The Year of Dressing Ethically

New Years in the Southern Hemisphere is sunny, warm and bright. Work slows down after the rush to Christmas. People relax. Barbecues, picnics and lazy beach afternoons are abundant. Perhaps it’s the sun-shiny-life-is-beautiful atmosphere that lends itself to New Years commitments, decisions, resolutions, wishes, hopes and so on seeming so totally doable. This is absolutely the year I will read Crime and Punishment. I will clean behind the washing machine. I will so learn to sew (no really, I will).

Something that I have been trialling for awhile (but have not yet totally committed to) is ethical fashion. Namely, being conscious about where my dollars are going to (or not going to) and what I am supporting (or not). As it stands, I buy some second hand, but not always. Some ethically manufactured, but not always. And some of the time I have no idea what I’m buying. This year, however, I’m deciding to make a commitment.

And I’m linking up with Pip from Meet Me At Mikes, too. I think most of us find that having a community, a group or even a buddy to keep us accountable, inspire us and encourage us, makes that decision all the more achievable.

Image courtesy of Meet Me At Mikes

Image courtesy of Meet Me At Mikes

One caveat: I’m committing to do it for myself. I’m only mostly committing to do it for my kids. Ideally I will do it wholly for them, but to be honest kids grow fast, and they trash clothing fast. We’re fortunate enough to have friends who generously donate hand me downs, access to some great second-hand shops, and there are some great ethical retailers out there, but kids can be expensive! And sometimes it comes down to a choice of where we put those few extra dollars: they could go to the ethical choice, or maybe they could go to cheaper choice, allowing us to keep making other ethical choices in other areas of our lives. It’s a tricky line to tread, as I’ve mentioned before, but this year, I’m committing to being more contentious about it.

I’m also not going to beat myself up if I don’t always fulfil this commitment. I may be young, but I’m too old to let that worry me. I’m simply committing to doing my best, and hopefully putting myself on a path towards being the kind of shopper I’d like to be.

If you hop on over here, you can find out more info, and Pip also lists a couple of places you can look for more info on ethical fashion in Australia. If you’re after some international info, this is another great resource from Tsh Oxenreider at The Art of Simple. You can even download apps to help make it easier for you.

[ED. I forgot to add one of my favourite Aussie resources for shopping ethically, the Shop Ethical site! Bonus, they also have a handy app. You can find a list of ethical clothing manufacturers (and a break down of how they’ve rated them) here.]

Obviously the plan isn’t that this commitment will only last a year. Hopefully it’s just a good start and a learning experience, setting us up for more thoughtful practices through the rest of our lives. Thinking critically and compassionately about our lives is something that is important to us, and this is just the next step.

Are there any New Years commitments playing on your mind? Is ethical fashion something that you think about when shopping?