Do you know who made your clothes? I’m not talking about the brand that’s splayed across the front of your sweater or is embroidered onto the tag off your jeans. I’m talking about the hands that stitched it all together, the person who hunched over a sewing machine to create the articles of clothing you throw on every morning. Have you ever stopped to think about how your clothes came to be, or if the people making them are being treated with dignity and given fair wages?
I didn’t think about who made my clothes for a long time. But since I’ve become more active in advocating for the freedom and autonomy of all, I’ve realized that I can’t call myself an abolitionist if I continue to purchase from brands that practice less than ethical means of production. This is where I’m going to give a HUGE shout out to my Dressember family for opening my eyes to the far-reaching effects of slavery in the garment industry, and for getting me increasingly interested in ethical fashion. Now, the journey towards to embracing the slow fashion (where clothes are made by one artisan who is paid a fair wage and works of their own free will, resulting in a higher price but better products) route – as opposed to fast fashion, in which trends change every couple of months and prices are relatively cheap – can be a little daunting, I totally understand. But don’t worry! You’re not in this alone, there are so many people and brands out there that are dedicated to creating ethical fashion, and raising awareness about human trafficking while they’re at it!
This company is fantastic in the fact that they offer total transparency in who made your clothes. You can look at the factory where they were made, and each article of clothing comes with a tag signed by the person who crafted it. They “work with underserved populations to provide meaningful work and to show the powerful impact our clothing purchases can have if made thoughtfully.” I love every piece they create and will take one in each colour, please!
By partnering with the best, ethical factories around the world, Everlane cannot only source the most exquisite materials but also share the actual cost of everything with you. They call it Radical Transparency, and I love it! By visiting the factories where their clothes are made, and creating lasting relationships with the workers there, they ensure that there isn’t an ounce of dishonesty in their production. Oh, did I mention that everything is super soft and dreamy?
“Our dream is that girls in Nepal will no longer be viewed as a commodity. Their bodies should not be sold for any reason. Human trafficking continues because Nepal has little economic opportunity. We believe providing meaningful jobs to women recovered from trafficking will allow overcomers to remain free for life.” Need I say more? This is a company that I have fallen in love with over the past couple of months, mostly because they stand firm on their mission to restore lives and relationships, and also because who doesn’t love a cute dress that will last for years?
“Starfish Project restores hope to exploited women in Asia. We provide life-changing opportunities through our Holistic Care Programs and our social enterprise where women create beautiful jewelry and become managers, accountants, graphic designers, and photographers.” The jewelry that the women at Starfish create is breathtaking and will be both a statement piece and a conversation starter. Check out their Instagram for redemptive and inspiring stories of the women that have come through their aftercare programs!
“A clothing line designed to build awareness and support to the ever-growing epidemic of modern-day slavery and human trafficking.” I only just discovered this brand but am already obsessed with them! Not only are their shirts amazingly soft and feature bold statements for sparking conversations about trafficking, but they also donate 10% of each purchase to one of the many organizations they’re partnered with including International Justice Mission (IJM), A21, and Freedom & Fashion.
I encourage you to look into the companies that you usually buy from, see where they make their clothes and who makes them. And while you’re on that research kick, why don’t you see how slow fashion can fit into your lifestyle. Happy Hunting!