Friday, October 19, 2012

Fair trade fashion

The Minimalist Mom just did a great post on the real cost of cheap clothes. This has been a huge issue in our house - way too many cheap clothes, purchased on a whim only to languish in our closets unworn for years and then sheepishly stuffed in a bag and sent to live at Value Village or Goodwill.  Jay and I both have far too many clothes and are making a concerted effort to give things away and donate them. But that's only part of the problem - we need to buy less. More importantly, we need to buy less often, but higher quality. Higher quality and higher ethical standards.

Its no secret that most of what we in industrialized nations wear is made in developing countries in deplorable conditions, by people getting paid a pittance. Its shameful, and many of us pay lip service to the fact that such practices need to change, but we often feel that we have no choice. We want to stop supporting companies that don't engage in fair trade practices, but then what do we buy? Can we even afford ethically made clothing? And how do we know something really is fair trade?

After years of saying we wanted to change the way we buy clothes, Jay and I recently discussed the need to examine this issue. We really can't claim to be living a greener life if we don't at least try to change this rather large aspect of our spending. I'll admit, we feel a bit lost at this point but its something we are going to be looking into over the next little while.

Our first discovery has been clothes at MEC, a Canadian retailer with a commitment to sustainability, and we've purchased some lovely Canadian-made items for ourselves and the boys. We've been impressed with the quality and plan to make future purchases from them. Now, to find more ethical, sustainable, work-appropriate attire.

Are you mindful of where your clothes come from? Why or why not?Have you found any good-quality, work-appropriate clothing, preferably Canadian-made? Any recommendations?

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