Saturday, January 7, 2017

affordable ethical consumerism choices

I've mentioned that Jon is a vegetarian. He has several reasons for his choice, but one of those reasons is to be a better steward to our planet. This has also resulted in him feeling convicted about only purchasing ethically-sourced clothing from here on out. This means the days of getting a shirt on clearance for $3 are pretty much over for us. That being said, since we want to live more of a minimalist lifestyle, the timing of his conviction couldn't be better. What better way to avoid falling into the trap of buying stuff we don't need because it's cheap than only allowing ourselves to buy more expensive, ethically-sourced items? I have been looking into ethically-sourced (fair wages, good working conditions, etc.) clothing and have found most information on the internet skews towards high fashion (and over triple-digit) clothing - something that we generally cannot afford. As such, I decided to compile a list of the more affordable lines of both sustainable and ethical goods.

Ethically sourced clothing:
Tea Collection: This is a children's clothing line that you may have already heard of. I'll admit that so long as my kids are in the growing-like-weeds stage of life (birth to five, I'd say) I probably cannot afford to exclusively buy their clothes from Tea Collection. However, I plan on getting a few staple pieces from Tea Collection for the girls (since Edith can hand it down; sorry Etta!) soon. I also want to get a few bottoms for Elden once he outgrows his current pants.

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Alternative: With free shipping, free returns and no tax, this is one of my new favorites. Alternative Apparel is definitely more for basics (tees, sweats, etc.) over fashion, but their stuff is much more affordable than most stores for being ethically sourced. The thermal Henley above is $34. Sign up to get a 30% off your first order coupon.

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Everlane: Everlane isn't quite as ethically responsible as some of the others I've posted here, but they are transparent about their factories and costs to manufacture their clothing. The dress above is just $38.

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PACT: PACT carries clothing for the whole family (although very limited selection for men) and it is so affordable! The organic baby pants above are just $10.99. PACT's organic cotton is certified by The Global Organic Textile Standard which focuses partially on the protection of workers’ rights--employment is freely chosen, working conditions are safe and hygienic, living wages are paid, no discrimination is practiced, and no child labor is used. I think this is probably one of the most affordable ethical clothing lines I've stumbled upon. There's also an adorable women's wrap dress for $33.99, plus underwear and undershirts for you and your significant other. 

ASOS: Not all of ASOS clothing is fair trade or sustainable, but they do have a specific line that is (ASOS Made in Kenya) that ranges in price from $9-$100.

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Threads for Thought: Carrying both men's and women's clothing, this brand is both ethical and sustainable. It is affordable by those standards and there is also currently a 5% cashback option through Ebates. The leggings pictured above are $29.99.


For a compilation of more fair trade clothing companies, click here.

Ethically sourced home goods, gifts, toys, etc.:
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Martha Stewart American Made: A while back I used free credit card points to subscribe to Martha Stewart Living. In the February catalog I saw an ad about her American-made products and when I pulled up the website I was taken not only with the whimsy, but with the affordability. She has ridiculously cute (and--for being American made--totally affordable!) baby itemstoys and games, patio / lawn / garden items, kitchen itemshome goods, jewelry and accessories. The 3-pack of organic bibs in the photo above is $10.

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West Elm: A lot of West Elm's products carry different environmental certifications--look for an elm tree, handmade, or green packaging icon. They also carry fair trade, local, and sustainably sourced items. Here is a glossary of the icons that can help you make ethical purchases. The duvet cover in the image above is $89.99 for a king and is both organic and fair trade--not a bad deal for something that would last a long time.

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