Today I want to talk to you about something that I am crazy passionate about and if you are a Christ follower, you no doubt should be as well.

This is a topic I did not know squat about until Fall of 2018 when I finally abandoned my laziness and looked into it. What I found was worse and better than what I thought, all at once.

The issue being fought was worse, the people and organizations fighting it? Better.

From October to now I have virtually met some of the most incredible people with an incredible mission.

Now before I introduce you to all of that I want to lay down two things.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, that good news, is not exclusively social justice. The reason being, because someone can never experience social justice and can still experience the gospel. Let me explain babe. If a human who is being exploited in some manner dies without ever tasting external freedom, the good news of Jesus did not fail them, this world full of broken people did. So, we need to make sure we never replace the good news of Jesus Christ who died on the cross, releasing us from sin and death and reconciling us to God the Father, with social justice.

But here is where the two connect:

Social justice flows out of the gospel. It is a product of it. If we are followers of Jesus Christ, His TRUE disciples and students, we WILL be moved with compassion for those suffering. If we share one spirit with Jesus, we will love what He loves and hate what He hates. He loves human beings, He loves justice, mercy, and grace. He loves compassion, unity, reconciliation and forgiveness. So, we will also. If you are a baby Christian, just a few weeks or months into this new way, it may take awhile for you to shake off your old tendencies. But you have a new heart regardless and He is making all things new, including you, perfecting you in love.

In my first blog to you I said that our faith must encompass our entire lives, our entire beings, our very substance. I stated that my faith is not separate from my life. And expressed to you that when we try to tear the two apart, we rip in half along with them. When we do not extend our beliefs out into every aspect of our lives including how we treat our bodies, what we put on and in them, we are living a compartmentalized life. I said to you, nothing good comes from Christians only being Christians in the pews. Lady, we have to be Christians in every corner of our life and the world. And as I signed off of that first blog to you, I said: as I write these blogs to you my lovely Lady, we will talk about every aspect of life through the lens of faith because every aspect of our lives must be intertwined with our faith, the two cannot be separate.

And that is just what we are going to do.

Okay, we are going to launch into this discussion. Lady, this is real real, and most likely not something you want to chat about at all. But God has placed it on my heart to share with you and call you to action, so here I am, doing so.

When you hear the word “ethical” what comes to mind?

Ethical was a word I had heard involving the clothing industry, more and more so over the past couple years. I had a vague idea that clothing wasn’t always made with the upmost respect to those making it, but no more than that. I enjoyed shopping at places where I could spend the least and get the most, especially the most up to date styles.

In October, I was online shopping for a cute outfit for Thanksgiving. I was on Forever 21 when I found the cutest combo, a corduroy skirt, pumpkin color body suit with a mock turtle neck and an oversized sweater all for like 30 dollars!

That’s 10 dollars per piece of clothing.

After adding these cute items to my cart, I wasn’t ready to commit (such a millennial, right?) so I shut my laptop and left it for a couple days. I kept going back and looking at my items. Something was keeping me from buying them. They were cute and cost conscious. What the world was it?

A week or so went by and I was lounging on my couch on a lazy Saturday. I was on insta and I don’t know if I saw something about ethical clothing or what but I finally went and searched “Forever 21, ethical?” and what I found was article after article about Fast Fashion. The negative effects of throw away styles and fabrics. I couldn’t stop reading. Suddenly I was searching all the brands I could think of. Every article, study, blog, was coming up the same- Fast Fashion enslaving people, forcing people to work for nothing in buildings that were unstable and prone to disaster. Fast Fashions, I later discovered after more research are fashions that are just “in style” for a season and then meant to be thrown away.

I removed the items from my cart. I unsubscribed from all of the emails I was receiving from clothing companies and I went on a mad hunt to find ethically sourced, AFFORDABLE clothing. What I found were people who had discovered the same thing and were as enraged. People working towards setting people free from oppression, slave labor, harmful work environments. People with brands that empowered women, paid for children to go to school and upcycled materials to make their goods.

Since, I have bought a very select few items of clothing, and guess what? I’m no less happy.

We can get so attached to things and “consuming” that we don’t realize these things are not increasing our happiness and that increased mindfulness will actually be the thing that brings more peace and joy with it.

When was the last time that you bought an article of clothing and felt it fill a void inside of you that stayed full forever and you never felt the need to consume anything else?

Some of you will jokingly raise your hands and laugh about yesterdays shopping trip but when it comes down to it, in a couple days, maybe even a couple hours that thing will not be as exciting and we will move on to the next thing eventually disposing of the last, possibly without a second thought.

Babe, it shouldn’t be this way, and it doesn’t have to. Primarily because Jesus refers to Himself as the living water, once we have Him, we won’t thirst anymore, there won’t be a void to fill. (The Gospel of John, Chapter 4).

Secondarily because babe, your buying habits and mine, they matter. This issue is real life and we cannot sidestep it any longer. Ignorance might be bliss for us and all the rest of America but for those in Bangladesh making the shirt you bought for 5 dollars they are receiving sometimes a couple cents a day in a factory that threatens collapse every day. Your ignorance is their blood going into your clothing.

If you are a fellow Christ follower like myself, you will desire to reach out a hand and help up your neighbor.

I cannot NOT care about this issue. I cannot turn my head and continue supporting companies that enforce these inhumane practices.

But also, my Lady, I am not blaming you. Most of us just did not know. Many more of us don’t think we can afford sustainable clothing brands but I am here to help you do this.

So, what can we do and how can we do it?

First, GET EDUCATED. Ignorance is not an excuse we can use any more. We are in the information age. It is all at our finger tips. Go watch “The True Cost” movie on Netflix. It will quickly engage you, pulling you in and giving you a window into what all is going on behind the scenes. I highly, highly recommend blocking out an hour and a half to go do this Lady. It will change your life for the better, and so many other lives. You can also download the app “Good On You” and search most brands. The app will tell you that brands ethical and sustainable rating in areas of labor and environmental/animal impact.

Then, EDUCATE. Tell others! Inform. Let people know that their buying habits MATTER to other human’s well-being.

After that, support these brands that are working hard to help people. Even if you can’t afford their goods, follow them on social media, share their posts and mission statements, buy your Christmas gifts from them, buy a piece from them once every couple of months (pieces that will last you YEARS. #sustainable).   

One brand that I love that is affordable and sustainable is called PACT. They also have incredible customer service and a lot of programs that help people and our earth.

Another one is People Tree, again not too pricey and they work hard to make sure their supply chain is fair trade.

A third is No Nasties, good prices and they are fair trade certified as well.

One more is Patagonia. (YES, Patagonia is all about that ethical lyfe!)

Another thing we can do is buy clothing second hand. I love thrift shopping; I have found some of my favorite pieces in Salvation Army’s. Pieces I have gotten years of wear and tear out of.

Listen love, you don’t have to do all of these steps perfectly, or even all these steps! Just do one or two and you will be making a difference. If everyone just did one or two of these, change would avalanche.

Thank you for hanging in there with me through this conversation Lady, I know it’s not fun to focus our attention on negative news but there are so many ways we can focus on much more positive things with just a little work.

I will see you in the fashion revolution my friend.

For Love,

Lydia

Resources:

Good on You App: https://goodonyou.eco/

Follow the Hashtages: #Whomademyclothes #Fashionrevolution #Fairfashion

Some IG Accounts that will inspire you to live and buy more consciously are:

fash_rev
blythehill {Creator/founder of Dressember)
dressember
enditmovement
theminimalistwardrobe
thegarmentlife
truecostmovie
goodonyou_app
candicemtay

Some IG accounts you can shop ethically at:

highlandthrift
nonasties
kotn
thriftology_co
threading.water
shopwearwell
peopletreeuk

See you in IG world Lady:
Find me @ lydjajane_