Before I became an Ethigirl, I bought a lot of clothing. It was something I loved to do and I prided myself in looking unique, while still put together. So while in the midst of my switch, although I knew ethics and the environment would always come first, I still wanted to make sure I would look good.
So came the research! One quick Google search of “fair trade clothing” led me into a wormhole (a good one) of new brands selling every type of clothing, accessory, and shoe I could possibly want to buy. It was overwhelming in the best possible way.
What I’m trying to say is that there is no shortage of fair trade, ethical, and sustainable clothing to buy. In this post, I want to share a few of my absolute staple brands, and the fast fashion brands they might remind you of. These brands are not in any way copying fast fashion labels, but if you feel you identify with the style of, say, American Eagle, this post will show you how you can still rock that style and feel good about it. Finally, one more reminder: making the switch doesn’t mean completely remodeling your wardrobe on day one! Still love and appreciate those American Eagle pieces and use them ‘till the very end. Then, once they need a replacement...basically, turn here.
Finally, without further ado: the swaps!
SIMPLE, FLOWING PIECES WITH A CALIFORNIA VIBE: KNOWN SUPPLY
WHAT ETHIGIRL LOVES: I cannot say enough about Known Supply, really. I follow all their social media accounts, read all their blog posts, and promote them frequently on my own Facebook account. I am so in love with what they do. They have fair trade-certified, women-only cooperatives in Peru, Uganda, and now India, where they create beautiful pieces ranging from tees to dresses to jumpsuits to sweaters. The prices are, of course, high enough to be ethical, but also affordable to someone on a budget. Sewn into each piece is a tag which has, literally written on it, the name of the woman who made it. And you can even go on their site and write her a thank-you note!
Known Supply is super transparent not only about where their clothing is made but also their stances on political issues. They recently published an impactful letter called Our Humanity Matters about the separation of children from their families at the Mexico-USA border, wherein they declared they’d be sending 50% of their profits to a great NGO called RAICES Texas until July 19th, 2018.
THE COMPARISON: I think that their pieces remind me a lot of American Eagle because of their beachy California vibe and effortlessly cute basics. For instance, this AE dress is, in my opinion, a lot like Known Supply’s Hollie Dress.
CURRENTLY ON MY WISHLIST: Like I said, I probably spend slightly too much time exploring Known Supply’s site, so I’m quite well-versed in what they offer. The things I currently would like to purchase are the Dazey LA collab “She Is We” Tank and the Sasha Top.
QUIRKY, WHIMSICAL DRESSES AND JEWELRY: MATA TRADERS
WHAT ETHIGIRL LOVES: You’d be hard-pressed to find a fellow Ethigirl who doesn’t own at least one piece from Mata. I love this brand! It’s led by women, and also employs all women in its India-based, fair trade cooperative. The adorable, vintage-inspired, eye-catching prints on all of its pieces are inspired by the colours and bright culture of India, and I am so glad they are.
Mata Traders sells what I have before defined as investment pieces. Their dresses sell for relatively high prices, but are worth every cent because of their ethics and commitment to sustainability. Therefore, you’re likely not going to buy five at once, but you will definitely buy one, you will wear it at least once a week because you love it so much, and then you’ll go back for more. However, you can also find good deals on their older designs if you look through the website’s catalogue. I also love Mata’s handmade jewelry! They sell super unique earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, some of which are apparently designed by their student interns.
THE COMPARISON: Modcloth. Mata Traders’ unique dresses remind me so much of all the quirky designs that Modcloth also sells. So much so, actually, that they’re sold on the Modcloth site occasionally! For instance, this Modcloth dress reminds me quite a bit of Mata’s Myrabelle Shirtdress! I love the button-up front and the adorable pattern this piece boasts.
CURRENTLY ON MY WISHLIST: Mata’s Spring/Summer ‘18 collection has been so AMAZING that I have had my eye on almost every piece in it. I literally have no idea which thing to buy! I think, though, that I’ll probably go with either the Dilly Daisy dress in Peach Iris or the Raya Dress with cream stripes.
LUST FOR ADVENTURE: UNITED BY BLUE
WHAT ETHIGIRL LOVES: United By Blue is so awesome! Their environmental commitment is just fantastic. It’s pretty hard to feel guilty about purchasing one of their super soft graphic tees or colourful enamel mugs when you know it was not only made sustainably but cleans a pound of trash from the ocean. Their prices are affordable, but you know they are worth every dollar. If you like camping (and even if you don’t), you’ve got to check out their site: I guarantee you’ll find something you want.
THE COMPARISON: Due to the nature of UBB, it’s pretty difficult to compare them to a fast fashion brand, as many outdoors clothing retailers tend to be a lot more responsible. I have noticed, however, a growing trend of apparel and accessories that you can buy anywhere with catchy, wanderlust-filled sayings like this "Go Outside" tee by Indy Brand that seem to be inspiring a new generation of outdoors lovers, which is awesome! I think UBB does this whole branding in the best possible way. This Tent Dreams Tee is fantastic evidence of that.
CURRENTLY ON MY WISHLIST: Like I said, UBB’s, well, everything, are just so irresistible. Right now, I’ve got my eye on a couple of things, including the Parks Pennant Ringer Tee and the Highlands Travel Shirt.
I hope that these comparisons, which are just a few of SO many, will inspire you to use your own unique sense of style and switch it over to something more ethical.
It’s not hard to do! Just do a bit of hunting and I guarantee you’ll find a new piece that you love. Finally, if there was a fast fashion brand or trend I didn’t mention that you’d love to find a comparison to, leave a comment! I’d love to help you out.
With love and sustainability,