This week is my official "two year anniversary" of shopping ethically. Although not without bumps, doubts, "mistakes", and challenges, I can firmly say that even if my blogging days come to an end and I'm thrust back into the world of "real shopping", I'll never support Fast Fashion again. Knowing the things I know now, and equipped with the tools I have for making ethical shopping both convenient and accessible, two years will translate to a lifestyle for, well, life.
That longevity can seem scary, or even over the top. What if I'm in a pinch? What if I can't afford to save money for "investment pieces"? What if my kids need new clothes more quickly than I can buy them? For every question that arises, I've learned that there are ethical answers for them all. Sometimes it's waiting longer to make a purchase. Sometimes it's not buying anything at all. Sometimes it's going to a thrift store to dig for alternatives, Sometimes it's making something myself. Sometimes it's putting "secondhand clothes" on my girls' birthday list. Sometimes it's practicing contentment.
And at a certain point, most people who make the commitment to shop ethically realize that ultimately, fashion is just the beginning.
One of my favorite brands, that I've partnered with several times (three, in fact. 1, 2, 3,) and will continue to promote regardless of whether I'm "partnered" with them or not, embodies this "change beyond textiles" notion in more ways than one. MATTER Prints strives to foster connection and community - rather than exploitation and individual gain. They strive to mesh artisan trade with designer skill and, most excitingly to me as a consumer, to inspire customers to value "provenance", or, the story and art behind creation, not just the speed of it.
When I spent time thinking about what Change Beyond Textiles means in preparation for this post, I was struck by how applicable it is in a personal sense, not just for a sustainable brand or fashion designer. Change beyond textiles is a call for constant growth. It's a challenge to never stop questioning the norm, a push to go beyond.
For me, this push means carrying a conscious lifestyle into more areas than just my closet. It means choosing to care more, about everything, which sounds exhausting, but as I've learned from watching the ripple effects of spreading conscious shopping, choosing to care is contagious.
Change beyond textiles is lasting, it's life altering and, eventually, as more and more people notice and join in, it's world changing.
Two years in, I'm not sure where this lifestyle is taking me, but the single choice to care about where my clothes were made and the stories they tell has opened more doors than I ever imagined. It's caused me to think about consumerism and ethics in a much larger scope, from the food I eat, to the way I parent, to the way I construct my "dream life".
Change beyond textiles means there's hope for the contagion to spread. It means that taking a single step, be it a shopping fast, committing to reducing your waste, or researching before you buy that t-shirt, can cause others to ask the same kind of questions. Change beyond textiles means that the first step you take, no matter how scary or counter cultural it seems, is really just the beginning.