We are approaching a new season. This transition is an excellent time to reevaluate our efforts of stewardship — that means guarding and cultivating the good gifts God has given us (body & soul, community, and the environment). One of the ways we can do this is making sustainable clothing purchases! We know that shopping ethically can be expensive, so we’ve collected a few ideas for building a conscious closet.
We are called to protect and cultivate community. Sharing clothes & clothing swaps are not only a great way to cultivate community and friendships but totally inexpensive! Everyone gets to try something new in their closet and switch out items they no longer wear. Check out this guide to clothing swaps for making it into a fun event for close friends or a neighborhood get together. Man is not made to be alone—allowing community to be a part of what you wear is innately Catholic in that it is a tangible reminder of how we are all connected in the Mystical Body of Christ.
We are called to accountability for each other and to look out for our brothers and sisters—especially those who have been mistreated. This especially applies to the unethical practices in our own backyard within the fashion industry. Research the companies you purchase from. It gives a wider perspective of the process and helps us appreciate the many hands involved in creating each garment (learn more through the Fashion Revolution). Awareness is a great place to begin when it comes to dressing ethically. Forming our mindset through research affects what we put on our bodies and vice versa. Slowly but surely companies are adjusting their procedures in production because of growing awareness as we put up our red flags declaring “A line has been crossed against human dignity! I cannot support this!”
Beyond awareness, it is worth mentioning the reality of poverty which has run rampant. There are many on the streets, and we have the capacity to respond. For instance, check out local monasteries, convents, or missions in our areas who collect clothing for the poor. These places are more reliable and trustworthy than chain donation places like Goodwill and Planet Aid Thrift which tend to send many donations to landfills and are not always transparent with their financial proceeds. We have a duty to the other and the environment we live in.
Developing sustainable shopping habits takes times! The more you make an effort to make ethical purchases, the more it will become second nature. Be patient with yourself and remember that a conscious closet won't happen overnight! Invest in garments you love and will become apart of your story. Soon, you will own a wardrobe you feel good about and suits your style.