Who made my clothes? It’s a fashion revolution!

Fashion Revolution week, who made my clothes, sustainable fashion

April 22nd, 2018 is Earth Day! So it is fitting that I post about Fashion Revolution week. What is Fashion Revolution Week you ask?

Fashion Revolution week, who made my clothes, sustainable fashion

Fashion Revolution is now a global movement of people like you.

It’s a time to reflect, brought to you by the Fashion Revolution organization that is trying to get everyone to become a conscious consumer. Have you ever wondered who made your clothes? How much they’re paid, and what their lives are like?

Our clothes have gone on a long journey before they hit store shelves, passing through the hands of cotton farmers, spinners, weavers, dyers, sewers and others. Approximately 75 million people work to make our clothes. 80% of them are women between the ages of 18 and 35.

However, the majority of the people who makes clothes for the global market live in poverty, unable to afford life’s basic necessities. Many are subject to exploitation; verbal and physical abuse, working in unsafe and dirty conditions, with very little pay.

This needs to change.

At the moment, most of the world lives in a capitalist economy. This means companies must increase sales growth and make profits in order to succeed — but crucially, not at the expense of peoples’ working conditions, health, livelihoods, dignity and creativity and not at the expense of our natural environment.

Whether you are someone who buys and wears fashion (that’s pretty much everyone) or you work in the industry along the supply chain somewhere or if you’re a policymaker who can have an impact on legal requirements, you are accountable for the impact fashion has on people’s lives and on nature.

I too, just like the folks running this organization, felt a wave of shock in 2013 after the Rana Plaza building collapse where over 1,000 people died making clothes for pennies. I decided then and there that as a person with a blog and platform, I could no longer turn a blind eye to an industry that IS literally killing people. Here are the changes I personally made –

1. I would use this blog as a bigger platform to bring awareness to the sustainability of fashion and in conjunction, support brands that were paying employees fair wages, conscious about the environment, and proponents of slow fashion. In particular, the Made in USA clothing movement.

2. I did not shop at all for several months. And when I finally did again, I decided that I would almost exclusively buy second hand. And if I had to buy new clothing, it would be Made in the USA. And in 3 years, I have been about 95% successful in achieving this goal.

3. I rid my wardrobe of the highest offenders. No more Forever 21, Zara, H&M, etc. I kept very few things, but most of it was donated to a thrift store. I am no longer supporting these brands nor their trendy consumerism.

I think the biggest thing this Fashion Revolution is attempting to do, is to highlight that real people are the ones sewing all these clothes. Not robots or machines. Humans are working really long hours, in blighted conditions, for very little pay all over the world. It doesn’t mean you have to make the changes I make. But ask more questions, ask who is making your clothes, and ask where your clothes come from. Click HERE for a guide to getting involved.

Fashion Revolution week, who made my clothes, sustainable fashion

How to have a successful thrifting trip

I’m getting back to the basics here.

Thrift Eye

As a person who just took an almost 2 month long hiatus from thrifting, I came back to it refreshed with some tips! Thrifting can be daunting, exhausting, and sometimes frustrating – even for seasoned veterans! But no worries, as someone who has been expertly thrifting for so long – I have some great tips.

Not all thrift stores are created equal
The more you thrift, the more you will begin to notice certain likes and dislikes about the locations you visit. For example – some may have lots of vintage (you may or may not be into that.) The level of order and neatness is better at some versus others. Sometimes there are no fitting rooms, hmph! Sometimes the prices are just too high. But you may just find that one place that always seems to deliver when you visit. I used to have a place like this, and it was always worth the effort to drive a little out of the way because I knew I would find something great! Which then leads to –

Don’t buy to just to buy
Just because the prices are low, doesn’t mean you have to buy it. This may be the most difficult rule to abide by. When prices are cheap and the selection wide, it is almost impossible to not buy something! But do you really need to buy shoes that are too big or too small just because they’re cute? Or that one thing you already have a bunch of at home? Or maybe that really trendy thing that you’re kinda iffy on wearing BUT it’s so on trend. Perhaps it’s something you really need but in a color you would never be caught wearing. Yeah, all those things are just a few reasons to not buy something. And hey, maybe you have other important things you need to pay and prioritize. I don’t think there have been any documented cases of people dying because they left something behind unpurchased at the thrift store.

Look in areas not marked your size
Some thrift stores try really hard to get organized. A big thank you to them! But like most stores, after many open hours with people shuffling through, things will get moved around. After a few hours, people will try on clothes or contemplate clothes, then drop it off in areas it wasn’t selected from. Which is why it can be so time consuming, you often have to look through the whole store! I actually particularly enjoy looking right around the fitting rooms to see what people have recently tried on but left behind. And hey, it’s sometimes worth looking out of your gender or even in kids/baby clothes! Things really do get mixed up a lot sometimes.

Scout the bonus of the day!
Score! Lot’s of thrift stores have special markdown pieces or colors every day which will sometimes be half off, or even something special like 99 cents! The Savers I would frequent in Las Vegas had a handy little monthly calendar they liked to give out. My mother lives for Senior days at her Veterans thrift store. Goodwill has a daily color but they often have big discounts on holidays.

Buy off season
When do I buy my winter/fall coats? In the summer. Often times, the stores will try to move off season merchandise to make room for in seasonal pieces. I can still recall my mom thinking I was bonkers for buying a wool coat during a heatwave in their LA suburb. But I explained that I wear these coats all the time in San Francisco!

If you can, try it on
I rarely leave a thrift store without trying on my purchases first. I have no room in my closet for things that don’t fit me. I have long legs and a shorter torso with some curves, if I don’t try on pants at a thrift store, I’m saying hello to camel toe fupa wedgie. No thank you. Trying something on also lets you meticulously inspect something before you buy it. Maybe the person donated the thing because it had a stain, rip, tear, broken zipper etc. I’d rather discover it in the store than at home (especially since most thrift stores have a no returns policy.)

Practice Thrift Store Karma
I am the crazy person that makes sure all hanging items are secured on the hanger as I browse. I pick up all things that fall. EVEN if I wasn’t the one that dropped them. If something slips off the hanger, I don’t pretend to not see it or kick it under the rack (as I see almost everyone else do.) I pick these things up and put them back. Not because I’m shaming anyone. I seriously believe that I’m receiving karma for keeping the place neat and clean. It makes shopping more pleasurable for everyone. Plus, the employees work really hard already, I don’t need to make bigger messes.

I have other shopping specific tips I’d like to share in another post for another time! But I’d like to hear any of your tips, if you have any :)

Winter is coming – so is a big sale

I have no shame anymore, after living in San Francisco for 7 years, admitting that I get cold easily. I take a jacket EVERYWHERE! So as every Winter approaches, I take time to analyze the coats I’ve been wearing and those I have not. Some don’t fit anymore, some have gone out of style, some are just so worn after a winters wear, that they really aren’t good to wear another year!

So I was daydreaming over at Shopbop the other day when I got the good news that a sale is starting! This retailer is one of the few sponsors I do accept because of their commitment to carry, feature, and mention brands that are made in the USA – unlike a vast majority of e-retailers, that do not mark where the clothing they sell is made, nor what country they came from. Which is why you see something marked as “imported” on other websites. That’s unacceptable and lazy! So I will sing the praises of Shopbop any day :) And look at all these awesome coats I found – just a few of the many! Outerwear that is made in the USA is more difficult to find than clothing (but probably easier that Made in USA shoes) because of the materials used. But this is good too because it means that while more expensive, most items are made of greater quality cotton and wool! Instead of synthetic polyesters.

These tiered sales are just amazing, take full advantage of building of your Winter wardrobe!!

Find me on Poshmark

Let it be known, 2017 is the year I really decided to simplify my life. I feel like I donated about 1/4 of my home goods. Clearing out the clutter lifted a weight off my shoulders that I cannot explain. I got rid of belongings that complicated my home and disturbed my peace.

Now, I have to face the fact that I have to make room in my closets too. So I’m turning to Poshmark to sell my things! And hey, maybe you want to take a look :) Or maybe you sell on Poshmark too? Send me a note to follow you. I’m ready to send these things from my closet to yours!