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Shopping With a Conscience

Updated: May 26, 2020

You know what blows me away and breaks my heart if I think about it too much? The clothing industry. Let me explain.

Think of all of the clothes in your closet. Think of all of the places you’ve browsed around shopping for those clothes, like Macy’s, Lululemon, or American Eagle.

Then think of how many of those stores there are in the world. The number is overwhelming to me.

There is also the fact that some companies use unethical labor in their clothing manufacturing, so where can we buy from and feel good about? And all of our articles of clothing, where do they end up?

Well, after a few times of wearing our clothing items, we probably donate them or pass them down to our siblings or cousins when we get bored with or outgrow them. Then, we are off to the store to buy the next style of the season.

Now, I’m not frowning upon shopping at the mall or boutiques, or saying anyone is awful for doing so (I do it for my necessities and specific items), but I wanted to bring to your awareness the opportunity to explore alternative routes to the mainstream source of our shopping.

I want to share some ideas on what conscious shopping is and where you can look for clothes that help offset the social and environmental cost of traditional purchasing.

1. I’m sure you know of Goodwill as being a popular choice among college students and young adults for thrifting and repurposing second-hand clothing. I, myself, have a blast going to Goodwill and finding a grandpa sweater for only $5 and some high-waisted jeans for only $4. One of the ways I express myself is through my fashion style, and finding affordable outfits at Goodwill is a fun pastime for me.

2. Another gem for thrifting is the Salvation Army Family Store. The one here in Lexington is off of Versailles Road and is similar to Goodwill. The Salvation Army accepts clothing donations but uses the money from purchases to fund their non-profit organization. My favorite day to go is on Wednesday because 4 out of 5 color tags are ½ off.

3. POPS Resale is a local business that just had a sponsored content piece in the KRNL Lifestyle + Fashion magazine. Located on Leestown Road, this is a store that has vintage records and clothes for those out there looking to bring back styles from previous decades.

4. A few companies I have come across as I’ve shopped online are Everlane and Girlfriend Collective. GC uses recycled water bottles to make fitness apparel--how NEAT! These options are more expensive than a mainstream store, but choosing an ethical company increases social impact for others.

5. Last but not least, try your friends’ closets! Swapping clothing can be a unique aspect of your friendship and can also allow you to experiment with other brands, colors, or styles without having to purchase them.


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