And I love accessories.
And one of the most satisfying ways to de-stress is spending the day assembling an outfit after sifting through racks of clothes. Beautiful designs, flowing skirts, high heels, flattering trousers, floral scarves, headbands, fitted tops, necklaces and matching bracelets… I love being a girl and getting excited about expressing my creativity and beauty through clothing.
A few years ago, however, I started assessing the way I spent my money. I realized that after paying whatever small bills I had, most of my money went to a) clothes and b) food. Then this thought emerged as I was analyzing my spending habits: whatever I spend my money on, I am supporting. Even though I may not verbally support it, I am financially backing this company and whatever they stand for.
Upon this realization, I started treating my spending habits more seriously. As I researched the clothing companies I was wearing/buying, I started to learn things that challenged my comfortable shopping lifestyle.
Almost all of the clothes in my closet are made in sweatshops. (Target, Wal-Mart, H&M, Banana Republic, Gap, Forever 21, Adidas, and Nike to name a few) Shoes/sports wear/ scarves/ shirts/ pants/ dresses… all of them made in distant countries by women, men and children I’ll never meet in working conditions I’ll never experience. (verbal, physical, and sexual abuse, dirty factories, unsafe and unhealthy working areas, working 7 days a week, families living on less than $2 a day) Does my distance from them give me the right to ignore their abuse or financially support their employer?
Recently, I have discovered several companies that have begun making fair-trade clothing appropriate for all occasions! I was so thrilled at my discovery, and in the last week, I have decided to change my consumerist habits.
From now on, I will only buy fair-trade or second hand clothing. When I leave New Zealand, I will be leaving most of my clothes behind, only bringing home those items that are fair-trade or second hand. In two years, I hope to only have fair-trade/second-hand clothing in my closet! I know this will be difficult for me, or anyone for that matter, because fair-trade clothing is often times more expensive than clothing made in sweatshops. I think that means I will just have to have LESS clothes. But, is LESS clothes really that much of a sacrifice?
“Purging my closet will not be easy, Jesus. Help this all be fueled by a love for you and your people, and please replace any legalism or judgmentalism with your love, mercy and grace. Keep teaching me how to follow you, Father. Teach me what it looks like to love you and to love my neighbor.”
Here’s a list of a few available fair-trade stores online:http://commonthreadz.org/shop/index.html