Being born into a society that values low price tags and high fashion, it can be difficult (and let's be honest, nearly impossible) to keep up with the trends of an ever-changing fashion industry. After countless hours of shopping, hands tired from perusing through racks, back aching from bending over to try on those delicious new Steve Madden sandals from the 2016 summer collection, there is no better feeling than finding a great deal on, well, anything.
But what are you really paying when you find that perfect floral sundress for $7 at the mall?
Too often we buy items that are cheap, easy, and have a low impact on our everyday lives without giving a second thought. What we, as a society, neglect to question is what happens on the other side of the transaction. Most of the products we purchase in the U.S. are still made by the hands of slaves, both domestic and international. Sure, an inexpensive dress sounds good to your wallet, but by supporting mass producing companies without researching the origin of their products, you are also supporting the sale and use of slaves in the industry.
So, how can you combat these unethical practices? Shop consciously! Here are four brands that slay when it comes to creating a more socially sustainable fashion industry.
1. rePURPOSE Accessories
With an array of hair accessories, scarves and apparel, rePURPOSE has become a powerful platform for combating human sex and labor trafficking (while taming my crazy summer hair). The brand was founded by Jessica Burt and features products that are all domestically hand-made by refugees. All of their beautiful products are created from fair trade and thrifted fabrics. And the best part? 100 percent of the profits made are sent to three organizations that benefit the cause: Exodus Road, Make Way Partners, and The Thirst Project.
2. Alex and Ani
This well-known and loved jewelry brand was founded by Carolyn Rafaelian and continuously creates innovative, energy-packed pieces with eco-conscious roots. From Alex's Lemonade Stand to Global Fund, the Charity By Design collection at Alex and Ani has donated to non-profits all over the world. And as if you need another reason to hit up their website, all of the jewelry is made right here in the United States!
3. Songbird Sewing Co.
*Swoon.* Let's talk about handbags for a minute. Whether you're in the market for a new wallet, clutch, or tote, Songbird Sewing Co. has got you covered. Founder Renee Stawicki creates each unique piece in her home studio, which guarantees that your products are being made with love and fair labor. Songbird Sewing focuses on small batch orders and selling one-of-a-kind accessories to match every outfit.
Founded by DeAnne Stidham, LuLaRoe is an apparel brand that does nothing but impress. Made from the softest material you will ever feel (yes, you heard me right) the bold printed leggings, skirts, dresses, and tops are a must-have for fashion lovers of every age. Produced without the use of slave labor, the brand has become a success across the country, offering loyal fans the opportunity to sell LuLaRoe themselves.