Sunday, January 8, 2017

Lifestyle Reboot - November: Sourcing Responsibly

There are a lot of things about living in the Midwest that I really appreciate. Low cost of living, not a lot of traffic, generally helpful, friendly people - these are all things I love. It is not, however, the most progressive part of the country, which means that, as I've mentioned before, I sometimes struggle to find sustainable options for things locally.

After spending almost the whole year avoiding fast fashion, I have had to accept that shopping exclusively secondhand in my city is probably not a sustainable long-term option. There aren't very many options outside of traditional thrift stores like Goodwill, which means that I often end up spending many hours searching at several different stores for the things I want and sometimes I can't even find them at all. At a certain point, it's just not really a feasible option, so I decided to devote this month to finding some acceptable alternatives.

Since I've already committed to avoiding fast fashion for the year (and, really, the foreseeable future), there wasn't a clear daily goal or restriction for the month. Instead I made a point to spend time throughout the month researching brands and companies that have solid policies for sustainable, low impact sourcing and manufacturing.

My main focus right now is replacing bras and undies. A very cursory search for sustainable intimates reveals a wealth of options, including several round-ups of ethical brands. Here are a couple that I found helpful in my search:

There are a lot more and each company has its own focus and sustainability practices, so do take the time to read about a company before ordering to make sure it meets your own criteria. I wasn't able to find what I was looking for in the bra department, but I did order some new undies from PACT Organic that I am pretty happy with. They focus on organic cotton, so they also sell socks, hoodies, leggings and tops for both men and women. It's a great option for sustainable basics. I found that a lot of the brands on these lists sell more than just underwear, which is awesome if you find a brand you really like.

Other clothing brands I discovered this month that I'm interested in:
Icebreaker - merino wool outdoor and activewear
Satva - organic, sustainable yoga clothes and basics
Tonle - uses remnant material from fast fashion to create limited edition lines of adorable clothing

I am also in the market for some new shoes. My current fast fashion options are wearing out and I'd like to replace them with more high quality basics that will stand up to changing fashion trends and can be repaired as needed. I haven't ordered any yet, as I think I can make it through the season with what I've got, but I did find several companies that have some great options when I am ready to pull the trigger.
15 Ethical Shoe Brands for Every Occasion

Overall I was glad to find that there are so many options out there. Not every company meets all of my criteria, but I'm glad to see how many organizations are trying to do better. I was disappointed to find that there are still some things I just can't find. In those cases I plan to do the best I can and then try to take care of what I buy so that it doesn't have to be replaced very often. I think that the main take aways are just to take the time to actually read about what practices are being used by a company before supporting them.

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