Like everyone else, I shop for new clothes from time to time, but buying ethically is one of the most complicated problems for me. So it’s going to take a while to do the research, but I hope to find sources for ethical clothing right here in Stratford. Quite frankly, with the exception of only a couple of stores I can think of, I don’t even know how feasible this project is. But hey — leap before you look, that’s my motto.
Here are my criteria:
Biodegradable materials: you’ve probably read about the damage that is being done to our oceans by microfibres. Who knew that the fuzzy purple bathrobe you got for Christmas was going to wind up in the food chain? Natural fibres are better, but sometimes more expensive. On the other hand, really good clothing lasts longer, so it’s best to choose styles that will last.
Pollution-free production. Waste free production? Natural materials? What about pesticides used in growing those materials? Hand made items? And what about dyes? Even natural fibres are dyed. And dye is often extremely toxic. Wear it for a year, drink it for the rest of your life. Ugh!
Energy efficient production. Recycled material? Use of solar or wind power in production?
No sweatshops. This one keeps me up at night. If my knickers have to come from abroad, please don’t let them be made by some teenaged girl who every day runs the risk of being burned alive in an overcrowded and unsafe factory like this one, this one or this one.
Fair trade products. Fair trade is always the best way to go, in any product.
Locally made. I have some hope for this one. We’re a tourist town, and there are quite a few opportunities for handcrafters here. Maybe I can even make up a page listing products and producers.
As you can see, some of these criteria contradict each other (Fair Trade or locally made?). I think it’s going to be hard to find clothing that fits all my criteria, but this blog is about finding the best solution possible, because it seems to me that the perfect solution just isn’t available.