The Missionary Position

A t-shirt gifted to me by a well-meaning family member.

So I’m on a personal mission regarding clothing and I’m gonna get all evangelical about it and write about it here on my blog! I love clothes a whole lot and follow style blogs and enjoy getting gussied up most days, however I’m finding it harder and harder to justify buying sweat shop produced garments. It’s just not enough for me that I really enjoy the way something looks or think I might need a particular item for an event or season. Increasingly I like to take my time (and save cash) and find an alternative in my own closet, a vintage shop, or something in my friend’s or family’s wardrobes. If those places don’t suit, I’m trying more often to invest in first hand pieces by independent designers, ethical boutiques or to try to make something myself.

Taking this approach to clothes also suits my work ethic too, in a way. Sticking to this ethical standard means I need to be more creative about getting dressed and won’t just walk into a shop and buy myself a style. This approach is also opening my eyes to how hard it is to easily find clothes that are sweatshop-free. I recognize that just because clothing is made in Quebec, Canada or the USA, it doesn’t mean that the factory conditions were great- same goes with clothes from other countries; i don’t want to make assumptions one way or the other. There are definitely sweatshops in Montreal, for example, so perhaps the key is researching a particular company’s policies before going shopping.

In particular, I’m finding it intimidating to try and buy underwear or jeans with these guidelines in place. Thanks goodness for the internet though, if I’m having trouble finding something in Montreal, ordering on-line is always an option! Also, I’m thinking about the difference between buying cheaply made, sweatshop-made shoes at the many discount shops in my neighborhood and the shoe store across the street from my apartment which is sort of a resale/shoe reject pile featuring shoes from places like Aldo and the like. The money doesn’t seem to be going back to the original stores and a family runs the shop…so maybe I’ll give that a pass?

So what first hand boutiques exist? Well, there’s American Apparel (if you overlook Dov Charney’s questionable behavior with his employees). In Quebec there is Blank, a similar company specializing in t-shirts and other basics. Another boutique out there (the clothes are recycled) is Preloved. Outside of that, I’m gonna stick to thrifting, clothing exchanges and sewing my own shit.

Here are a few indie designers I recommend:

Lalouka (Lara Kauza) - click for on-line shop

Complex Geometries - click for shops & on-line boutique

Norwegian Wood (Angie Johnson) - click for shops & on-line boutique

Lustre (Yasmin Wasfy)

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One comment

  1. Pingback: I caved. «


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