I recently celebrated one year of blogging at One Fair Day! Yay! Reflecting on my learnings over the last year, it’s definitely been much easier to buy fair trade than I thought it would be. In fact, I’ve been constantly surprised and rewarded by the unexpected benefits that have stemmed from shopping fairly! 10 things I’ve discovered (and LOVE) about shopping fairly are…
This came as no surprise – the quality of the fair trade pieces I’ve bought in the last year far exceeds the quality of fast fashion pieces. It’s such a relief to buy and wear clothes that are soft, don’t lose their shape, and don’t pill after a few wears – to name a few noticeable differences.
2. Slowing down to think about what I really want and need.
It’s much more difficult to make impulse buys online than in stores. Now when I see something I like – instead of buying it at a store without a second thought – I write it down, go home, get online and try to find an ethical version. Because I write it down, shopping in this way means I now have a list of everything I want. When my whole wish list is spelt out in front of me, it’s easy to see what is really necessary to fill a gap in my wardrobe, which in turn makes it easier to prioritise what I really need. Most online stores have a ‘wish-list’ option which makes list-making easier, and also takes away some of the temptation of impulse shopping.
Plus, sometimes by the time I’ve gone home and got online, I realise I don’t really have a need (or want) for the item I wanted. The hunt for the ethical equivalent of trending pieces allows me the time and space to ask: what will I wear this with? Does the colour match other items in my wardrobe? Does this really reflect my personal style? Is there something else I would prefer to spend my money on?
Speaking of money…
3. Saving money.
Buying quality things means buying less. Buying the right things means buying less. Buying less means saving money. This was one of the biggest surprises for me, since I was sure buying fairly would be more expensive.
4. Less ‘I have a wardrobe full of clothes but nothing to wear’ moments.
I’ve noticed that now I’m making less impulse buys and making more smart, well-considered choices I’m starting to love everything in my wardrobe. There’s no regret for items I’ve purchased on a whim. My wardrobe feels more curated than ever before. That means less mornings trying on outfit after outfit because none of the choices fit well, in terms of quality of construction or my personal style.
5. Connecting with and learning about interesting brands.
I used to shop at the same three or four stores. Through shopping fairly, I’ve discovered so many beautifully curated online stores that I now frequent. And through them, and through my own research, I’ve also discovered countless incredible ethical clothing designers as well as brands specialising in everything from hats to shoes.
One of my favourite things about ethical brands is their transparency. It extends from where their products are made to how the products made. I’ve learned more about the design and manufacturing process than I have ever known before.
6. Pushing fashion boundaries.
Buying fairly has helped me make more daring fashion choices. I used to closely follow fast fashion trends, meaning I only ever wore whatever everyone else was also wearing. In that way, I used to play it fairly (excuse the pun) safe in terms of fashion. I’ve come to find that fair trade fashion focuses so much on interesting fabrics, and age-old artisan techniques of manufacturing including sewing and dyeing. This, combined with quality cuts that are designed to transcend seasonal trends, has prompted me to start buying pieces I would ordinarily shy away from.
7. Developing a stronger sense of my personal style.
Even though my fashion choices have been more daring, surprisingly, they have also been more authentic to my own style. This is because I’ve developed a stronger sense of my personal style through shopping fairly.
Though the availability of fair trade products are certainly growing, the range is still smaller than the mainstream. For me, this has been a blessing in disguise. With my choices confined, I find it easier to hone in on what is fashionable AND what is my style – something I really struggled to do when I was blindly following fast fashion trends. In a sea of seasonal trends, it can be almost impossible to know what you like and the fashion industry is telling you you like.
Further, since most of my fair shopping now happens online, I spend a lot of time browsing images of how pieces look styled in outfits. Shopping fairly has led me to create a pretty killer ethical mood board, which has helped me define my personal style. Oh, and creating a mood board led me to this amazing blog: Into-Mind. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you absolutely need to.
8. The thrill of finding the perfect piece.
I would be lying if I said it’s easy to quickly find ethical versions of something you want . So far, there hasn’t been an occasion where I haven’t ended up finding what I was looking for (and from the comfort of my own home!). However, it does take a little longer. That said, this means less settling for the first thing that comes along and more time to define exactly what you’re looking for. And it’s so rewarding to finally find that perfect piece.
10. Making a difference through purchases.
I bet you saw this one coming? Obviously my absolute favourite thing about buying ethically is supporting someone working their way out of poverty with a decent wage and working conditions. I love learning the stories behind the products I buy and wear.It feels incredible to know where everything I am wearing comes from. Why do you love shopping ethically? Yours Fairly, Ashlee