Project Green – Buying Fairly Without Going Broke

Tips to buy fair clothing without going broke | Hanna's Places

You already know that I care a lot about how the way I live impacts the world around me. Over the course of the last year, I have started thinking and reading a lot about the clothing industry: The way the clothes I wear are produced and the people that have to work for it, what I can do to fight against exploitation of the workers.

The sad truth is: Nothing you can buy on the high street (not even expensive garments) is produced in a fair way. Not even the special Fair Clothing Lines most big chains have produced lately. There’s always someone in the production chain who gets taken advantage of. And the truly fair companies have something in common as well: They are expensive. At least way too expensive for a student like me. There’s still some little things we can do and today I want to share my ideas with you all!

Click through to read my tips on how to buy fairly without breaking the bank

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1 | Host a clothing swap party with all your friends (and their friends). Everybody can bring some garments that s/he doesn’t wear anymore and a yummy snack. You will definitely find some great new pieces, have tons of fun trying everything on and even clean out your closet a little bit. I did it once with some of my friends and it was so much fun!

2 | There are also some great online shops, where people sell their old pieces. It’s mostly stuff that nobody would wear anymore, but you can find some true gems as well (the best idea is to search for certain brands and if you have found something nice, look if there’s more to be found in this seller’s shop). My favourite is Kleiderkreisel, a German site, but I bet there are international sites as well (maybe Asos Marketplace?).
3 | Define your style. Write down what essential pieces you truly need in your wardrobe. Pieces you can wear for ages, that will never get old. On my list there are a white and a light blue silk blouse, cashmere sweaters in grey and black and some basic t-shirts. If you  have defined what you will need, you can hunt down these pieces in fair, smaller companies and splurge a little bit. I highly recommend Everlane – although I personally haven’t gotten any pieces there  (since they don’t ship to Europe – yet), everybody is over the moon with their quality. Another great fair trade company is People Tree.
4 | Support smaller companies. If you go looking on Etsy or Dawanda you will find some truly unique shops by smaller designers, who create their pieces themselves (instead of exploiting people in Bangladesh or India). And you will get a beautiful, handmade piece that you can keep for years and years.

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These are my ‘strategies’ to shop fairly at the moment. Do you have any good tips as well? I would love to hear!

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Graphic by the talented Danielle Marshall for Hanna’s Places.

11 Comments

  • Danielle
    February 6, 2014
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    These are great tips, Hanna! I need to go through my closet and purge – really get down to the basics. I am hoping to purchase a few things from Everlane in the future. Like you, I have heard nothing but rave reviews. I’ll definitely be putting all this tips into practice! Happy Thursday :)

    • Hanna
      February 7, 2014
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      So glad I could help and DO tell me what you think of Everlane!

      Thanks again for the awesome graphic :)

  • Miranti
    February 7, 2014
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    Hanna you are just gorgeous and I love that you’ve written about this topic. I often think about how I can make my purchases more intentional, support smaller businesses and feel good knowing that all is fair in the process of making whatever it is I buy. I often don’t know where to start though, so I’m really glad that you’ve opened up a dialogue about this. I would love to know of any other fair companies you come across :)

    • Hanna
      February 7, 2014
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      Thanks so much for your kind words! I will definitely try and share :)

  • Erika Lee Sears
    February 7, 2014
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    Great tips! I think the best time someone told me is they look at the piece of clothing can yourself does this fit into my current wardrobe.

  • Sarah
    February 10, 2014
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    I love absolutely love this. I’m a huge advocate of green living and always being environmentally conscious of our actions and how they affect the earth. These are all great tips. I’ve recently been cleaning out my closet in an effort to only keep pieces I actually wear. I donate them, most certainly. Good to know of these companies though. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hanna
      February 10, 2014
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      So good to hear that you are simplifying as well. There are so many people trying to reduce their wardrobe at the moment and it’s such a great thing I think!

  • Minnie
    February 15, 2014
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    These are really good tips! I haven’t heard of Everlane before, so thanks for pointing out a fair trade online store!

    • Hanna
      February 15, 2014
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      I’m happy I could help. I don’t know how often I’ve been swooning about their products and wishing I could buy some ;)

  • Tana
    February 15, 2014
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    You bring up a very good point, Hanna. Most of the time, the clothes that were created fairly are also the most expensive. It’s a constant battle but I do like your options that you’ve listed here. Especially # 3 & 4– I only hope this helps shopping easier and less difficult over time. :) Shopping local (though sometimes it seems impossible & expensive) usually help as well!

    • Hanna
      February 15, 2014
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      A constant battle describes it very good – especially if there are beautiful & cheap clothes you would love to get, although you just know that they haven’t been created in a fair way…
      We can only try our best!


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