Day 153 / 365
As a sustainable blogger, the subject of working with numerous brands while simultaneously telling readers to buy less, comes up often. It’s a sort of ‘do what I say, not what I do’ situation, as most of us bloggers accept gifts (we can’t honestly review something we haven’t tried) as part of our payment for working.
What I try to represent in any outfit posts is repetitive use of my own capsule-esque tri-seasonal wardrobe (nothing distinguishes fall and spring for me outfit wise in Europe, it’s just ‘sort of cold’ on each side of the other two seasons) mixed in with consciously created clothing, produced both ethically and sustainably.
As much as my blog is a representation of the lifestyle I’m trying to embody, it is also a publication which supports the sustainable community, and part of that support involves giving props to brands who I feel are being the change I want to see in the world.
One of these brands is Liz Alig, which was started by a woman named Elizabeth whose journey into sustainability and ethics was similar to my own. While travelling through countries economically different from her own, which brought up questions with uncomfortable answers. She, like me, had a background in fashion and upon understanding its production, began looking for solutions to the unethical and unsustainable problems which bubbled beneath the surface, shielded from the shopper’s sight.
As a conscious creator, Elizabeth started with a small collection to ensure she could work out the kinks in the industry. She wanted to produce her collection humanly by offer people meaningful jobs, and waited to commence her production until she found factories to partner with which paid fair wages, gave back to their communities, and treated their workers with dignity and respect.
Though ethical treatment was the foundation of her creations, she also felt a strong pull to take clothing back to its roots – to a time of less consumption and more meaning – when garments took months to make because the fibres were grown organically, the fabric handwoven, hand dyed and hand printed, and the garments designed and sewn with love. Elizabeth wanted to be able to track the garment from the seed of the plant to the shop room floor and be certain that nothing was met with unkindness, toward the planet or her inhabitants, along the production path.
|SPRING / FALL|
Part of slowing down the production process to something more meaningful, meant supporting and embracing ancient artisan skills native to each area which have been swiftly dying worldwide due to the bastardization of artisan art which fast fashion processes have encouraged and embraced. In each of the fair trade factories which this brand supports and is supported by, local artisan skills are considered in the design, production, and creation. In Ghana, they use recycled sheets and hand batik prints onto them. In El Guatemala and Bolivia, they recycle ikat and embroidered textiles, giving them new life. In India, they hand weave cotton that is then hand block printed from a stencil made from hand carved wood which is stamped onto the fabric hundreds of times. In Cambodia, they hand weave silk and hand dye it using eco-friendly dyes. In Bolivia and Peru, they use organic and pima cotton that is grown on their own land. In Nepal and Bolivia, they spin wool, alpaca, banana fiber, and silk to create their fabrics. In Bangladesh, they hand weave recycled cotton fibers into rich striped textiles. In Haiti, they hand embroider unique designs onto recycled fabrics and button down shirts.
This is what thoughtful production looks like. And supporting brands like this is what conscious consumption looks like.
The dress I chose, called the KIMMY dress, is made from handwoven textiles woven from recycled cotton fibres in rural Bangladesh. The fabric created from this process is then sewn by a fair trade group in Dhaka where workers are paid fairly and treated with the respect and kindness they, and every worker everywhere, deserve. Excess funds from production are donated to help fund a local hospital and training school within the community. From the strength of its construction, this dress will likely last generations, and, at the end of its life cycle, this loved up creation made with natural fibers will beautifully biodegrade.
That my friends is a full circle story, from cradle to grave.
If you’re intrigued by this story and click through to their site, you’ll find the prices aren’t much higher than that of our mainstream brands. The difference is, the profits are being properly shared, not hoarded by the top feeders.
I encourage you to support Liz Alig and any other brand who tell a similar story, to break up with brands who lure you in with objects who cause only harm in their creation. I also ask you to check with yourself that you’re bringing something into your wardrobe because you love it, and because you love the spirit of its conscious creation. Liz Alig has so many beautiful, carefully constructed pieces, but I chose this dress because I knew I could wear it through the seasons, casually or dressed up, that it would work with what I already had and enhance my wardrobe, not fill it without rhyme or reason.
You’ll find a link to this diverse dress HERE.