others.

I'll announce a new challenge at the beginning of each month, then post on my progress at the start of the next month.

Goal 1: Shop secondhand.

For the month of January, my goal is to shop only secondhand. This is a fitting goal for the start of the year because it requires very little money and it's the surest way, at least in the short term, to ensure that my purchases are ethical and sustainable.

Potential goals for the following months include:

  • Learn to sew.

  • Shop local.

  • Shop handmade.

  • Donate to a microloan organization.

  • Invest in a fair trade garment.

  • Write an article on the state of the garment industry.

  • Explore more fair trade food options.

  • Start a petition that demands manufacturing transparency.

  • Spread the word about fair trade in my community.

We're better together, so let me know if you plan to get involved. Tailor your goals to your personal struggles and desires and let me know! I'd love to link up with you.

While you're at it, grab a button for your blog:

Copy this code: <a href=""><img src="" width="200" height="200" alt="stw"></a>

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