Slow Fashion Feature || Zuri Collection

Although my passion for shopping ethically started with clothes, as I ventured deeper into conscious purchasing, I realized that it couldn't just stay in one area of my life (ie. my closet) and not affect the rest of it. 

I began researching how to shop ethically for things like beauty products, home decor, food, and more and while it's overwhelming, it's also inspiring to discover so many brands who are making change happen one hand-crafted product at a time. 

Zuri Collection is one such brand that offers a wide variety of items, and makes a huge impact while they're at it. 

It all started in 2013 when Zuri's founder, Abby, travelled to Tanzania to be a teacher. During her stay, she noticed first hand how difficult it is for many women to support their families or make a fair living wage, and she wanted to do something about it. With the knowledge that "purchase power" is real and can have unbelievable impact on the economies and lives of countless people, she decided to found a company that used fashion and quality made goods as a vessel to employ these Tanzanian women. 

Now, a year later after Zuri Collection's launch, Abby is providing seamstresses and artisans in Tanzania with a marketplace to sell their goods and be paid a fair wage. Each piece in her collection is handmade be it a skirt, a woven wall hanging, a handbag, or a gorgeous bracelet (you'll get to see some sneak peeks of the collection in a bit!)

I chose the Single Spiral Black Wall Hanging because I'm hoping to slowly begin transitioning my home decor to ethically made (and more unique) pieces. This is my first step in that direction and I'm so excited.

I haven't fully decided on a place for it to hang yet, unfortunately, but I want to find the perfect spot for it. With our housing situation being a bit up in the air I'm resisting the urge to revamp my entire house while we are waiting for it to sell, so I've decided to be patient instead. 

But, as you can see, the detail in this weaving is gorgeous. It feels soft to the touch, yet sturdy, easily doubling as a decorative bowl (though I'm planning to hang it on the wall out of the reach of my toddlers ;).

And here's a quick peek into a few of the other items Zuri Collection currently offers. I'm in love with the clutches and her skirts are so unique and fun to style. 

Shop my picks || Bosco Clutch ($68), Dorice Pencil Skirt ($68), Beaded Leather Cuff ($115)

Supporting Zuri Collection directly supports the women that Abby is working tirelessly to employ, so if you're looking to upgrade your home decor, buy an eye catching skirt, or a piece of beautifully made jewelry, make Zuri your new go-to. 

And, once I find a home for my wall hanging, I promise I'll share ;) 

7 Tips Anyone Can Use To Make Their Closet More Conscious

I remember when I first started my blog, I vowed to myself that I'd never let it become "just a fashion blog". And although, even to me, that sounds pretty condescending and silly, I really wanted to create a space of depth, and growth. A place where people were inspired to simplify and make positive changes to their life. And the thought of my blog being only a collection of sponsored posts and new clothes scared me (and it still does sometimes). However, as time goes on, I'm realizing what a powerful conduit fashion is, both for simplicity and ethical living.  

My step into capsule wardrobes a few years ago was one inch closer into "fashion blogger" territory. Then, when I made the commitment to stop buying from fast fashion last year, I became a full on advocate for ethical fashion. I never expected it to become such an integral part of my blog — since minimalism and simplifying was originally my main focus originally — but, I have a hard time separating things, and so minimalism AND slow fashion melded together to become the SL&Co. you know today. 

Even though I've become much more "fashion blogger-y" than I ever expected, my one and only goal with each and every outfit I post and every new brand I introduce is that it will encourage you bit by bit to make more informed purchases and support the brands that are changing the fashion industry for the better, all while learning to intentionally create a wardrobe you love. 

That said, I'm incredibly passionate about making slow fashion more approachable for anyone and everyone. Changing your shopping habits is a scary step, like anything that takes you out of your comfort zone (although in my experience, ethically made clothes are FAR more comfortable than their fast fashion alternatives ;). I hope SL&Co. is a resource that pushes you in that direction. I've created my affordable ethical brands list and my giant guide of brands for the sole purpose of showing that it is possible to shop more consciously, no matter your budget, social media following, location, or personal style. 

But you don't need a fashion blog, or an Instagram account, or an audience to start making your wardrobe more conscious. The conscious living and ethical fashion blogs exist to provide information, resources, and inspiration, but that certainly doesn't mean they should be the only ones doing it.

Here are a few super easy tips to take your wardrobe to the next level, ethically speaking. Without a blog post or a slough of hashtags afterwards. 

Ethical fashion isn't just for fashion bloggers. Here are 7 tips anyone can implement to begin creating a more ethical wardrobe.

 

1. Implement the "Run Out" Rule: 

I mentioned this rule in my post on sustainable baby steps a few weeks ago. It's one I personally use for everything from beauty products, to my closet, to my kitchen. 

It simply means that once something you already have runs out or needs to be replaced, replace it with a more conscious and ethically made item. As you declutter your closet, define your style, and create a more streamlined wardrobe, you're bound to notice gaps in your closet. Add those items to your wishlist and slowly, one by one, replace them with a piece from an ethical retailer. 

It doesn't have to be all at once (in fact, it probably shouldn't,) so be patient and embrace the process of curating a wardrobe you love. 

2. Shop Second Hand:

I know, it doesn't have the same allure that buying a shiny new piece from a brand you admire, but thrifting is one of the easiest ways to up the consciousness AND affordability of the pieces you need to replace. 

Since you likely want to invest in pieces that are going to last, thrifting from places like ThredUp or Instagram shops that specialize in finding high quality pieces can be an awesome option. 

3. Utilize The Bloggers:

One of the greatest things about the influence of ethical bloggers is that they can act as genuine advertisement for brands that consumers can feel good about buying from. If you're unsure of whether or not a certain brand is ethical or not, utilize the blogs and resources you've come to trust. Look through their archives, send them a message. We blog because we are passionate about watching this industry change and we love watching it happen. 

4. Take It Slow:

Don't expect your closet to change overnight. It might take a while for your closet to evolve into a more ethical one, and that's totally ok. Even a year or so in to my ethical fashion journey, I'm still using the run out rule, researching ways to fill gaps, and discovering brands I love supporting. 

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5. Define Your Style:

One of the easiest ways to be more mindful about what you bring into your closet, is by knowing exactly what you love to wear and buying only that. Although I'm all for experimentation and trying new styles, besides the occasional "off brand" piece, you should stick to your favorite cuts/styles/colors. 

6. Ignore The Trends:

Along with knowing what you love to wear, learn to resist the urge to buy the newest trends as soon as they're released — with each of fast fashion's 52 micro-seasons. Instead, stick to pieces that are timeless and classic. They'll never go out of style. 

7. Choose Quality Over Quantity: 

Getting used to buying "investment pieces" instead of cheap alternatives that you'll need to replace in a year or two will not only work wonders for the pieces in your closet but will also make you more content with the pieces you do have, cutting the urge to shop all the time. 

How are you taking steps to make your wardrobe more ethical? Has it been an easier transition than you expected? 

7 Easy Steps To A More Ethical Closet

Maybe you've heard about this thing called slow fashion but aren't sure of how to make the leap. If you're tired of hearing about how your favorite fashion brands use less-than-ethical practices, it might be time to transition your wardrobe (and ultimately, your mindset) to a more conscious and ethical one. 

When I first heard about ethical fashion, I was pretty certain I'd never be able to afford that kind of lifestyle. I mean, there's a reason people love H&M and Forever 21 so much. They're affordable AND stylish. Many people feel like they don't have a choice between buying pieces they can afford and buying pieces that are ethically made. 

I've been there and, believe it or not, after committing to shop ethically as much as possible, I was pleasantly surprised by just how easy it is to build a wardrobe I love without contributing to fast fashion. 

These tips are simple enough that you can start today. Most of them are completely free, requiring simply a switch in mindset. 

Building an ethical wardrobe doesn't have to be budget-breaking and difficult. It's more about switching your mindset from one of mindless consumption to one of thoughtful purchasing to fill gaps in your current wardrobe. Read this piece for a detailed plan to shop more ethically PLUS get a free guide to help you get started!

1. Define Your Style:

One of the biggest mistakes I see people making (and that I made all the time) is buying articles of clothing that they like in the store or even when they try them on, but never really wear in real life, either because they don't have the occasion or because it's not consistent with their lifestyle. 

It takes time to figure out what style is truly you — in fact, you may have a lot of different styles. But taking your lifestyle AND preferences into account will help you be more honest about what kind of pieces you actually should be buying. Use my free guide to defining your style to help you!

2. Detox Your Current Wardrobe:

This step is usually the most intimidating. If you're staring at piles of clothes that you've had for years and have no idea of where to start, don't worry, once you actually start, it gets much easier. Use my guide to help you get started, or read this post about 9 ways to simplify your closet

3. Make A List Of Pieces To Fill The Gaps 

I was pleasantly surprised by just how easy it is to build a wardrobe I love without contributing to fast fashion.

Once you've pared your wardrobe down to only pieces you love and will wear often, make a list of what other essentials you need to fill the gaps. And remember, you don't have to fill the gaps all at once. Building a wardrobe you love will take time. 

Try to think of pieces that you can wear all year long, like a white tee, or a classic black dress. Obviously you'll need some seasonal pieces too, so don't forget to write those down too. 

4. Buy Staple Pieces That You Can Mix And Match

One of the best thing about capsule wardrobes (shameless plug here, you don't have to use a capsule wardrobe to shop ethically and simplify) is that you become a pro at buying pieces that flow together. No more looking into your closet and seeing clothes that don't match or can't be combined into multiple outfits. 

5. Buy Secondhand/Handmade

When you actually go to shop for new pieces, thrifting is one of the most affordable and ethical ways to shop. Regardless of where the piece was made, you're extending the life of an article of clothing instead of letting it sit on a thrift store rack or end up in a landfill. ThredUp is one of my favorite resources for thrifting quality pieces that anyone can afford. 

6. Shop From Ethical Brands

When you can, support the brands who are doing it right. There are so many ethical brands out there that need support from consumers to make lasting change on the clothing industry (and the difference they've already made is amazing). See my guide of affordable and ethical brands for a great jumping off point. 

7. Shop Less + Shop Smarter:

Finally, get in the mindset of evaluating every purchase before you make it. Ask if you really need the item, if it will fill a gap in your closet, and if it will last you. If you can't answer yes to those questions, don't buy it.