Why does sustainability feel so time-consuming?
Sometimes we just want to get dressed and not think about it too hard. We’ve got family responsibilities, work, 3 meals a day, parents calling wondering when we’re going to come for a visit…
And, did I mention not enough time to relax?
Here is an analogy to help understand where the fashion industry is at followed by some practical advice to ethical and sustainable fashion shopping on a busy schedule.
Sometimes we just want to spend a friday night wining and dining with our friends, relaxed and carefree.
Somewhere, like The French Laundry, with a menu of rare and exotic specialties and enticing descriptions like Bergamot parfait, orange jelly, liquorice cream.
We get excited about the stunning decor and artful presentations, not to mention it’s the place to see and be seen.
But along the way, something happens…
'Is that a cockroach in your soup madam?'
How could this be? Looking around, the whole restaurant is filled with people chatting away as if nothing is wrong. Everyone from the East side to downtown knows this place. The Chef’s reputation is famous.
That's where we are at in Fashion.
You want a good meal but if the kitchen is disgusting are you really going to keep eating there?
That’s what happened to us in Vietnam. The press releases went out and the public supported the war. The media told us how great it was, how proud we should be as Americans and that we were helping the world.
What changed public opinion?
Peering into the kitchen:
We can’t all fly to Vietnam, China, or India. The kitchen is just too far away.
Nobody wants to get a Ph.D. just so they can put clean underwear on in the morning.
And yet, the cost of not doing so is, well, a cockroach in your soup; whether you are too busy to notice or you feel disgusted and eat it anyway.
My best advice.....
- Shop from brands that offer real transparency, not ‘photo-shoot’ transparency. Look for the brands who are clearly say ‘This is where we are at and what we have achieved so far, AND this is where we’re trying to improve.’
- Pick one area that inspires you.
- Learn one little piece at a time.
- Wherever possible find sources you trust who can guide you.
- Join forces, get a friend, family member or even your personal assistant to help sort it out and break it down.
A few more ideas....
- There are a lot of guides out there, including ours (see top right of this page). They may help you take the guesswork out of shopping.
- Keep up with the Beauty & Virtue blog as we take the research on ourselves, exploring the dirty kitchen of fashion, and give practical advice. We do this for our own studio anyway so we decided, ‘Hey, why not offer this up to everyone?’
- Sign up for our newsletter (to the right of this page) to get a drip-feed education so it’s not too overwhelming at once.
- Use a trusted app that helps vet brands and their operations.
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