Although I had been writing a blog since 1999 on livejournal, I had moved to blogspot and eventually wordpress as a modest fashion blogger. Since I was a kid I had been heavily into vintage clothing. After having two children in my early to mid twenties in 2007 & 2008, I started to notice a heavy influx of fashion bloggers, many who were becoming role models to younger girls who were showing off a lot of skin. I had already been a youth leader for a few years and saw the sexualization in the fashion industry and the impact it had on girls (I fell for it myself as a teen). Vintage was making a come-back and I wanted to show a side of modesty in fashion. I made a point to buy more vintage clothing, model them, and inspire others towards modesty.
What I found instead in my process was that I was spending a load of money. Also I easily tore my vintage clothing because I am not delicate enough to wear them. I am a little bit rough and tough. I started caring more about my outward appearance than about my own spiritual growth. I was spending money at times on repairs for my vintage to keep them longer. I think that while I had a good understanding of who I was at the time, the less that I concentrated on my clothing, the more I concentrated on what was important: God and my neighbor/people around me & the world.
In 2007 I was starting to learn more and more about human trafficking issues where I was constantly researching it (still do each week). While I may have been wearing vintage clothing made in US factories in the 1940s-1970s, I did own other clothing too. I saw the materialism in general in my own life and in the fashion blogging industry and it started to make me feel sick. I realized that my message of modesty, though important to me, was not something I wanted to push on people. I began to notice that when one is a believer of Christ; as they pursue him, he’ll change their hearts in how they dress regardless of what I say or do, and my mindset was certainly not to change those who don’t believe in Christ to be modest, because I am not called to care so much about that, but to care for their souls and show them love in general, and my fashion wasn’t even important.
I got tired of seeing people’s wishlist posts of more and more clothing that eventually they wouldn’t wear anyway or their closets filled with hundreds of items that barely were being worn. I noticed I had a lot sitting in my own closet that I wore once or twice only. It was not worth it. I wanted instead to tell people how to help encourage freedom of those who made their clothes. Slavery in the fashion industry is a terrible thing going on right now. Labor trafficking is everywhere, but the fashion industry thrives deeply because girls continue to want more and more clothing, and I had been one of them.
I started to wear the same things over and over again each week and realized that I didn’t need much. My journey to minimalism started up (again, as I had been one before being a fashion blogger). My path to wanting to only buy slave-free items grew vast. Over a year ago now is when I decided to go back to owning less because I didn’t want to give into the slavery that I despised I longed to own only fair-trade, sustainable, or ethically created items. My husband Rob believed in this too and I saw a drastic change in how he was dealing with everything I told him about slavery all the time.
This week is a week of Fashion Revolution. Throughout the week, ending today, people have been posting photos of themselves showing their clothing labels on social media and tagging the companies and asking them #whomademyclothes in order to bring a stop to the insanity of slave labor. I love that many companies are responding with #imadeyourclothes posts!
As I look at the clothing I wear, there is only one item I have left that I am unsure of being made ethically or not. My jeans. I wear them every single day practically, and have for a year! I am in shock that they have not fallen apart yet. Today I emailed the company of my jeans, Liverpool Jeans Company, if they create their jeans by sourcing everything ethically. Do they know those who work on making their jeans? Do they have good work hours? Are the working conditions safe and clean? Are they being paid well for their labor? These are questions I ask companies regularly as it is. I hope I get a good response. I am going to be replacing these jeans as soon as they die (the bum is getting pretty bare lately). They are the only pair that I own.
I have gone to being all fashionable to pretty simplistic (I have less “boring” clothing that are Fair Trade too). All my clothing can fit in one drawer (and I have some room for more if I wanted to). I have only a few items left in my closet (one vintage dress left – only two dresses in general).
I wear this outfit maybe up to 4 times a week. The shirt I wear nearly daily is from Pact. Although their photos are not very modest, their prices are affordable and they are even Fair Trade certified. Look at all the info they share on their site about where their clothing is made and how. This is what I like to see.
My sandals are by Sseko Designs. They create jobs for women in Uganda in order to help them gain an education. When you receive the shoes you buy, they tell you the name of the woman who made them. You can look up the information on the website and read that woman’s story.
Now let’s look at Rob. He calls this outfit his “uniform” as he wears it whenever we go out somewhere (he has clothing he wears for work). He wears it to church and all. I think the jeans are a little big on him (he lost weight since I was a fashion blogger . . .and gained a beard) but at least the company (Levi Strauss) explains about who makes their clothing. The same can be said about the shoes he is wearing (Vans). His shirt is from Everlane. He owns three shirts in the same color. They give you a full report from every single factory they work with and include photos of them and are all about the ethical work effort. That is dedication.
Don’t know how to find Fair Trade/Ethically created clothing? I made a whole giant list of companies (still adding things regularly) on Justice Network to help you out.