How to know if a fashion brand is ethical?

The new coronavirus pandemic and the racial reckoning that has taken place in recent months has made buying from socially conscious brands more important than ever. Supporting small and local businesses could directly help a struggling business owner, and prioritizing black property labels is a great way to raise awareness and broaden the black community.

Even before the pandemic, I considered myself a conscientious shopper. I bought businesses owned by BIPOC and supported eco-friendly brands that do not harm animals when making products. But if I’m honest, I spent very little time learning about the products I was considering. He rarely looked at the care labels or read about the history of the brand’s work with underserved communities or respect for labor workers. Researching ethical information can be time consuming and difficult to process, and is often deliberately ignored by consumers.

My ignorant behavior showed while I was still using Amazon Prime and reacting to shopping trends on social media. And lately, I’ve been struggling with the guilt that comes with this; supporting big brands over local ones and choosing articles from companies that go against my ethics. Then answer me this: is it bathtub buy brands that go against your values? And how can we navigate this difficult situation that surrounds our morale? To help with this dilemma, we spoke with experts to get some ideas and came up with a simple checklist system for improvement.

Develop a value system

Author and fitness model Rachel Werner He recommended maintaining a hierarchy of values ​​as a guide in striving to be a conscientious consumer. Values ​​may include the environment, labor practices, supporting small businesses, or buying black-owned businesses. “Keeping your priorities in mind and what your non-negotiable items are will get you on the right track,” Sara Shah, co-founder of the ethical beauty brand Journ, he told POPSUGAR. “For some people, their core values ​​may include racial justice at the top, and others might have small brands or animal protection,” Werner noted, continuing: “The good thing is that people can’t tell you what should be on. the top. You can decide that on your own. ” Try writing your own checklist for clarity.

Examine the possible controversy

I get it – deciphering the accuracy of brand claims can be overwhelming. You can buy from a brand that showed an interest in sustainability, only to discover somewhere in the supply chain that the acts weren’t fully sustainable. Or you can support a brand and later discover your violation of child labor laws. That feeling of betrayal will immediately make you want to boycott these brands.

“Pretending that it is not complicated and that it is easy is not the solution,” Werner said. “Sometimes what companies are presenting is not necessarily a complete picture of what is going on behind the scenes. Often, we only discover the truth through a whistleblower.” If a fashion brand’s website or social media pages are unclear, do your own research. Werner recommended typing a business name into Google and typing “+ harassment” or “+ racism” to see what spreads.

Decide on a comfortable price range

In many ways, buying brands that align well with your values ​​is a privilege, because not everyone has the income to do so. With your top priorities in mind, you will need to weigh your financial investment against the values ​​that may fall further down your hierarchy. “If you are going to strain your finances, your family, your mental health or your well-being, you need to decide if it is worth it,” Shah warned.

Unsubscribe from newsletters

I enjoy using social media as a tool to discover trends and affordable fashion pieces from my favorite influencers. However, the content that can be bought on Instagram usually leads me to the trap of subscribing to multiple retailers to get discount codes for first time buyers. This translates to a lot of weekly (sometimes daily!) Emails from brands. It can be challenging to break a bad habit (in my case, binge drinking) when you are constantly bombarded.

Ayesha Barenblat, CEO and Founder of Redo, an organization dedicated to making values ​​transparent, recommended simple adjustments like “unsubscribe from the mailing lists of fast fashion brands so you’re not inundated with emails you don’t need or tempted to buy brands that go into against their ethics. ” Spending less time scrolling through influencer shopping content on Instagram is another great start.

Investigate the manufacturing process

Short-term attractions (a flash sale on Instagram) and long-term goals (minimalism) are often mutually exclusive. Consumers want to be ethical and ignore ethics. We are concerned about issues like climate change and fair trade, but we often avoid knowing whether our clothing was made with harmful chemicals or by a garment worker who was incorrectly paid. Of course, sometimes we don’t know if a purchase was unethical until after the fact. According to Mir Anwar, co-founder of Journ, the best thing you can do is learn and try to improve. “Guilt is a human instinct; it is important to learn to recover rather than dwell on your previous decision.”

I’m finding that educating myself about future purchases is a much better use of my time and energy than feeling guilty about what I did in the past, both subconsciously and consciously. As I redefine how I shop, I am more in tune with the types of questions I need to answer to meet my hierarchy of needs. As time goes on and you continue to build your courage muscle, you will develop new and better habits with fewer slips. After all it’s alright no be perfect all the time.

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