On the ethical fashion front, I made an interesting choice last week. I deliberately bought a sweatshop jacket. I had been in the market for a spring jacket for months and diligently looked at Beacon's Closet and the thrift but none were to be found. I saw this jacket online via Refinery 29's trench slide show and when it turned warmer, I stopped in to check out the quality and ended up buying it for $35.
Do I feel like a traitor? Yeah, kind of.
Focusing on plain or classic cuts and better made items will hopefully afford me years of use. I had made an effort to buy reused (and to look for reduced-harm new versions) but my deadline came before I found any. (I had this sucker on my shopping list for months and months.) Realistically, I assume the buttons on this will need to be reinforced and I might have a tailor line the front since it abruptly interfaces with my jeans, although it's great with dresses and skirts.
This is the first time in a long time that that I:
- purchased anything at all
- purchased something sweatshop deliberately
I'm still not sure how I feel about it. If an item hits all the other things you value -- no animal products, versatility, longevity -- does it mean you can ignore some of the other values like labor standards and material sourcing? How long do you keep looking when you can't find a used or ethically-made new garment?
I know these are questions we can only answer for ourselves. But I can already tell I wish it worked out differently. I wish I found a used jacket that I could have mentioned here instead. Or that I found a great company that just happened to make what I wanted in my price range. Because I feel like that's what this blog is supposed to be about - positive solutions. Not concessions.
I don't know if I consider this a mistake, per se. But I do know that it's been stuck in my mind since I bought it -- the "is this right?" question -- and I didn't want to NOT post it here.