Why I Spend More on Ethical Clothing

Image borrowed from Hendrik Lou's site.

Image borrowed from Hendrik Lou's site.

For anyone who has tried to make the switch from fast fashion to ethical clothing, you know the cost is much, much higher. For some, it just doesn't seem worth it. But to me, it is another factor that actually helps me lead a more conscious lifestyle, especially when it comes to shopping. The cost makes you be more aware of what you are buying. It's a lot harder to mindlessly drop $450 on a single Hendrik Lou sweater than it is to accidentally spend that same amount at Aritzia or Zara in a month. The price tags seem lower, so it's easy to grab three or four things in a month and not realize until you run out of money a week later how much you've actually spent. To afford something that's from a small business, you often have to save up for a little bit. That extra time spent saving up ensures you truly want it - you're not just buying something in that moment to numb or satisfy some other need. You are more likely to keep it for years and take care of it properly, rather than buying something new every season. I've started to think of these pieces as an investment rather than something I need just for this weekend or event. And that's the philosophy behind shops like Fieldstudy - "buy fewer, better things." You're taking the time and effort to be thoughtful in all aspects of your life; your closet should be included in that.

Cost isn't the only factor - I could easily find a mainstream designer selling similar pieces for the same price. When I shop small, I am supporting the maker and their story, not just the clothing. I am investing in our community. I am helping make the world a better place. It also helps make my day to day life a little easier - I can afford less, meaning I own less. My closet cannot get overwhelming simply because I can't afford for it to. Less clothing choices mean less decision fatigue, which in turn helps my anxiety. It also ensures my style is coherent and a true reflection of who I am rather than just literally buying into the latest trends.

I'm investing in people who have stories like mine. People who have sought  out a way to follow their dreams and make their own path. People who want to lead a different kind of life and believe they can make the world a better place. Money is an exchange of energy, and my choosing to expend my energy in a way that helps the world, I believe I am also inadvertently helping myself. After all, I would of course hope that someone sees the worth in what I do, and would choose to invest in me, so why wouldn't I show that same support and love to someone else?

I'm in no way saying that your entire closet has to be super expensive as you switch it over. There are many ways to find ethical clothing for lower prices. I get many of my pieces from secondhand sources like Kindred Thrift and Fond Boutique. Brands like notPERFECTLINEN and Tessa Hughes have prices comparable to Aritzia and Club Monaco. You won't be able to find anything as cheap as H&M or Zara, and I do mean cheap - both the price and the quality. But in the long run, is t the true cost of those pieces more? Having to replace them more often. More pollution. More factories with poor quality of life. More stuff in your house, cluttering up your life?

I obvs don't yet actually own the Hendrik Lou sweater - I am a writer, and it'll take a long time of saving up to be able to do so. But it's something I've lusted over for years now on Instagram, before I could actually try it on here in Calgary. But when I do finally get it it will be so, so satisfying and a purchase I know I won't have buyers remorse about.