One Rule to be an Ethical Fashionista

When friends and family ask me about being ethical or sustainable with my fashion choices, I’m usually met with curiosity and the assumption that everything I own has to be organic cotton. While shopping with my mom and sister during the holiday season, they found a coat they thought I would like and remarked, “It’s made from vegan materials.” I replied that vegan materials are not the sole reason I purchase something and that they aren’t always the best choice. “You would know that,” my sister said. As someone who supports more sustainable and ethical practices in fashion and consumption, I do my best to stay informed. But if there is one priority I have for being an ethical fashionista, it’s not having a closet full of recycled polyester. What exactly do I think is important for someone who supports sustainable and ethical fashion? It’s not having a closet full of organic and recycled materials.

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The Best and Worst of My 2017 Affirmations

“How you spend New Year’s Eve is how you spend the rest of the year.” -The O.C., Season 1

December is often equated with memories. Memories of childhood pastimes, family traditions, and moments with friends. My memories also contain something else: reruns of The O.C. Call it a cheesy melodrama full of overacting, but to me, it’s still a way to escape. It’s also one of my favorite pastimes during school breaks, and it’s full of advice that continues to ring true to me no matter where I am at in my life. While watching the New Year’s Eve episode, I thought back to how I spent this holiday in the past and if it reflected how I spent the rest of the year. Most of the time, New Year’s Eve had little to no effect on the rest of my year, but 2017 was different. This past year, I spent time on resolutions that were changed to affirmations after advice from Ecocult. How did my 2017 affirmations go? Did I accomplish and fulfill the sustainable lifestyle I wanted? Here are a few highlights and lowlights from the year.

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My Top 5 Sustainability Documentaries

Sustainability sounds like a huge endeavor. It sounds as though it could be unmanageable or too much to take on. Even though I’m working towards more a more sustainable lifestyle, even I feel overwhelmed at times. When people ask me, “Why do you do it?” I find that sometimes I can’t explain it other than a feeling of purpose. But that doesn’t fully express my reasoning. While looking through my DVD queue on Netflix, I found some answers that give my thoughts more clarity. Looking up documentaries on sustainable-related topics brought up more results than I expected. If there’s a few that really illustrate my thoughts, it’s these five films: Continue Reading ›

5 Lessons from Sustainability Podcasts

One thing has been adding up on my phone. It’s not the e-mails I need to respond to. It’s the number of podcasts that have added up since I started another semester at graduate school. In the past, I found podcasts as a way to stay informed and to unwind from constant textbook reading. Unfortunately, I’ve had to put podcasts on the back burner, but because of this month’s affirmations, I decided it was time to check back in with some of my favorite podcast hosts. Tuning in, I’m finding there are some ways to look at sustainability that I hadn’t considered. If you’ve seen sustainability as tree-hugging or are apprehensive that those who favor green living are judgmental, here are some of the lessons I’ve uncovered that make me think about sustainability in a different life. Continue Reading ›

The Pros and Cons of Fair Trade

When I first learned about fair trade, my initial reactions were those of admiration for an industry that sought to challenge the ways in which we consume, purchase, and create products. From the production line to the packaging to wages, it seemed fair trade had all of the answers. I’ve written about fair trade and the industry’s principles in many posts including a post for Mother’s Day. Although I still support and respect the principles, I am constantly taken back to my memories of one of my former supervisors who strongly disliked fair trade. When I asked her what the difference between fair trade and sustainable fashion was, she responded, “When you work more in the industry, you’ll see the difference and understand why fair trade may not be enough.” At the time, I didn’t quite realize the full meaning behind her statement. Why would she not support an industry that sets out to change how we manufacture and consume products? Continue Reading ›