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6 Easy Ways YOU Can Support Ethical Fashion

Fashion is powerful and has the ability to influence the masses. It can be used for the good of humankind and the earth. The fair trade industry, for example, has produced countless jobs for marginalized individuals across the world. These jobs have lead to sustainable societies and a better world. However, there are many cases such as the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh in April of 2013 that killed 1,133 people and injured over 2,500. This was a preventable tragedy, if the factory managers and large corporations had followed adequate safety procedures.

Fair trade fashion

My name is Katie and I am a supporter and designer of ethical fashion. After working for two years in the fair trade fashion industry, I noticed a lack of well-made and ethical clothing options that were affordable. I was frustrated; I worked for a non-profit and lived on a tight budget, but I did not want to shop at H&M for my next summer dress, so in 2013 I started Passion Lilie. Based in New Orleans, our mission is to empower artisans across the world by creating dignified employment opportunities that give fair wages and support safe and healthy working conditions.

By creating ethically made garments, I am fulfilling what I believe to be my mission in life: to change the world through fashion with Passion Lilie. Yet, the journey from concept to creation is challenging, especially when coordinating with artisans from a different country. Weather, festivals and what I call “India time” are just some of the challenges we face while meeting the hard deadlines of fashion.

The biggest thing I have learned is to adjust my timelines. On every project I allow myself double the amount of time it would take a typical clothing line. Secondly, I focus on creating positive relationships with my artisans. I found that words of encouragement and truly involving the artisans in the production process can significantly increase the quality and the efficiency of their work. Finally, I have learned to trust people and to believe in my product.

So many people around the world are enslaved or trafficked. Here are 6 ways YOU (yes, you!) can support ethical fashion.

You don’t have to be a designer or a business owner to make a change in the world. Every individual has the opportunity to make a stand against fashion that is harmful. And it is simple, I promise. Below are 6 easy ways to support ethical fashion. Even if you only do one item below, you are making a difference!

  1. Read labels: Chances are very high that if the label says, “Made in China” it was not made ethically. Before you make a purchase, read the company’s website and social media pages. Do they support fair wages, safe working conditions and environmental sustainability? If they don’t talk about their ethical practices, they probably don’t have anything to be proud of.
    If the products are made in the United States or fair trade then chances are very high that the producers are receiving a fair wage with safe working conditions.
    This handy website: Free 2 Work rates the social and environmental impact of many major brands. Be careful though some companies may have an “A” rating, but if you look closely at their scorecard, they don’t pay fair wages.
  2. Say no to Walmart: I know that it is very hard to live a life 100% dedicated to fair trade or made in the USA products, because there is not yet enough availability of these products, but there are certain stores that should be avoided, and Walmart is among the worst on my list.
  3. Buy fair trade, eco or ethical fashion: Today, there is a growing number of fashionable and affordable ethical brands. Check out this guide of social good companies.
  4. Buy locally made. Fair trade is wonderful, but it is also important to support your neighbor and your local community.
  5. Say no to fast fashion. Buy less, and invest more in well-made items. Fast fashion creates a huge amount of textile wastage, because garments are tossed out and trashed before they have lived their proper life cycle.
  6. Recycle: Shop at thrift stores, consignment stores and re-purpose old items when you can. It’s the age of DIY, so there is no excuse if you don’t think you are creative enough, just Google it!

About Passion Lilie –
In 2012, founder Katie Schmidt visited a small workshop in India and was inspired by the ancient Indian artisanal techniques of dyeing and weaving as well as the benefits of fair trade. Born out of a desire to change the fashion industry, Passion Lilie began affordable and accessible for everyone while empowering artisans across the world by creating dignified employment opportunities that give fair wages and safe and healthy working conditions.
“My mission in life is to improve the world I live in, and because of my love for design, I have chosen to do this through fashion.”
–Katie Schmidt, Passion Lilie

Crowdfunding for Maternal Health and Safe Births with Kangu

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central and Kangu. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Many of us have the luxury of great prenatal care. We give birth in nice clean hospitals and postpartum care sometimes doesn’t feel like a necessity, but rather just a reassurance because we know we’ve taken our vitamins, eaten healthy, read every baby book cover to cover and made sure to pick out the best obgyn in our city.

Mothers in other countries do not always get those luxuries. In fact, each day, 800 women and 8,000 newborns die because they lack access to basic healthcare services like a trained professional and a clean facility. They often die from easily preventable and treatable complications. That means 300,000 women per year are dying too soon- often leaving their children behind.

Because I am the mother to two children adopted from a “third-world country,” I felt a necessity to examine the issues that lead to children living in orphanages and consider my role and advocacy for family preservation. The root issue of the majority of children becoming parentless is poverty. One of the off-shoot issues of that is lack of maternal care.

In the adoption world, many of us crowd-fund to afford adoption. We gladly help those in our communities to be able to afford the high price tag of domestic or international adoption. I am a firm believer that while we should be supporting those in our adoptive communities, we also need to tackle the front end of the issue to help reduce the numbers of children living in orphanages in the first place.

Kangu - Help Fund Safe Births

Kangu is a non-profit organization with a dream for every woman to have a safe birth. Kangu is a crowdfunding platform that allows us moms, from our little corner of the world, to directly help put an end to preventable maternal and newborn deaths by contributing to life-saving health services to other moms just like us.

Anyone, anywhere can search Kangu and read the real life profiles of pregnant women in need and contribute to help her and her baby survive and thrive. These contributions allow services, provided by local medical partners, to be received by women before, during and after childbirth.

560 safe births have been funded so far. Be part of the solution. Find a mama to fund and give her access to a safe birth.

Enter below to win one of five $100 donations Influence Central will make to a Kangu mom on your behalf.

rel=”nofollow”>Kangu – One Mama at a Time

Hy-Vee’s One Step Grocery Products Donate Portion of Proceeds To Worthy Causes

Hy-vee is a local grocery store here in Iowa that I’ve gone to for many years. Not only do they operate in Iowa, but there are over 230 grocery stores located in the Midwest including Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

I’m a firm believer that your average busy mom can make small changes in their everyday life that affect the world in a positive way. We all know that the largest group of consumers are moms and if we start changing where we spend our money, it can make difference.

Hy-Vee’s One Step program is a collection of everyday grocery items that donate a portion of proceeds to worthy causes. You don’t need to spend more money or go out of your way to buy something you wouldn’t normally buy. These are everyday items: potatoes, cereal, paper towels and bottled water.

Hy-Vee One Step Grocery Products

One Step russet potatoes help fund community gardens that teach those in need the importance of nutritious food and the process of planting, tending and harvesting their own fruits and vegetables. Proceeds helped fund 240 community gardens in 2014.

One Step paper towels are made from recyclable materials and have funded the planting of 14,000 trees in a flood-damaged area in Iowa. Hy-vee will continue to work with the Arbor Day foundation to plant trees in neighborhoods and other public places.

Proceeds from One Step Shredded Wheat, which is packaged in a 100% recycled cardboard box, will go to help those struggling with food insecurities in the United States. More than $36,000 has been donated to Meals from the Heartland which amounts to 183,000 meals that have reached children and families across the Midwest.

Hy-Vee's One Step Shredded Wheat

My favorite One Step product is the lemon-flavored bottled water. These big 1 quart water bottles are 4/$5 and come in regular water, lemon, berry and cucumber. Hy-Vee partners with Rotary International to dig water wells for those who do not have safe drinking water. To date, 11 clean water projects have been completed from the proceeds of One Step water in South Africa, South Sudan, Lebanon, Tanzania, Nigeria, Haiti, Kenya and Chad.

So go support worthy causes by shopping at your local Hy-Vee

One small step to make lives easier, healthier, happier…
One garden at a time.
One meal at a time.
One tree at a time.
One well at a time.

Hy-Vee's One Step Bottled Water