I address a heartfelt appeal that the logic of profit not prevail, but rather that of solidarity and justice. At the center of every situation, especially work-related, should be the person and his or her dignity. -Pope Francis
Every single person has dignity. Every person is deserving of respect. This is a fundamental truth that we cannot ignore. Millions are fighting for this very thing every day.
Fast Fashion and the Dignity of the Human Person
Almost a year ago, my eyes were opened to the importance of upholding the dignity of the human person within the fashion industry. Last July, I came across a documentary called The True Cost. This film explains the fast fashion industry and the need for our world to embrace ethical fashion. In this documentary, I witnessed the poor fight for their lives as they support our excessive materialistic society. I was truly shaken to the very core of my beliefs about our world, our society, and our material goods.
Since that moment, promoting ethical fashion and material goods—always with the goal of upholding the dignity of the human person—is my passion.
There are many lives and stories behind each piece of clothing we wear. It’s the mother who travels many miles to work for mere pennies to support her children. It’s her child she has to send away to another village to be looked after and cared for. And it’s the village that resides near fields owned by corporations that are pumped with pesticides to ensure the “best” materials.There are many lives and stories behind each piece of clothing we wear. #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Our Brother’s Keeper
As Catholics, it is our duty to respect and help our brothers and sisters in need. Every person has dignity. Ethical fashion (clothes that are created by people experiencing fair and just employment opportunities and safe working conditions) seeks to uphold this dignity. We must put into action our values and our core beliefs. It is time to reassess our habits and our purchases.
Before discovering the reality of fast fashion and the people it affects, I would impulsively make clothing purchases. I would see a picture of a beautiful shirt or dress and immediately covet it. In a way, fashion was becoming an idol. After seeing the people who were affected from my shopping addictions, I began to change.
Practical Ways to Shop Ethically
My first choice is always to wear what I already own, borrow from a friend, or purchase second hand.
If I am considering buying a new piece of clothing, I ask myself these five questions before making a purchase:
- Do I need this article of clothing?
- Who made this piece of clothing? Was it made under ethical conditions? Did the person who made this garment receive a fair wage and were they making it in safe working conditions?
- Can I wear something that I already own instead?
- Can I purchase something similar second hand?
- Is this piece of clothing well made? Is it modest?
Ethical Shopping on a Budget
Ethically-made clothing is often an investment. This is because ethically-made clothes are typically high quality pieces, with their makers receiving fair wages and just treatment as they create these clothes.
Instead of purchasing multiple fast-fashion pieces of clothing that may fall apart in the short-term, ethically-made clothes can be worn for many years. The investment pays off, and you save money while contributing to a cleaner and safer global environment.
6 Ethically-Made, Modest Dresses
If you are in the market for a new dress this summer, here are six modest dresses that check all my boxes. Each dress listed is under $100.
People Tree // Magdalena Wrap Dress
Elegance Restored // Blush Rose Dress
Mata Traders // Varenna Maxi Dress
Humble Hilo // Hilo Dress-Blanca
Elegantees // Savannah Maxi Dress in Tandori Spice
Linenfox // Limona Dress
Which dress is your favorite?6 Modest Dresses for Summer (That are Ethically-Made) #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Claire Couche is a wife and mother. She graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville where she studied history and theology. She later received her B.S.N. and worked as an oncology nurse before becoming a stay-at-home mother. Claire enjoys cooking, traveling, creating, living life in abundance, and petite French pastries. You can find more writings from Claire and her husband, Michael, here.