Where to Buy Casual Ethical Clothing

Can you believe it’s already the 18th? Thanks for sticking with me this far of Fashion for Freedom! Now that we know what modern slavery is, how ethical fashion fights it, and the fair trade difference, and we’re excited to make small changes to make a big difference, let’s get to the super practical questions: Where can I buy a fair trade tee? Where can I buy ethical jeans? Dresses? Scarves? And how much is this going to cost me?

I’m going to break it down by categories within categories, so within “Casual Clothing,” lets look at tees and tops, jeans and bottoms, and casual dresses. Note that you don’t have to spend a fortune to look good while doing good, although some classic, high quality items are great investment pieces.

Fall Ethical Fashion

Ethical Tees, Tops, and Dresses

Stop Traffick Fashion: Support women freed from slavery with these tees! Several designs available. Budget Friendly.
Sevenly– each week, a new design with a new cause! Both men’s and womens, short sleeved, dolman style tops, and sweatshirts. Moderately Priced.
Good and Fair– Good and fair only offers short sleeved tees, but they have several designs as well as solid, and both men and women’s. Budget friendly.
Maggies Organics: camis, tanks, short, three-fourth, and long sleeved tees in a plenty of colors, as well as casual dresses and skirts, all fair trade and made from organic cotton. Maggie’s carries clothes for both men and women. I especially love the hoodies, which are only $25! Budget friendly. 
Global Girlfriend: One of the largest selections of fair trade tops I’ve seen, with several different tee designs, styles, sweaters, and skirts in a rainbow of colors. I’m definitely adding this adorable owl tee to my Christmas list. Budget friendly.
PrAna: For the outdoorsy, adventurous type who like quality over quantity, PrAna offers beautiful ethical sweaters, tanks, tops, coats, work out wear, and more. Also, if you’re not a fan of online shopping, see if there’s a location near you! Investment Pieces (check out the outlet for sale items!)
Raven and Lily : R+L has a huge selection of accessories, but only two options for tees right now. If you like them, don’t forget to use code “scribbles” for 20% off during October! Moderately Priced.
Threads for Thought: Recycled and fair trade tees in several styles, designs, and colors, as well as sweaters, hoodies, and casual dresses. See if there’s a brick and mortar store near you, or shop online. Budget friendly.

Ethical Bottoms

PrAna: Blue jeans, cords, yoga pants, leggings, and more. Investment Pieces. 
Threads 4 Thought: Recycled yoga pants, patterned shorts, leggings, and super cute skirts. Budget Friendly.
Francesca’s Collections: As far as I know, Francescas is not a fair trade company, but many of their jeans are made in the USA. Moderately Priced. 
Thrift Stores: For the very price conscious, this is probably the best way to go. Fair trade jeans tend to be pricey, due to the materials and labor involved. If you don’t have time to save up for a pair, re-use what’s already in the system at your local thrift stores and support your community. 
Catch up on all the posts here. 
If you’re anything like me, after you look at the price tags on some of those jeans, you might be thinking, “There’s no way I’d ever pay $99 dollars for jeans, even $48 is pushing it.”

Here’s what I realized: We’ve been conditioned to accept cheap clothes. We think super low prices are normal. Until recently, we didn’t know that the reason they can charge such low prices is because the people making the clothes aren’t getting paid.

But now we know. The cost of cheap clothes is too high a price to pay. But if we really want to making a lasting impact, we have to alter our ideas of how much clothes should cost. Fair trade does cost more – because the people making the clothes are actually getting paid a decent wage.

Consider this: If I saved all the money I would normally spend in a year on cheap shoes, clearance tops, and impulse jewelry buys, I could afford an expensive pair of jeans. Also, if I took into account the money I spend on clothes that are poor quality and only last a year, and invested in pieces that will last five years or more, that seems more worth it. I’ve realized through this experiment that I really don’t need more than two pairs of jeans anyway.

For more ethical clothing and accessory ideas, visit my Fashion For Freedom Pinterest Board! And stay tuned for posts on accessories, special occasion, cosmetics, and more.

Update: I recently discovered Pure Citizen, a daily deals site for ethical and fair trade clothing for men, women, and children, beauty products, and more. I’ve already discovered several new ethical companies through them! I just became a Pure Citizen affiliate, so I’d love if you signed up too! You can save up to 90% on ethical brands!

Which are your favorites of the companies above? What do you think about investing in more expensive fair trade pieces over cheaper brands?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

An Update, And The 10th Item Reveal!

10 Items, One Month, So Far

Since starting this series, I’ve had strange dreams, more like nightmares really, about shopping. In one dream I found myself in a small boutique filled with cute dresses. But then, the racks were so crammed with clothes it was impossible to pull them off and look at them, and the racks got closer and closer together, until they almost smothered me.

In another dream, I searched up and down the endless aisles of Walmart looking for Christmas presents for my sisters. I wanted a particular type of bodywash scented like different flavors of candy and soda. All I could find were pixi stix and root beer flavored. But then, I couldn’t find any prices. I looked on the bottles and on the shelves, and then I realized that nothing in the store had prices posted. I started feeling panicky, not sure if I could afford to get them or not. To increase my anxiety, the store swarmed with people. I noticed that many of the people had already gone through the checkout line, but weren’t leaving. Why aren’t they leaving? I asked a man nearby. “They’re afraid to leave,” he said. 

Image Source

I’m not into dream interpretation, but I could draw some analogies from those nightmares. How often do I shop out of fear?  I fill my house with stuff to make me feel secure. Sometimes we shop just to lift our mood, or to ease our pain and take our mind off a problem that needs to be dealt with. We’re afraid, afraid of losing status, or afraid of dealing with painful emotions, so we shop. It’s a bandaid, just like emotional eating, which covers the pain for a moment but when the pounds pile on, the sadness only increases. Ultimately, all the stuff we look to for security ends up smothering us.

Aside from the nightmares, this month is going well, but not how I expected. Some things are harder than I thought they would be, and other things are much easier. For example, telling people what I’m doing is much harder than I expected. When I try to explain why I’m wearing ten items, I feel like my brain freezes up and my mouth just keeps babbling on. I get all self-conscious and stutter-y. Luckily for me, my friend Tara is more than happy to tell everyone who will listen all about why I’m wearing ten items, and she does an awesome job! I’m very thankful for all of you who have shared, liked, and commented on this series. You have no idea how encouraging it is!

Last week I had moments that I forgot about only wearing ten things. When I’d get dressed in the morning, I’d reach for a different tank to go under my tee, and then remember. Once, though, I didn’t remember in time. Without even thinking, I laced up my tennis shoes and went to work out with Brian. I didn’t realize my mistake until hours later! Epic fail.

Just to clarify the rules, originally I wasn’t going to wear accessories or scarves, but in Brian’s words, I realized I’m a girl. So I am wearing my Noonday bracelet, and my FashionABLE scarf is one of my ten items. I could have counted all shoes as one item, but I know I have a big problem with shoes. I can’t resist them, and I have way more than I need. So, I really want to work on that area this month by limiting myself to my Toms.

The 10th Item

The results are in! The tenth item you chose for me to wear, is…

The Good and Fair Clothing v-neck tee!

Thanks for voting! It’s due to arrive any time now, and I’m SO looking forward to having another shirt to wear. I’ve mostly worn my Sevenly tee one day and my Stop Traffick Fashion tee the next. I still love my tees, but I’ll be very happy when I have another one to choose from! Although, it its supposed to cool off again here, so hopefully I’ll be able to wear my thrift store tunic again. 
Speaking of cooler weather, last Friday night Brian and I spent time with our friends who live out in the country, and it was COLD after the sun went down. I thought about asking Brian for his sweatshirt, but decided it would be cheating. Luckily, I had my scarf, so I wrapped it around me like a shawl. 
In other news, I have updated the first post of this series so that it contains links to all the posts, and I’ll continue to update it that it will be much easier to keep up to date and catch up. You might want to bookmark it so it will be easy to come back to. 
This week I’m going to share more places to shop for fair trade and ethically made clothes, a fashion tip, and an interview with a woman who is passionate about using fashion for good. I can’t wait! Thank you for joining me on this journey!
Read all the posts HERE.

Style Made With Love, and Fighting Trafficking with Lipsticks

Joe and Jessica just wanted to raise funds for their adoption by selling locally made fair trade jewelry, but God had so much more in mind. Today, NoonDay Collections helps numbers of other families afford adoptions, and provides families around the world with a good job and fair wage. Nicole left her dream job as a beauty editor in New York City to spend a year in Thailand, where amongst trafficked women and those trapped in commercial prostitution, she felt like she belonged. After returning to the states, she founded Radiant Cosmetics to fight trafficking one lipstick at a time.

You might have noticed their buttons along the sidebar, but in case you haven’t visited yet, here’s why I love Noonday and Radiant:

Noonday Collection

“At Noonday Collection, we believe every child belongs in a family. While the owner is no longer raising money for their Rwandan adoption (though they think more adoptions will come), the vision remains the same. We advocate for the orphan by:

  • Providing jobs that create a pathway out of poverty for families. A stable income means a family is less likely to abandon their child.
  • Help families raise money for their own adoptions. We give 10% of trunk show sales directly to the adoptive family when they host a trunk show.
  • Aside from donating 10% towards qualified adoptive families, Noonday Collection also gives towards orphan care and prevention. Watch the video to see one of our beneficiaries.
  • The dream: Take YOU on a trip to visit artisans and visit orphans in their distress.”

Some of my favorite items (although it’s really hard to choose just a few!) include:

Patchwork Clutches
The Dainty Everyday Neclace
And of course, my bracelet! 
Check out all of their products at representative Whitney’s page here. And stay tuned for a fabulous giveaway from NoonDay later here on the blog!

Radiant Cosmetics

Nicole says about Radiant Cosmetics: 

The cosmetics industry generates $170 billion annually. Women dominate this industry and of the over 2 million human beings trafficked each year, 80% are women and girls. My dream is to awaken a generation of women to not sit back and allow this injustice to happen to our fellow sisters. My dream is to set the captives free, one lipstick at a time.

20% of each purchase goes to Redeemed Ministries, a faith based anti-trafficking organization.

Nicole sent me this lovely shade of moisturizing lipstick:

I’m pretty conservative with my lipstick, so the Peony shade appealed to me. It’s almost the natural color of my lips, but with an extra touch of pink. 

I LOVE it. I’ve been wearing it everywhere. To see in in action, I’m wearing it in almost all of the pictures in last Wednesday’s post introducing what I’m wearing this month.

I’m also planning to try these products:

Perfect Finish Concealer
Mineral Loose Foundation Powder
And Keratin Mascara
In closing, I hope this week has encouraged you to take action. Caring for the orphans and widows comes down to making a choice. Sometimes that choice is as simple as switching to fair trade coffee or Radiant lipstick. Sometimes it’s harder, like spending less on myself so I can give more to others. 
Have you taken any action this week? If not, look back over this week’s posts. You can: 
1. Look inside your closet, finding out where your clothes are made. 
2. Discover your slavery footprint.
3. Choose fair trade items when shopping.
4. Download the Free2Work app to find the most ethical companies by industry. 
5. Shop with companies who put your money to good use. 
If you’ve completed some of the actions above, let us know about it in the comments!

The Fair Trade Difference

What if the coffee you drink, the sugar you buy, and the clothes you wear created schools, clean water, and a better life for someone else?

I don’t think it was a coincidence that I chose October for this blog series! I didn’t know at the time that it happend to be fair trade month, but I’ve found some great articles and resources as a result, like this video, that explains what it means to be fair trade certified:

Fair Trade USA estimates that the number of people in developing countries who are benefiting from the fair trade products sold world wide is about 5 MILLION.

5,000,000 people who are no longer part of this statistic:

Buying fair trade matters. As more and more of us choose fair trade, companies will get the message: 

 “If a business cannot afford to be ethical, then they cannot afford to be in business.” – Neil Kearney, former President of the International Garment and Leather Workers Federation

This week when you do your regular grocery shopping, choose fair trade whenever possible. A small choice to us means the world to 5 million people.  

Catch up on 31 Days of Fashion for Freedom:
Week 1: Inform
Week 2: Act
2. How Many Slaves Work For You?

3. The Fair Trade Difference

Ethical Style: When It Clicked For Me

Stop Traffick Fashion interviewed me for their Everyday Abolitionists feature. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share how I first learned about human trafficking and why I believe in ethical fashion. Although to a large degree, I feel unworthy of being included in the ranks of the other abolitionists featured, I’m truly honored.  
Read the whole interview here! And also, did you vote yet for my tenth item

Capsule Wardrobe: What I’m Wearing This Month

If you’re just joining us, welcome to 31 Days of Fashion for Freedom!

I’m wearing only 10 items this month to change the way I shop and fight human trafficking. And today I’m introducing my ten things!

1. Stop Traffick Fashion Tee

Stop Traffick Fashion sent me the Beloved Tee to wear, and it is 100% fair trade organic cotton. This tee was made in India by Freeset, “a fair trade business offering employment to women trapped in Kolkata’s sex trade.”

The tee states “Be Loved, Be Free.” A flock of freed birds flutter across the front. I forgot to take a picture of the back, but it features the STF logo on the back.

I’m wearing a large, because it is 100% cotton and I’m not sure how much it will shrink. I LOVE the color. As you can tell in the pictures, it’s a brilliant aqua blue. I like that it’s a “slim fit” shirt, meaning that it’s more fitted.

For your information, this shirt is now on sale! So are many of the tees STF offers, they’re getting ready for a new line of designs. So if you haven’t already, check out their tees!

3. Sevenly Tee

I bought this tee a few weeks ago, to support All Girls Allowed, an organization that fights forced abortions of girls in China and provide resources for orphaned girls. Sevenly sells a different tee shirt every week to support a new cause. Check out the past causes and designs here, and see what Sevenly’s doing this week.

I think the design is beautiful. I especially love the sentiment, “Live Life.” This tee is unbelievably soft, and produced in Los Angeles, California in a WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accreditation Production) certified factory, which “requires not only clean ethical cotton fields and sweat-shop-free manufacturing, but quarterly inspections of healthy workplace standards, and environmentally friendly products.” Sevenly states on their tees that they are a fair trade company.

 4. Thrift Store Tunic

This particular tunic was a find from a thrift store in Iowa; you might remember it. I wore this yesterday, and let me tell you, it is WARM. I wore it with the sleeves rolled up, but it can also be worn with them down. 

5. Grey Tank Top

This tank top has been in my drawers since early high school. At one point it had a fine sheen of glitter, but that’s long gone now. I think I got it at JC Pennys. It’s one of the ten so that I have something to wear under the thrift store tunic and Sevenly tee, as well as to work out in and sleep in. Yeah, it’s going to get washed a lot this month!

6. FashionABLE scarf

The lovely folks at FashionABLE sent me the Bezuayhu scarf to keep me warm this month! I’ll share more about FashionABLE in another post next week. Every scarf they sell provides sustainable business for women in Africa.

“Because of you, I am ABLE to Look forward to my future. Thank you, Bezuayhu”
Each scarf design is named after one of the women whose life has been transformed by working for FashionABLE. Each scarf comes with a handwritten note from the woman who made it, along with a picture. I don’t usually save the tags from clothes, but I’m probably going to save this one forever.

7. Bootcut Jeans

The dark wash jeans I’m wearing in every picture of me above are my favorite pair, and that’s why they’re one of the ten. They’re from Charlotte Russe, and I spent the most money I’ve ever spent on a pair of jeans on them: $30. I really wanted to find some fair trade jeans, but I thought since part of the point of this series is to stop buying so much, I should use what I already have. Baby steps, people!

But, if you happen to work for someplace that makes ethical jeans, and you’d like to send me some, hit me up! 🙂

8. Black Knit Capris

I thought about going to bed pant-less every night. However, I don’t think the women at the ladies’ retreat I’m going to this weekend would appreciate it, and those days when I’m lounging around eating breakfast when the maintenance men knock on the door would be 500 times more awkward. So these are here for casual days at home, sleeping, exercising, and when my jeans are in the laundry.

9. TOMs Shoes

The all-mighty Toms! I bought these at Ron Jon’s Surf Shop at Coco Beach in Florida a few weeks ago. At the time, I’d been wearing mostly sandals, and after a day at Epcot, my feet were KILLING me. I bought these shoes and breathed a gigantic sigh of relief. They provided just enough support and cushioning for my feet. 
While I usually don’t spend $44 on shoes, Toms gives a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. So I think of it like they’re only $22.

10. Francesca’s Collections Dress

I wore this dress for my college graduation, and it’s one of my favorites. It’s made in the USA, and while that doesn’t necessarily mean it wasn’t made in a sweatshop, it is less likely, especially because it wasn’t cheap. Although I have a thrift store make-over dress, I picked this one because it is so versatile. You can wear it dressy or casual, with scarves, belts, or sweaters.

Speaking of which, a sweater is not one of my ten things. Hm.

10. ?

Yep. Question mark is right. After planning, emailing, asking on Facebook, and thinking some more, I cannot decide on the tenth item. 
For awhile I planned to have a pair of shorts. After asking on Facebook how often people washed their jeans, most said after 3-4 wears, or once a week. So, I think it’s doable to just have the jeans and knit capris. Jen Hatmaker did a similar month long experience, but with only seven things, and she only had one pair of jeans and a pair of gray knit drawstring shorts. If Jen could do it, I can too, right? 
Plus, I think I need another shirt more than I need another pair of bottoms. But what shirt? 
A long sleeved tee from Old Navy: 
Or, a Good&Fair Clothing tee. 
Short sleeved or long sleeved? Fair trade or Old Navy? In my closet now, or order online and wait for it? These are the questions I’ve been wrestling with for weeks now. Let’s decide it once for all today!
Keep in mind, I live in Phoenix. It’s 100 degrees outside today. However, the month is expected to end in the low 80’s, with lows at night at 52. This weekend I’m going up to the mountains for a women’s retreat, where the high is 82 and the low is 49. Also keep in mind that I’m usually cold when everyone else is comfortable. Also remember that I already have that surprisingly warm tunic and a thick scarf (#6). 
Cast your vote! 
Although they don’t count as clothing items, I did receive a couple of special accessories that I can’t wait to share with you! I’ll show you those next week.

Now I want to know, if you had to pick ten items from your closet to wear for a month, what would you pick?

10 Items, One Month: New Series!

I don’t care much about clothes. I’m not a super girly girl. I prize comfort over style. I’m fine with a simple uniform of a nice fitted tee layered over a coordinating tank top, boot cut jeans, and cute flats.

At least, that’s what I always thought. Then, I actually decided to count my clothes.

I almost had a conniption.* For someone who claims not to care much about clothes, my closet tells quite another story. In fact, it loudly screams “LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE!”


That’s AFTER taking two garbage bag loads to Goodwill. And that number doesn’t even include my underwear and sock drawer, which is crammed to bursting.

Who really needs 354 choices of attire? Seriously?

Here’s what really makes me sick: if I spent $10 per item, that comes to $3,540. But realistically, it’s more likely that the average is $20 per item, which comes to $7,080.

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
-Matthew 6:21

 So I’ve been saying, “I can’t help those people because I don’t have a lot of money,” while investing $7,080 in my closet. Something is wrong with this picture. So I’m wearing only ten items this month because:

  • I’ve got to change. Not just for simplicity’s sake. Not just for my peace of mind or to relieve my conscience. Not just because we’re moving to a smaller place. Because I’m called to something higher, a better way of living that values people more than things.
  • Deprived of the crutch of finding my identity through what I own, I want to learn to lean on my Savior for the things I look for from clothes: happiness, acceptance, and confidence.

But that’s only half the story of why I’m wearing ten clothing items this month.

After hearing two sermons back to back on James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows…”. I think of orphans and widows as being those who are most vulnerable in our society. I used to assume I was neutral towards them,  but then I asked myself the hard question: Am I participating in the exploitation of children when I shop at stores that oppress them by using child labor and forced labor? 

Because Biblically, that’s a big deal. 

I was pretty much terrified to look into it, afraid of what I might
find, afraid of having to change, and really, afraid of the inconvenience the
truth might create. Buying indiscriminately was so easy. However, laziness and complacency don’t mesh well with true
religion, and in the end, my desire to love like Jesus is winning out.
I’m so glad that I’ve taken the time to educate myself about
the issues, because what I’ve found is that it’s not nearly as hard as I
thought to make a difference.

This month, I’m doing a different sort of fashion series. I’m blogging 31 Days of Fashion for Freedom. The goal is to
raise awareness for human trafficking and encourage others to change the way
they shop by providing information, resources, and practical ways to make a
difference, followed by a charity auction of my clothes AND giveaways from several ethical clothing companies. 

Notice the stress on “practical.” Because you know what the research I’ve done on ethical fashion has shown me? It’s not that hard to make a difference.

Are you excited yet?! I’m bursting at the seams to begin! But first, I need to make you a promise.

I promise this is not going to be a big guilt trip. Although guilt can be a powerful weapon, its results aren’t long term. Plus, there’s no point in guilt tripping you, when I’m every bit as much of a mess (or more so!) than you are.

I can’t promise that this is always going to be easy. I can promise that it will be worth it.

“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.” ― Mother Teresa

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ -Jesus 

Will you join me for 31 Days of Fashion for Freedom? 

*This word does not mean what I thought it meant. Its not “heart attack,” but apparently, a fit of emotion?! Who knew?

Week 1: Be Informed
1. 10 Items, One Month: New Series! 

Week 2: Take Action

3. The Fair Trade Difference

Week 3: Where to Shop

Looking Ahead to October

Whew! I’m trying to catch my breath after our trip to Florida for my SIL’s wedding, followed by a day at Epcot and a day at the beach, then home to pack like crazy so that we can move TOMORROW.

One of many pictures from Epcot

On top of that, some great things are coming soon on the blog in October! Like I mentioned, this October I’m doing another fashion series, but this time with a twist. I’m going to wear only ten items of clothes for the whole month, 31 days. The purpose is twofold:

  1. To fast from my materialistic tendencies and get to the root of why I buy, and change my focus from outward to inward, confidence and satisfaction from God and not stuff. 
  2. To raise awareness for human trafficking and ethical fashion, focusing on simple changes anyone can make to fight slavery, today.

I’ll be introducing you to several wonderful companies that are actively changing the world through the clothes they sell, AND there will be giveaways! Woot!

I’ll tell you lots more about it later, but I’m very excited about the way God’s directed this series so far and is bringing it together. I think great things will happen!

Consumerism, It’s Time to Break Up

It started with a tension, a feeling that God was going to do something, soon. Then I read the book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker, which tore me up. Then two weeks in a row I heard sermons on James 1:27, which I talked about some in my post, the inconvenience of true religion. Then last night at youth group, what was the lesson about?

Money. The love of money, in fact. Talk about a gut check. We read and discussed these convicting passages:

Matthew 6:19-21
Luke 6:20
Acts 5:1-6
James 1:9-11

Matthew 6:19-21 really stood out to me:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Maybe you’re like me, thinking “I don’t love money that much.” Well, our lesson had a handy little quiz that shattered that illusion pretty fast.

  • If you had to give up all your stuff today, could you do it? 
  • If you lost or gave up all your stuff, how would it make you feel? 
And then the real kickers. On a scale from 1-6,
  • If you lost a twenty dollar bill, how upset would you be? 
  • When something newer and better comes out, how much do you want it?
  • How much do you feel success is determined by money?
  • How much do you depend on money?
  • How much do you like or enjoy having money?
My honest answers were not pretty. I couldn’t give up everything I had…I’d really want to keep my make up at least.  How much do I depend on money? I’d give it a 5. Let’s flip that question around, how much do I depend on God’s provision for me, verses depending on money? Probably a 2, if the amount I stress out over money is any evidence. How much do I like or enjoy having money? I enjoy seeing the numbers for my bank account go up. Shopping and buying stuff makes me happy, even if it is brief. So I honestly derive quite a bit of enjoyment from money, and that’s just sad. There are lasting, worthwhile, beneficial, and just plain better things to find joy in. 
This morning, I watched this video as the Bloom Book Club discussed chapter 3 of Seven. I thought it was crazy when Jen and her family were going to give away 7 things a day for a month for a total of 210 things, it sounded like a lot. But they ended up giving away more than one thousand, and not even missing them. 

Where you treasure is, there your heart will be also. 

Something’s gotta change. I’ve got to change. Not just for simplicity’s sake. Not just for my peace of mind or to relieve my conscience. Not just because we’re moving to a smaller place.

We had a great discussion at youth group, and it’s interesting how much the teens, even as young as twelve, honestly admitted to loving money, even though most of them don’t have jobs or a steady income. I don’t want to see them getting sucked into the “I want it” and “I deserve it” consumerism mentality. If I’m going to be a good example to them, I’ve got to change.

I’ve got to break up with my stuff.

And I’ve got an idea. What if I fasted? For one month. Deprived myself to drive me to my only true satisfaction in life, my loving heavenly Father. Weaned away from false promises of joy, how would my life change? How would I change?

So I want to fast, not from food, or even from TV, like I have in the past. A clothing fast, in which I’ll wear ten items of clothing, and only ten, for one month. (Underwear doesn’t count though. There must be unlimited underwear!).

So that means something like three bottoms, four tops, a dress, a jacket, and a pair of shoes. No accessories. No scarves (gasp!). And no shopping.

And what will I gain? I hope that I’d gain insight into why I buy as many clothes as I do. What do I hope to get from them? Confidence? Happiness? Self-esteem? All of the above.

Deprived of the shopping crutch, I want to learn to lean on my Savior. 

I haven’t worked through the specifics yet, like what exactly I’ll wear, but I think October will be the perfect month for it. It will also be a great segway into sharing what I’ve learned about fair trade and ethically made clothing. 

I challenge you to ask yourself the quiz questions above. If the Holy Spirit convicts you in an area, I pray that you won’t try to drown out His voice. 

The Inconvenience of True Religion

Ever have a nagging thought that lurks in the corners of your mind, and Just. Won’t. Go. Away?

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)

It’s a familiar passage, and one of my favorites. When Pastor Roger preached on it last Sunday, the following conversation happened.

Pastor Roger: (paraphrased) Orphans and widows represent those who are most vulnerable and needy in our society. It’s evident that they are very important to God. Proverbs lists dire consequences for those who oppress the orphans.

Me: (in my head) Well, at least I don’t oppress them. Maybe I don’t help them too much either, but I’m just neutral.”

Nagging Thought: Who makes your clothes?

Me: Who, me? What clothes? Huh?

Nagging Thought: Who makes them?!

Me: I haven’t ever really thought about it much.

Nagging Thought: But you’ve heard things…you’ve heard of child slavery, sweatshops, and forced labor, and you’ve also heard that that’s the reason companies can afford to make clothes so cheap.

Me: Ok…Yes. I have heard rumors of such things. But what does this have to do with me?

Nagging Thought: You love cute cheap clothes. Are your cheap clothes made on the backs of those most vulnerable in society today?

Me: I don’t think I want to know.

Nagging Thought: Are you participating in the exploitation of women and children by mindlessly buying cute cheap clothes?

Me: Everyone else buys cheap clothes! Besides, I don’t have a ton of clothes. And it’s important to be frugal. And how could I even know if my clothes were made by slaves? I’m done talking about this.

Nagging Thought: Ok, but I’m not going to go away.

And it didn’t.

According to this article, clothes not made in the US, Canada, or European countries have a strong chance of being made through slave labor. And this informative page says “Serious concerns are often raised about exploitative working conditions in the factories that make cheap clothes for the high street. Child workers, alongside exploited adults, can be subjected to violence and abuse such as forced overtime, as well as cramped and unhygienic surroundings, bad food, and very poor pay. The low cost of clothes on the high street means that less and less money goes to the people who actually make them.”

 Behind the Barcode from Free2Work on Vimeo.

Am I participating in the exploitation of children when I shop at stores that oppress them? Because Biblically, that’s a big deal. 

I think we will be held accountable for what we do with what we know. And honestly, that makes me scared to research the issue, because I like me some cheap clothes! And more than anything, I don’t like to be inconvenienced. I don’t think any of us do. So it’s easier not knowing. But laziness and complacency don’t really sound like true religion, do they?

And there’s also the nagging doubt that what I do doesn’t make any bit of difference, since I’m only one person. But I read this quote the other day that sums it up well,

“If God is really at the center of things and God’s good future is the most certain reality, then the truly realistic course of action is to buck the dominant consequentialist ethic of our age- which says that we should act only if our action will most likely bring about good consequences- and simply, because we are people who embody the virtue of hope, do the right thing…Our vocation is not contingent on results or the state of the planet. Our calling simply depends on our identity as God’s response-able human image-bearers.”

I need to do more research, but if the answer is what I think it is, it could mean the way I shop will be forever changed.

Have you ever been afraid of knowing too much, and being faced with a choice? Because that’s where I’m at, folks.