There isn’t a clear definition of what ethical is and there is no regulation on who can make a claim. So when it comes to buying ethically, there is no clear black or white, instead it is a matter of applying common sense. There are many different factors that you can consider but ultimately it is up to you to decide what works for you.
Locally made: Whether you are living in the US, Spain, Italy or Ethiopia, every country has brands producing locally. They help to support the local economy, persevere local craftsmanship and reduce the carbon footprint of the final product.
Invest in Fair Trade: Fair Trade helps small-scale manufacturers by allowing trade of their products at a fair price in developing countries thereby empowering small and poor communities through their work. Fair Trade is one of the few topics that has clear regulations and certification, which makes it easy to identify and support.
Supporting local businesses: Every time you buy from a local business, you are increasing the time your money remains within your community and that benefits local people through the allocation of tax dollars. A locally-owned business provides jobs in the community and helps raise the quality of life. Best of all, they offer a more personalized experience, regardless of whether you are buying at your local boutique or butcher, you always get great service!
Look for chemical free and organic: The chemicals used for clothes production such as pesticides or dyes are not only harmful to the environment, but for YOU and the workers! So buying organic products with natural dyes is a win-win for all.
Purchase natural fibres: Natural fibres and biodegradable materials are less harmful to the environment than petroleum-based materials and they help the body breathe as well as feeling great against your skin.
Go second-hand: Vintage products are beautiful and unique. Re-using products that already available reduces the water, waste and carbon footprint of the garments. It is also a good way to invest in quality brands without breaking the bank.
Upcycle, repair and swap: Upcycling or swapping clothes with your friends and neighbours is a great way to avoid overconsumption while refreshing your wardrobe without damaging the planet.
Increase the mileage: I have said it 100 times and I will repeat it another 1,000. Buy clothes that you know you will wear repeatedly. Love what you buy and fall in love with what you already own. It is easy and doable by everyone. Take a look at my previous post.
Today I am wearing a 100% cotton t-shirt that you have seen before, a vintage Fendi skirt and a leather handbag and shoes (all are natural fibres with 30+ wears).
What about you, what things do you look for when buying ethically?
Pictures: Beatriz Lozano