recycle

the moral wardrobe: oldies

personal style
h & m jumper
polaroids
sseko designs loafers
Ethical Details: Top - made in USA; Dress - old; Shoes - Sseko Designs c/o Made Fair

Sometimes the most ethical thing you can do for your wardrobe is wear out your old things. I bought this dress at H&M a few years ago on a trip to Richmond with a friend. At the time, I was impressed with H&M's corporate social responsibility report and thought they'd be a good option for ethical goods. My opinion has changed over the years - fast fashion is unsustainable regardless of how well-intentioned your policies are - but I am pleased to see that H&M is starting to make jeans out of recycled materials and plans to use organic cotton for all its cotton goods within 5 years. It's not perfect, but it's a start. 

I've been spending a huge amount of time at work preparing for and implementing our seasonal switchover to fall-appropriate clothing. Lots of physical labor. But it's pretty much done now and I'm excited to have more time to enjoy the cooler weather and maybe stop by a nearby sunflower field in the next couple of weeks.

A note on the camera: my parents sent me back from my recent visit with my old Polaroid camera, so I bought myself some film and tried it out! It still works just fine and it made a nice prop for this photo shoot. Maybe I should hold more things in my hands when I take outfit photos. It makes me feel like I have a purpose.

12 months, 12 goals: shop secondhand

secondhand shopping

It dawned on me, as I flipped and flipped through endless blouses at a local Goodwill on Monday, that thrift shops will never run out of items for me to add to my closet. Sure, there are a few items (like underwear) that I'd rather not purchase at the thrift store, but really, there's a lot to be found if you take the time to look.

A few of my prized thrift finds include LL Bean Duck boots, a BCBG Max Azria Flapper-style dress, and several items in pristine condition that I wear so much I forgot I bought them on the secondhand market.

And if that's not enough, internet marketplaces and local vintage shops allow me to shop curated collections when I'm not in the mood to spend 2 hours searching through crowded racks. I buy most of my shoes secondhand on ebay; I've purchased like-new Minnetonka moccasins and several pairs of sneakers for a third of their original price. I found my favorite vintage dresses on etsy and ebay.

The marketplace is flooded with piles of discarded clothing with plenty of wear left, so why do we insist on buying new? Secondhand shopping is easier than it's ever been - we can do it from our couches - so we really have no reason not to try it.

People are often confused about the ethical value of secondhand shopping, noting that many donated goods were likely produced in sweatshops. What they aren't connecting is that the thrift market doesn't operate according to traditional supply-and-demand principles; if you buy cast-offs, you aren't participating in the traditional market at all. Instead, you're opting out; you're boycotting; you impact it only because you're avoiding it. We're nowhere near operating in a market in which demand for secondhand items exceeds supply, so we can rest assured that we do no harm (to others, at least) when we make it rain at the thrift store.

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