7 Fashion Trends for 2020 and Ethical Alternatives

Fashion, Informational

1. Statement SleevesReformation is a great place to find dresses and tops that have dramatic sleeves.

Check Gambino Dress

Gambino Dress

2. Tropical PrintsTonle has a collection of fern print clothing that comes in a variety of colors and styles (my favorite is the cream fern jumpsuit) all under $100.

romper - mauve with ferns

Romper with Ferns 

3. Polka Dots-I love this trend and have already found new and old polka dot pieces to add to my wardrobe. For me, this is a print that never goes out of style. Amour Vert‘s spring collection has multiple polka dot tops.

Rosenda Blouse

4. Vest-This is by far my favorite 2020 trend and I am so glad to have kept a tuxedo vest I bought over ten years ago. One of the best places to find vests (look in the boy’s section too) is ThredUp. A search for “tuxedo vest” in the women’s section produced over 500 results. Leave your vest open for an even more stylish look.

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5. Crochet- What goes around always comes back again. The best place to find crochet pieces is going to be your local thrift store. You just might have to dig or make a few alterations so that you don’t look like you are wearing a costume.

6. Oversize blazers and Trench Coats– Your local thrift should be your first stop in trying to find an oversized blazer or trench coat. Look at the men’s section as well as the women’s. If you can’t find what you are looking for or want an investment piece, then try The RealReal. The site has blazers and trench coats from designers such as Burberry, Current/Elliott, Prada, and more.

Current/Elliott Trench Coat

7. Baguette Bags-This is a trend I will not be embracing but since it has come back around you can easily find baguette bags on sites such as Poshmark or eBay. You might even be able to score an original Fendi version if you are lucky or inclined to add that luxury piece to your wardrobe.

When We Know Better

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This year’s BAFTAs were all about sustainability, from how people were encouraged to travel to the event to most importantly….how they dressed. Attendees were given a sustainable fashion guide from the London College of Fashion that had tips and a list of brands to shop. They were also encouraged to wear something they had already worn before. (Something we peons know a thing or two about.)

Only a handful of celebrities embraced the challenge, most notably Kate Middleton who re-wore a dress a beautiful Alexander McQueen dress. Celebrities that have access to beautiful vintage pieces and luxury designers that are making eco and ethical strides opted for “standard” couture and runway collections. Celebrities that have a giant platform simply through the way the dress chose to go with the “status quo.” Rebel Wilson even made a joke about the theme in her albeit very funny speech.

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I am not going to deny that I am disappointed by the nonexistent or lackadaisical efforts made by celebrities that frequently tout the importance of making better decisions for the sake of the environment. Never mind the hypocrisy and sheer waste of the industry. I am simply saddened that we (people that talk about the outfits the next day/week casually at the office etc…) were robbed of the wonderful discussion that sustainable fashion is just as kick-ass or better than “regular” clothing.

However, I don’t think the masses rely on celebrities to dictate their purchasing decisions. I know that real change comes from people all over the globe making smarter choices about what they buy and wear (again and again.) Just because celebrity name did not rise to the challenge of being more sustainable certainly does not mean that we can’t either. There are numerous brands that are adopting more sustainable and ethical practices/policies in how they make their clothing as well as countless ways to re-style our current wardrobe.

I challenge you to show these celebrities how it is done and start dressing in a more sustainable way. Start small and make better choices that you know you can maintain for the long haul. Maybe it is repurposing items, shopping secondhand, buying less, and/or purchasing something sustainable and ethical when you need that new item in your wardrobe.

I also want you to look over the guide shared earlier and let me know what you would have worn to the BAFTAs embracing the sustainability theme. I would have rented this Stella McCartney halterneck gown from My Wardrobe HQ or this silk gown from.

Fashion Fast

Fashion, Informational

Part of being a considerate consumer is being a mindful shopper. That means not shopping when you don’t need something. It might also mean pausing your shopping so that you can determine what you actually need. For those of us that enjoy the art of finding a good deal or updating our wardrobe, this can be easier said than done. Think of this dry spell as a fashion fast with an end date in mind to make your shopping ban more successful.

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Fashion fasts can last two weeks, six months, or for whatever duration you set (but try to make it a challenge.) While you are conducting your fashion fast, it is a great time to look through your closet and take stock of what essentials you need to update or stock up on. You might also notice you have styles/colors you never really wear, which probably means that is a style/color you admire but don’t actually like on yourself so make a note to not buy anything else in this category.

I am pausing my own shopping for a few weeks to reassess my closet and I hope to stay on my fashion fast until the end of January. My goal is to analyze my closet so that I can continue to curate a mindful collection as I move forward.

However, I will still be posting so make sure to check back each week! Let me know in the comments if you have previously done a fashion fast or want to start one as well.

What’s The Alternative?

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My purpose in creating this blog is to help consumers make more meaningful purchase decisions. I am not here to advocate that consumers should not shop mainstream brands or boycott companies. There are products I still purchase from large corporations; I have yet to find an ethical facial moisturizer with SPF that compares in quality to the mainstream one I currently use. However, I hope in reading these posts and discovering new brands, that my readers will begin to make subtle or gradual changes to their purchase decisions.

Fun with vintage styles and thrift store finds.

In terms of fashion, the biggest change you can make is to carefully love the items you own and not to purchase items you would not want to wear over and over. When I need/want something “new” in my wardrobe, I always see if I can find the item in a secondhand shop before purchasing brand new. If I am unable to find what I am looking for in a thrift store, I then check an ethical/sustainable brand to see if they have the desired product. I shop mainstream when I cannot find what I am looking for anywhere else. I recently purchased some slim cut chino pants from J.Crew because I could not find a comparable fit elsewhere. This is a brand I think could make vast improvements, so I will be reaching out to the company during Fashion Revolution Week using this wonderful email template.

There might not (yet) be a great tool for rating beauty brands but finding ethical or sustainable brands is not very hard. Pacifica, SheaMoisture, and Botanics can all be found at Target and Ulta. Purchasing a variety of makeup and personal care items is simply a click away through Petit Vour or The Detox Market. Your local health food store will most likely also carry an array of ehtical/sustainable beauty brands and products.

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What is the alternative? To best answer this question, you are going to have to push up your sleeves and do a little research to find alternatives to the mainstream companies you currently shop. The “Brands to Know” section should be a great launching pad and rating tools such as “Good on You App” will help you find the fashion brands that align with your values.

Photo Credit: All images are the author’s personal photos.

What’s Fair Got To Do With It

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The fair trade movement began over sixty years ago but is still unknown by many. Those aware of fair trade often misunderstand the goals of the movement. Hopefully this post will clear up some of the commonly held myths about fair trade and will inspire you to purchase more fair trade products in the future.

Fair Trade Campaigns definition is simple but gets straight to the heart of the movement: Fair Trade ensures consumers that the products they purchase were grown, harvested, crafted and traded in ways that improve lives and protect the environment.

There are multiple organizations that verify and certify fair trade products but they all operate under the same shared values.

Here are the main fair trade recognized organizations:

*World Fair Trade Organization

*Fair Trade Certified

*Fair Trade Federation

*Fair for Life

*Fair Trade America

If an item is fair trade, it will feature a logo from one of the accredited organizations above. Fair Trade Winds has an excellent guide for understanding what each logo means to you as a consumer.

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There are numerous products that are completely or partially certified as fair trade, ranging from clothing to food to beauty. A wide variety of stores include fair trade products, such as Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Aldi. Fair Trade Certified provides excellent Shopping Guides to make it easier for consumers to find the products they want.

Fair Trade is not a form of charity, it is rooted in sustainable practices and self-sufficiency. Fair trade products are not necessarily more expensive either, they are usually competitively priced with their counterparts.

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All of the items in this outfit are fair trade certified. The shirt is from Freeset and costs $14. The skirt is a discontinued style made by People Tree but they have other styles under $50. The necklace is no longer available from Ten Thousand Villages, but you can still find a wide variety of jewelry ranging from $5-$275.

To learn more about how you can help and to connect with other advocates, visit Fair Trade Campaigns.

Photo Credit: Both images are the author’s personal photos

Why Fashion Revolution Matters

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My interest in fair trade and ethical companies was originally ignited while looking for opportunities to fight modern slavery and support organizations that were already making a difference. However, I predominately only ever bought fair trade food because I told myself that ethical fashion was out of my price range or just not my style. April of 2013 forever changed my mind set about fast fashion and my fair-weather support of ethical and fair trade clothing companies.

On April 24, 2013, the garment factory at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh collapsed, ultimately killing more than 1,100 workers. It was a tragedy that these workers died and it was even worse learning that the workers knew the building was unstable and that they did not want to enter the factory. However, the workers were forced to enter the building anyway, all so that they could make cheap and disposable clothing for consumers in the USA and Europe.

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Rana Plaza After The Collapse on April 24, 2013                                                                    

Whenever I see a $10 shirt, I am reminded of the survivors of Rana Plaza that are still waiting compensation or that 40% of the injured are still unable to work. This event was nearly five years ago but the fight for fair wages and safe working conditions is ongoing. There are numerous companies that have still yet to sign the Bangladesh Safety Accord, an agreement established in May of 2013 to ensure proper health and safety measures are in place and to enable a safer garment industry.  Companies that are not doing their part in safeguarding garment workers and demanding that the factories they use have enough fire exits for all their workers and do not lock workers into the building with no way of escaping.

Fashion Revolution Week coincides with the Rana Plaza tragedy so that we can be reminded of the conditions that lead to that disaster and encouraged to keep fighting for changes in the fashion industry. We have to ask companies to be more transparent with their practices and to hold them accountable for knowing their complete supply chain. Ask brands “who made my clothes?” because gone are the days when claiming ignorance is acceptable. Consumers have to take action and require companies to be more responsible and follow ethical initiatives. Together we can change the fashion industry!

DieForFashion Garment Workers Protesting for Living Wages     

Want to learn more?

Watch: True Cost or Fashion: Last Week Tonight

Read: Fashion Revolution or Clean Clothes Campaign

 

Photo Credit for Rana Plaza Collapse: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dhaka_Savar_Building_Collapse.jpg

Photo Credit for Garment Workers: https://www.flickr.com/photos/62762640@N02/16237298782

Ethical Fashion and Beauty 101

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Ethical fashion and beauty can be interpreted in a multitude of ways and the standards of what is ethical varies from company-to-company and person-to-person. This qualifier generally means that the product is made in a way that is better for the workers and/or the environment. Not using or abusing animals in the process can also be an attribute of ethical fashion and beauty. Companies are often transparent with consumers about their standards in one area, such as improved working conditions and pay for workers, but are not as clear or stringent with other aspects of their business. However, there are companies that do not require a consumer to compromise their principles in any area.

The Ethical Fashion Forum has established a set of 10 criteria for a brand to be considered ethical fashion. The criteria consists of supporting sustainable livelihoods, developing eco-friendly fabrics, and more. The fashion industry as a whole has a long way to go in improving business standards but there have been several recent successes and even mainstream companies are becoming more transparent with consumers. For suggestions on ethical fashion companies, please check out Brands to Know.

The beauty industry is not as apt to use the term ethical, they have instead adopted sustainable, natural, vegan, etc… to describe their products. Beauty brands that take this approach commonly promote that their ingredients are healthier or better than mainstream products. There are also large cosmetic companies that have begun using elements of sustainability or do not test on animals. The Good Shopping Guide has a small ethical comparison of some well-known brands. Unfortunately, the beauty industry trails behind fashion in establishing a set of standards for all companies to follow and meet. There is also very little published information about how ingredients are sourced for cosmetic products.

To learn more about the current conditions of the fashion and cosmetics industry and how you can make a difference, please visit the Resources page.

IfYouDon'tWhoWill

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thefactionist/3633516072/