And for me, there seems to have been a natural progression from trying to buy only what you need to thinking about where that item came from and at what cost... both ethically and environmentally. I mean, I try my hardest to buy things that were not tested on animals or have animal products in them. But, shouldn't I be thinking about whether or not those running shorts that I bought from Lululemon (shame, I know) were made by a 12 year old who doesn't make a fair wage or have good working conditions? OF COURSE I SHOULD BE THINKING ABOUT THAT!
And wow... what a rabbit hole to fall down into... the research is hard and most of the time pretty murky. And it's frustrating. There are about 3-5 stores that I buy most of my clothing from and so it was pretty easy for me to sit down and read their policies... but it's mostly just abstract bullshit. You see the word "committed" tossed out everywhere, For example.... let's talk about JCrew:
We are committed to using the highest-quality materials to deliver the best possible products to our customers. This commitment includes making sure that the materials used in our products are harvested and processed in line with our broader commitment to social responsibility. To that end, we have a number of policies on our specific expectations that include the following.
Uhhh... WTF does that even mean? But, then their number of policies is 3 things. Two of which are kind of abstract in their responses:
1. "We commit to not knowingly sourcing Uzbek cotton for the manufacturing of any of our products until the government of Uzbekistan ends the practice of forced child labor in its cotton sector." Uhh... does this mean that you could unknowingly have uzbek cotton in your clothes? Why wouldn't you just say... We don't use Uzbek Cotton in our clothes?
2. Is about Australian sheep wool practices that "over time, J.Crew is fully committed to phasing out the use of mulesed wool" HOW much time???? Is there no other fucking wool that you can use? Do people REALLY need Merino wool that badly?
3. And the ban of sandblasting: "To ensure the well-being of the workers who manufacture J.Crew products, we have banned the use of sandblasting for all J.Crew, Madewell and crewcuts products." YAY! Finally a word that is concrete: BANNED.
But, this is so frustrating. I want to know MORE. Okay, so you don't knowingly use Uzbek Cotton. What kind of cotton do you use? Where does it come from? What are the labor laws like there?
I was on my soapbox about it one day to The KoB and was saying... I wish there were more American-made* clothes. And he was like... how about Melanzana and was I like.. who?
He proceeded to tell me about them. They're a Leadville, Colorado based company that MAKES the clothes that they sell. It's mostly outdoorsy, active stuff. The next morning I checked out their website and ordered a bunch of stuff from them:
The grey is the women's tank. I bought it in black and LOVE it.
Am going to buy another one or two. It fits well and is a really good length
(something that is hard to find in running tops).
This is a half zip fleece pullover. I cannot wait to wear this fall/winter.
It's a lightweight fleece that can easily be worn under or over something else.
They refer to this on the site as a running skirt. THE HORROR! I bought a running skirt!!
But, fear not, it's actually just a skirt. There's no brief or shorts underneath or anything.
I bought it in hopes of just wearing it as a casual skirt on the weekends.
But, I ended up sending it back, it's a fleece material, which just didn't
make sense for me here in TN. SUPER cute though.
I will definitely be buying more stuff from Melanzana. It's high quality, VERY affordable, and it's American Made! What more could you ask for?? I only wish they had a bigger range of products that they sell. And, I would have NEVER have heard of them if the KoB hadn't spent so much time in Leadville and knew about the company. So, my question to you is... do you know of any American Made retailers?
* I realize American Apparel is American Made. But man, that company skeeves me out.