The Mindful Shopping List
Here is a list of brands for the Mindful Consumer. The goal is to avoid supporting sweatshops and companies cited for human rights violations, to support our local economy, to decrease resources used in transportation, and to perhaps get clothing made to higher standards.
This list is intended to be expanded and updated. To add to it, just email me at megwolfewrites (at) gmail (dot) com. Reviews and info like pricing are also welcome, plus the URL or the stores where the brand can be purchased.
Hot right now: Everlane. An online-only apparel and accessories store for men and women, operated under a three-point philosophy: Know your factories, Know your costs, and Always ask why. I haven’t acquired anything from here myself, but know several people who are impressed by the quality for the price point.
Great socks for a good cause: Bombas. For every pair you buy, they donate a pair to homeless shelters. Very comfortable socks with arch supports. Bought some for the guys in my family and they raved about them.
Here’s a list of brands to check out:
The above brands share a similar price range and a young sensibility for women of all ages, shapes and sizes. There are pieces in basic colors and styles, and ones in unique prints and shapes that are definitely not minimalist! This kind of clothing is carried by smaller upmarket boutiques, and many are willing to work with the smaller orders needed by these shops. The prices are in the $45-$200 range.
Some more brands I found online but have not seen in person:
Some more brands recommended by others:
Here’s a cool site called Gondwana & Divine which has loads of great brands.
The Gardener’s Cottage blog post “Made in China“ has a nice bunch of links to responsible clothing brands.
A general link to American-made items: Americans Working
USA-made post-mastecomy company: Softee USA
An intriguing blog about a woman making her own cloth by dyeing, weaving, etc., within a set radius from her home: The Fibershed Project
Some on this last list led me to a couple of sites which have listings of sweatshop-free and fair trade companies, along with tons of other information useful to anyone into more mindful living and consumption. I’ve learned a lot just from a couple brief visits to them, and have them bookmarked for further perusal:
Remember, a label saying “made in the USA” does not guarantee sweatshop-free conditions. Only a “union-made” label ensures fair working conditions, or a label such as “UNITE” which covers both unions and fair-trade practices.
How about a Minimalist Mattress? Tuft and Needle is a new American company that makes elegant and affordable all-cotton Japanese-style Shikibeds, and take pride in their unique customer service, too. What’s more, they are partnered with non-profit groups to provide beds to underprivileged American foster children, so you can sleep well in both body and soul.
Great-looking and sturdy luggage made in the USA: Red Oxx is made in Billings, Montana, and began when a retired military officer started making workout accessory straps from decommissioned surplus webbing. From there his company moved into luggage with an unbelievably generous warranty.
Please send in your recommended brands and/or helpful sites. The more, the better.