Growing Up and Growing Out

So I suppose that graduating from university and starting a full time job, as well as looking for a “big kid” apartment calls for a new “big kid” wardrobe.

I mean, that just makes sense, right?

Growing up in my household, with a dad who loves shopping, but also loves bargains and with a mom who is frugal to an extreme, but still loves designer brand purses, gave me an interesting mix of sentiments about shopping in general.

I love it.

I do.

The sort of adrenaline rush you get from scoring an item with a friendly, big, red sticker that marks 50% off the original price…nothing beats that.

I admit, it’s a kind of disease. I have to contain myself still from purchasing items if they’re on sale and I even remotely like the cut, fit, or pattern.

It has made keeping my promise to purchase sustainable, socially conscious items really difficult. But I am still trying my best.

Which brings me to my next point.

I am trying my best. It is ridiculously frustrating when the companies surrounding you consistently utilize irresponsible and unethical working conditions for their laborers and source materials just as unethically. And the worst part is that even though you try and work against it, those options are so easily accessible compared to the more ethical, fair trade, sustainable versions.

Luckily, with being a real life adult now, I’ve tried to make some concessions.
Sacrificing cheap alternatives that you know have been produced through slave labor, under arduous conditions, using materials that are not sustainable or healthy for people or the planet is so much more worth it when you get a quality product that does some social good. I’m still trying to push this lesson into my mind and shift my perspectives, but it is a definitely a learning process.

I have come across some really wonderful companies that are working to do their part in making the fashion industry a more globally and socially conscious industry.

After the jump, I’ll dive right into them!

  1. Daame is an amazing independent handbag company that makes wonderfully minimalist leather handbags. The best part?  They’ve partnered with Outliers International, an international NGO that empowers young girls through education in rural communities.
  2. Krochet Kids Intl. is a social enterprise that empowers communities in poverty with skills and jobs.  They work in Uganda and Peru, but their headquarters are in Southern California.  Krochet Kids makes some comfy hats and shirts with uplifting quotes.  They are definitely not for the downtrodden.  I love their marketing through photography and how the women who make the merchandise write their names in the labels.  You can even send messages to the woman who made your Krochet Kids item through their website.
  3. Feelgoodz makes some comfy flip flops.  They’re made of natural, sustainably farmed rubber.  The company supports artisans and local farmers in Thailand, Vietnam, and Guatemala.  Not to mention, Jack Johnson partnered with the company for some limited edition designs.
  4. Parker Clay‘s values sum up why I’ve made the shift to buying ethically.  Making the best products possible, creating economic & social empowerment, and being good to one another.  Those are things I can agree with!  Their handbags are, to put it simply, amazingly gorgeous.  Using real leather (yes, the pescatarian in me is cringing…but wait) from Ethiopian cattle industries, Parker Clay provides job development and growth for women in Ethiopia.  Since the cattle industry is so huge there, leather from the cattle would just be put in the dump and wasted.  The leather and cattle industry is something I’m trying to reconcile, so I would support a company that tries to waste less and do more good.
  5. Everlane creates great basic pieces with amazing quality.  Hurray for cutting out the middle man!  They visit their factories often, create strong relationships with workers, and don’t compromise their integrity or business model.  Love. It.  I want to learn more about how they visit their factories and assure workers are treated well, but for now, they make the list because they actively engage with their followers on social media to see what else they want.
  6. Unlock Hope makes keys in the shape of the continent of Africa.  Like…how cool is that?  Well, it gets cooler.  Proceeds from sales of their key necklaces and shirts brandished with uplifting quotes (I can never get enough of uplifting quotes) go to Think Humanity, a non-profit that supports refugee girls in Uganda.  They provide the girls with healthcare, education, and basic necessities.
  7. Article 22 does some amazing stuff.  They design some pretty beautiful jewelry, but the materials used are all made from bombs dropped in Laos during the Vietnam War.  The money made from the jewelry they sell goes to demining bombs that are STILL ACTIVE in Laos…so many people are injured because of these undetonated bombs that the US dropped during the Vietnam War.  The entire thing is devastating and is perfectly captured in a short film Article 22 produced about their company and mission.  It’s even cooler that they use Laotian artists to make the jewelry and provide them with job security.

So, there you have it.

I know I should have done 5 companies or 10 companies, but I like the number 7.  It’s a good number.  So, I’ll leave it at that until I make another list of wonderful companies I admire and support.

If you have any recommendations of companies I should check out, please let me know!

Thanks, friends!  Have a peaceful day.

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