Have you ever wondered?
Have you ever looked at that little itchy tag tucked inside your shirt and wondered,
“Where was this made? Whose hands labored to produce this piece? Do they have a family? Are they making enough money to live off of? What dreams do they have?”
Right. Not many people do. I first discovered the terms human trafficking, sweatshop labor, ethical products, and Fair Trade Certified in high school. My youth pastor at the time was passionate about fighting human trafficking and she encouraged and motivated us to learn more about the topic and see where that lead. My eyes were now wide open to a reality I had been hidden from for quite some time.
The thing is, we like change. We like to be up to date, we like to be in the know. We like to have the latest and greatest and we like to have it sooner than later. But at what cost? Who pays the cost for this fast paced change? Who pays the cost so you can have the latest and greatest sooner than later?
People. People pay the price so we can have the newest sweater, blouse, jeans, bag, and shoes. People pay the price so we can have a hot cup of coffee for a tiny price. People pay the price so we can fill our homes with gadgets and gizmos and trinkets. As we rapidly consume, people are compensated with pennies.
Why should I shop ethically?
Shopping ethically allows us to rest assured that the individual who created the product we are wearing, consuming, or sitting on was paid a living wage. We can be assured that this person worked a healthy number of hours, rather than a 16 hour workday. Finally, shopping ethically assures us that the conditions this human being works in are safe physically and emotionally. We can be assured this individual was treated ethically.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that shopping ethically is intimidating. At times, it can feel expensive, confusing, and nearly impossible. But stay with me! It’s a process. My advice is to start shopping ethically in small ways and branch from there.
Purchase a bag of Fair Trade coffee online and bring it to work with you. Peruse local thrift stores and vintage shops in your area. Shopping second hand is a great way to recycle clothing + save money! DIY your home decor and be proud of up-cycling a dresser someone was going to junk (plus, it’s a great conversation starter at your next dinner party!) On your next birthday, ask your friends, family, or spouse to purchase you an ethically made accessory or jacket that you’ve had your eye on. Quality over quantity. Ethically made over fast fashion bargain. Second hand treasure over brand new generic.
Learn with me.
I remain a student in the world of ethical living. I fully admit that not everything I own has been purchased ethically- though someday, I hope that statement changes. As I continue to learn and grow in this area, I plan to share! I don’t intend for this to be a space where I make anyone feel guilty. I intend for this space to encourage and inspire you to think a little differently.
If you have other ethical companies, resources, or advice to share, I would love to hear!