Shopping ethically can sometimes seem daunting. Finding ethical clothing labels in a store near you can be almost as arduous a task as straightening your hair in the 90´s (cylinder brush and hairdryer, anyone?).
The problem is that more often than not, you have a pretty good idea of what you want to buy before you buy it. But you don’t want to commit every lunch break and evening to scrolling the Internet in search of the ethical label that makes that specific item. It’s not like the options aren’t there. It’s just that until ethical fashion has become as mainstream as unethical fashion, it’s not as simple as just Googling ‘basic white tee’ and picking from the 5,590,000 results.
Having said that, as someone who lives and breathes ethical fashion, I have spent hours (actually months but that’s beside the point) coveting and cataloguing ethical labels from around the globe. Among my friends, I’m like the Yoda of ethical fashion. Want to know where you can get ethical, vegan, spot-patterned Oxfords? I can tell you. Looking for a fair-trade, organic, baby-pink midi skirt? I’ve got a URL for you. Sustainably made A-line puffer coat with a hood? That’s easy.
Strangely specific examples aside, in my hours of online ‘research’ I’ve found that there are a surprising number of choices for those classic pieces that most people tend to have in their wardrobe at some stage of their fashion lives. So many options in fact, that there is really no reason for anyone to resort to the fast fashion spinning vortex of death and destruction (too doom and gloom?) to furnish themselves in the fashion basics. So without further ado, I give you:
1. The Classy Coat
The classy coat is the do-no-wrong of the outerwear world. One of those items that can instantly pull together any outfit, going equally well over jeans and a tee or your little black dress. I picked this classy wool coat by Fonnesbech.
2. The Breton Stripe
I’m of the opinion that the Breton Stripe looks good on everyone. It’s a crisp, clean minimalist style that we’ve been wearing since Coco Chanel herself borrowed it from the uniforms of the French Navy to feature in her nautical collection in 1917. For something that’s been in vogue for nearly 100 years, you can guarantee this is a look that is not going anywhere soon. My favorites? This was a hard one to narrow down. Between Vege Threads (left), Bon Label (right) and you’ve pretty much got all your Breton Stripe bases covered. For something a bit different I also adore the drape cardigan from Kowtow.
3. The White Sneaker
The white sneaker trend is getting a lot of attention at the moment. People are banging on and on about it like we haven’t been wearing white sneakers, in various incarnations, since the late nineties (looking at you, Baby Spice). My view is that a ‘trend’ that has been around the traps this long isn’t a trend anymore. Much like a good suit, white sneakers are just the trans-seasonal, go-with-everything, casual shoe that anyone can pull off. Which is really the definition of ‘classic’ style. I picked the white sneakers by etiko.
4. The Bag
Whether you’re a handbag, backpack or clutch kind of woman, Canadian lifestyle label Matt & Nat have you covered. The thing I really love about Matt & Nat (apart from being vegan) is that there is no fast fashion label that even comes close in style terms. Forget that Matt & Natt products are quality above par and will last longer than most of your relationships. Or that they’ve recycled over a million plastic bottles in the making of their handbag linings. Matt & Natt products are made from Polyurethane, which is an eco-friendlier material than PVC. The bags are sophisticated, playful and always classic. The only downside is trying to choose which one to take home with you.
I’m a firm believer that conscious consuming is one of our greatest powers as active citizens. Hopefully, this list will help make your ethical shopping choices easier. And remember that every purchase, every garment you buy makes a difference.