Making ethical and conscious choices can be hard. So far, that's been the hardest part of my Clean 2016 project because the choices that companies make can be foggy at best. As ethical shopping becomes more trendy (which I think is a good thing if it makes it more mainstream) it's becoming a little more difficult for a beginner to get at the truth of a company's practices.
It's all very well to read things that sound positive on a company's website, but I have learnt not to trust those well curated speeches too far.
So I've started to do research on companies I can use and I stick to a few companies that I know I can trust.
At the moment, I do a lot of my research on Ethical Consumer. This is a brilliant website which breaks down all the things you can buy into categories, from homeware, to appliances and, of course, clothing. You can find articles about ethical and unethical techniques used in each industry and brands are marked out of 20.
Ethical Consumer makes things really clear and simple, but some of its information is hidden behind a paywall. At the moment, that's not a problem for me, but at some point in the future I may subscribe.
Livia Firth is a great ambassador for green and ethical fashion, so she is obviously a great source for clothing. She has even created her own collection for Marks & Spencer if you're looking for a high street brand. She also has her own consultancy Eco-Age which works with businesses to make them more sustainable. It's a little more high end than I can afford, but it's interesting to see.
My main go-to ethical brands at the moment are Seasalt Cornwall, as all of their clothes are all made in the UK, and People Tree. Neither of these are cheap brands, by any stretch of the imagination. But the beauty of a capsule wardrobe (which I am striving towards) is that you need fewer items so you can justify spending that little bit more on something you really love.
When looking for new items I look for quality - something that is going to last long enough to justify the cost - and how classic it is. I'm not a particularly trendy person, but I can be tempted by things that are very in at the moment. This is not the best idea when you're trying to build a long-lasting wardrobe! Quality, classic and ethical are my watch words at the moment. I'll keep you posted when I find new sources.