If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that I love to impose style challenges on myself. Over the past several years, I’ve done a “Shopping Custom” challenge where I had to buy at least one custom-made item for month for 4 months, Project Remix where I focused on building a “remixable” wardrobe and my 2015 Tall Specialty Shop Challenge where I only bought items from independent tall shops for 10 months.
I’ve been mulling over what my 2016 challenge should be. Since we’re rapidly approaching the halfway point of the year, I guess I should get on it, huh?! For quite awhile, I’ve had a bee in my bonnet about being more thoughtful with my clothing purchases. This is actually one of the things I enjoyed about my 2015 Tall Specialty Shop Challenge – I feel like I did less impulse buying during this challenge and made more thoughtful and strategic purchases because I took my time to hunt for treasures in the inventory of the various tall shops. As a result of this thoughtful shopping, I am wearing many of the things that I bought very frequently because these are items I actually LOVE rather than merely like. Many of these items are also well made and will hopefully last for years and years. In my old age, quality is becoming more important to me than quantity. I have realized that I am the type of person who enjoys having less items that I adore in my closet rather than buying a ton of items that are just so-so every month and only wearing each one a few times. Of course, everyone is different and having less in one’s closet might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I know it works well for me!
I have also become more aware of and intrigued by brands that claim to adhere to socially conscious production and sourcing standards. Allison from The Tall Mama recently wrote a post entitled “Dear Fabric, Where Do You Come From?” She encouraged her readers to ask themselves “Why is this garment (or fabric) so darned cheap?” If the possible answer doesn’t sit well with you, then maybe you shouldn’t buy it (or maybe you shouldn’t buy it until you’ve had time to do a little research into how, where and by whom it was made). On the flip side, just because an items is expensive doesn’t guarantee that shadiness wasn’t involved in the making of it. Through some of my preliminary research on this topic, my eyes have been opened to the fact that the supply chain and manufacturing process for clothing can be a tangled and complicated web and sometimes brands don’t have complete oversight as to what is going on in the factories where their clothing is made or what is going on with their suppliers etc.
So that brings me to my 2016 Thoughtful Shopping Series. Here are the rules: Before I make a purchase, I will research the company to find out as much about their ethics and production as possible. If something seems iffy to me, I won’t make the purchase. If I do feel comfortable proceeding with the purchase, I will of course review the item on the blog and let you know the research I did. Hopefully, this will spark discussion since I certainly won’t claim that my research is exhaustive. Some might say that this shopping challenge REALLY narrows my shopping options, and I suppose that might be true to an extent. However, I love supporting small businesses and getting to know the owners and this is one of the best ways to discover where my clothes are made and who made them. Also, maybe some of the bigger companies will surprise me and I will find that I feel comfortable buying from them as well. We shall see!
Even though I’m just getting around to announcing this challenge, I have actually already made two purchases this year that fit under my Thoughtful Shopping Series. Of course, I will be doing full reviews of these items VERY soon, but here’s a sneak peek of some photos Karen from Tall Wife took of me (more on that later).
CAS Clothing – Hand crafted off-the-shoulder peplum top
MARGE Clothing – Anni Silk Blouse
Here are a couple of resources I’ve found that I will be referring to, but I know I’ll find more. Pretty please let me know if you are aware of any other resources!
What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you ever wonder who made your clothes? Do you have any favorite brands that are committed to ethical production?