Ethical Fashion for the Budget-Minded Mama

So we live on a budget. A tight budget. The HARDEST part of transitioning to an ethical wardrobe has been wanting ALL THE THINGS when I find a brand I love.

One part of being a conscious consumer is researching how it is made and who it is made by. The second half is remembering to buy better NOT MORE. It’s changing the mindset that every season I need to throw out and buy more and more and more. This is simply not true! For me, it’s remembering it more for the kiddos rather than myself. Especially the girl child. I was strict on how much I bought for her this year and honestly it’s been hard. But that’s another blog post…(and just so you know, middle boy wears a uniform to school, and youngest has a lot of hand-me-downs, so I do still buy for them, ha, it’s just not as hard!).

Now if you just can’t help yourself and love to wear the latest trends each season, I would take the time (if you aren’t already) to thoughtfully consider what you’re doing with all the clothes you will no longer be wearing. Are you throwing them out, donating them, selling them? Where do they actually go if you donate? Are they being shipped overseas to a country overrun by free clothing? Ask me more about this situation if you want to know why free can be devastating to third world economies. You shouldn’t feel shame for loving to shop and being a fashionista. Our closets are not all going to be minimalist! But we can all buy more responsibly and take care of what we no longer need/want responsibly.

I am ONLY ONE YEAR into this ethical fashion journey as a budget-minded mama who also wanted to change the way I shop. So remember that. But here are my favorite brands I discovered this year:

  1. PACT ORGANIC. “We’re committed to organic cotton to minimize our impact on the environment and improve the conditions and quality of life for the people who make our clothing.” For all your basics, men and women! Pact is very generous on their first order discount, then you get rewards for sharing.
  2. Krochet Kids. “Empowerment is the reason why we exist. Our products, our partners, and our community work in unison to help people break the cycle of poverty, forever.” I love KK’s style! This is where I would really go crazy if I could. They are going to be pricier for big orders, but every garment is signed, making them extra special. They also have men and women’s fashions, plus a few things for kiddos too. Some of their pieces are made in Uganda! (Employs women in Gulu, Uganda & Lima, Peru)
  3. Sudara. Lounge/pajama pants + tees and other goods made in India. These are beautiful and so fun! “Sudara is a benefit corporation that exists to advocate on behalf of and empower women who have escaped from, or at the highest risk of, human trafficking by providing dignified employment opportunities.” They also have items for men and children, including t-shirts and goods!
  4. Sseko Designs. “Sseko Designs uses fashion to create opportunity for women globally. We provide employment and scholarship opportunities to women in Uganda who are working to pursue their dreams and overcome poverty.” Sandals, bags, scarves, jewelry, and now APPAREL. Signed products AND you can learn about each woman on our website! You can also become a part of the mission by becoming a Fellow, visit our workshop if you find yourself in Uganda, and through purchasing through a Sseko Fellow, your purchase goes even further!

Other brands I haven’t personally bought from yet but have heard great things: Accompany, Nisolo, People Tree, Fair Indigo, Amourvert, NoNasties, & Conscious Clothing

Basically, if you’re like me, most of these brands will be out of your normal price range for what you spend on clothing. It’s not supposed to be easy. And so many of the GOOD things in life aren’t. They take sacrifice. So maybe you buy better rather than more. Maybe you’re strict and save until you can afford an extra special item. Maybe you host a Sseko Party and get gift card credit 😉 Maybe you choose to buy secondhand as you make the transition. There are a few different ways to begin this journey. Ask questions! I’m an open book on the changes we’ve made and where I hope to be eventually!


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