Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Dear Conscious Consuming Readers

I have a sweatshop dilemma. So, I would prefer to buy and wear fairly-made clothes all the time, but I have two obstacles:

1. Reality is, I can't afford to buy it all the time.
2. As much as I would like to, I can't wear the nice but casual clothes that great companies like No Sweat and American Apparel make to work. (Nor would I want to: if you look at No Sweat's "work" category, the only clothing for women is a red, sleeveless knit dress, and if you go to American Apparel's site, well, you'll see.)

So what do I do? I do try to buy used clothes, but in the line of work that I'm going into, I will inevitably have to buy new collared shirts and such. Do I use my small, hard-earned money buying high-cost brand names, or do I go to Target where reality is, both of these stores probably use sweatshop labor? Are there other alternatives I'm not seeing?

Thanks, discuss in the comments.


Supercords said...

I have to wear nice clothes to work, and have no trouble finding them at thrift stores. I say look a little harder, and try garage sales.


Marty Wrin said...

I agree with Cindy that No Sweat is good for casual environments but not for all work situations.

I agree with Shane that there is great stuff at thrift stores and other retailers of "gently-worn" clothing.

If you go the new route, I would suggest looking at www.coolnotcruel.com since they are fair-paying and use earth-friendly materials.

As far as price...I would encourage you to remember that there is a high cost to low prices. You get the low price and somebody else pays the high costs!

Wow, this post made me think...we could use some kind of guide for our options in the Boston area when we want to consume consciously!

Cindy said...

Thanks! I'm open to all ideas, including looking harder in thrift stores.

I do agree that the reason I get a low price is because someone else is getting paid a low price, but I don't think the opposite is true all the time - that if I pay a high price, that person who made the clothes gets paid higher. As in, I don't think the person in Morocco working for Ann Taylor is getting paid more than the person in Morocco working for a company that sells at Target.

Anyways, keep the suggestions rolling. I'm taking notes. I'm also taking any donations of gently-worn work clothes - I'm a size 4!

Jessica Williams said...

I am not sure what the labor practices are behind all the labels, but I am trying to default to organic cotton or hemp when I can't find the option in sweat free sorts of lines, which I do think are primarily casual (i just went to one of their stores and realized there was about nothing that would actually work for my body frame! Well at least they hip teenagers think they are cool).

There are many business style sweaters and collard shirts for women in those lines.

FYI, a colleague at my business school is working on developing an organic cotton business suit for men and women.

kat@ohmtastic said...

i found some great upscale used clothes at a local consignment shop. i'm not sure where you're blogging from but if you're ever in the oakland/berkeley area try maribel, crossroads or buffalo exchange. also thrift stores in nice neighborhoods tend to have a glut of yuppie clothes.