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Fair-Trade Back-to-School Shopping

Abraham models his new favorite outfit: second-hand t-shirt and Beru sweatpants

Abraham models his new favorite outfit: second-hand t-shirt and Beru sweatpants

I'm really passionate about Fair Trade shopping. There are a plethora of cheap, fast fashion clothes on the market that are bad for the environment and bad for workers. Several years ago I started a blogging project Life's Not Fair Trade as I researched different products I buy and their impact. When I started that project, finding fair trade clothing was next to impossible. I found one shop in Vancouver and there was American Apparel, which had its own problems.

Thankfully, a lot has changed since then. It's now easier than ever to find Fair Trade clothing. This summer I set myself a challenge to only get second-hand or Fair Trade clothing for myself and my kids. 

How did we do? I started with the fantastic blog, Style Wise. This is a great directory which breaks down companies by what they sell. Part of sustainable fashion to me is only buying what you need rather than anything that pops into your brain, so I bought underwear and a bra from Pact. When they sent me a coupon for free socks, I bought some socks, too. I really like them! Their clothing seems to be high-quality, very comfortable, and reasonably priced. On vacation I hit up some second-hand stores for a blazer, a top, and a super adorbs British sun hat.



Shopping for the kids was tougher. I have successfully second-hand shopped for them before (pajama pants are the best 2nd hand--does anyone else's kids blow out the knees of their pjs???) but I'll be honest, sometimes you luck out and sometimes you don't. And shopping with kids is trying at the best of times, so I decided to try online Fair Trade. 

I downloaded an app, even though I hate apps, called "Good On You" which is pretty helpful in rating conventional and Fair Trade clothing brands. I could see it being very helpful if you're headed to the mall anytime soon. Unfortunately, most of the kids' Fair Trade sites I found were geared toward ridiculously cute baby clothes or little girls' clothing, neither of which I was looking for. I basically just needed boys' pants and socks.

I hit pay dirt when I spotted a blog that mentioned Beru. This is organic cotton clothing made in Los Angeles AND it's reasonably priced?!?!? What kind of witchcraft is this???? I loaded up on chinos and sweat pants (my 3yo ONLY wears sweatpants). They arrived quickly and are very comfy. PLUS they came with cool silver tattoos! I only wish they did denim.

All that being said, I did cave and get the kids some jeans and one t-shirt at Uniqlo, and I will have to buy them some probably non-Fair Trade socks pretty soon. Progress not perfection, right?

Do you have a Fair Trade tip? What kinds of things are important to you in a clothing brand? Leave a comment below!

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