If you were to travel around the world, one thing would be the exact same among every tribe, nation, and country: clothing. While styles of clothing vary from culture to culture where beliefs, climate, and custom influence style of dress, every human being wears some form of covering. We learned on Monday that clothing originated in the Garden after Adam and Eve sinned by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They covered themselves in fig leaves, trying to mask their shame and brokenness, but God came, and in His mercy, killed an innocent animal to make for them better, more durable garments. Clothing is a picture of His amazing grace. Adam and Eve put their design skills to use when they sewed together fig leaves for covering, but God, the ultimate Designer created garments that were more useful and lasting. God is able to take our brokenness and make it beautiful because of His grace.
Ever since that moment, man has covered up. Throughout the centuries fashion has undergone drastic changes. As the culture has shifted, technology has advanced, and ideals have altered, dress has continued to change in response. We live in a current day and age that has more possibilities than ever before, but with the possibilities also comes responsibility, and one area that we are affected by each day is the area of our wardrobe. The vast majority of clothing these days is manufactured overseas, and not all work conditions are ethical for both the people and the environment. Being knowledgeable about ethical fashion is one step towards taking responsibility. We can live missionally by supporting companies that are seeking to make a difference, care for their employees, and help in their community.
Defining Ethical Fashion
According to the Ethical Fashion Forum, ethical fashion:
"represents an approach to the design, sourcing and manufacture of clothing which maximises benefits to people and communities while minimising impact on the environment." (source)
Ethical fashion increases the well-being of those who make the garments as well as the community. It must be sustainable, "defending the fair wages of the workers", and supporting the livelihoods of communities (source). Ultimately, ethical fashion seeks to do good to both the maker and the wearer.
Think for a minute about your clothing that you are wearing. Do you know where it came from? Look at the seams and the details. Someone's hands helped make it. Whether they sewed it together or monitored the mass produced machines that put it together, people were involved in the making of your clothing. There is a cost involved that includes time, sources, materials, labor, and energy. All of these things go into account when clothing is being produced. As a general rule, the cheaper the clothing is in the store, the cheaper the quality of the item, as well as a higher likelihood that it wasn't made ethically.
In college, I studied Fashion Merchandising and learned about the dangers of child labor and unethical work conditions. All of these things reminded me of the calling we have as believers to "act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly" before God (Micah 6:8). Over the past few years, I have made more of an effort to purchase from shops that I know are ethically run as well as making a kingdom difference! While I am unable to purchase from only these places due to budget constraints, I have made a shift in my wardrobe and shopping through learning to buy less, but buying more things that matter, support a mission, and tell a story.
In writing this post and researching ethical fashion, I came across an excellent resource that I plan to start using when shopping and researching companies that I purchase from! Project Just has already done all the research necessary for companies! All you need to do is search the brand you purchase from and learn more about their work practices.
Below you will find a list of different companies that we have researched that are sourced ethically and are making a difference! I hope you find some new places to shop and begin wearing clothing that tells a story, and as my friend Katie says, tells THE Story of the gospel of Jesus Christ!
(Many of the following belong under several categories! Browse around to find all these companies have to offer;)
Dear Mushka - Use the code LLB for 10% off!
exercise / Undergarments
Root Collective - Receive 10% via this link!
Elegant Tees - Use the code christen to receive 10% off!
Walk in Love - Use this link to receive 15% off your first order!
Are there any other companies that you purchase from that are making a difference? Share in the comments below and join us back here in the morning for our next post in LLB Fashion Week!
purchasing with my head and my heart,
Note: There are a few affiliate links used in the post above!