How Buying Ethical Fashion Can Improve Your LifeWritten by Tigre Haller
Over the last few years you have probably heard the words “sustainable fashion,” “responsibly made,” or “ethical fashion” being promoted by many fashion brands.
You might have also wondered what the terms actually mean, and if they are just buzz-words created by the fashion industry to appear in tune and relevant to the concerns of the day.
To some extent they are synonymous. Meaning they each are based on the idea of creating and buying long lasting items made from natural, replenishable materials which are constructed with sound environmental practices and by workers who are fairly compensated and treated with dignity.
Even though some brands have only recently jumped on this train, and their true commitment to such practices has yet to be proven, many others, such as Beckett Simonon, have a track record of “walking the walk,” not just “talking the talk.”
What Ethical Fashion Can Do For You
There are a host of benefits you can enjoy when you buy responsibly made, ethical fashion. Not the least of which is knowing that you are helping to mitigate the waste caused by the fashion industry.
Following are just some of the ways that your life will improve, and consequently, you can help improve the lives of others:
Brands which practice ethical or responsible manufacturing literally put everything they have on the line to honor their commitment. They typically invest a lot of time, monetary and human capital into researching and partnering with like minded suppliers, testing materials, creating samples, and positioning themselves in a highly competitive market.
Supporting such brands with your hard earned money and by telling others about them goes a long way to helping them continue with this noble mission.Buy better quality products
One of the basic tenets of ethical manufacturing is to create items that will stand the test of time and can be easily maintained and repaired. It kind of defeats the purpose if they’re using inferior materials that will fall apart after a short period. Therefore, when you buy such products you will know that you are buying items made to last for years, not season as opposed to fast fashion which is disposable by design.Lead by example
Even if you’re not the “go-to” person in your circle of friends, family and colleagues when it comes to fashion or lifestyle issues, you can become a leader by promoting ethically made goods. The simple act of wearing something that has been created in this way sends a strong message that you are taking a stance against fast fashion and the massive production chain. You can talk to others about the dangers of this system and explain how each of us can do our part to effect change.Active buying rather than passive buying
How often have you bought something on impulse, or because you felt pressured into it? Or you needed to get a new pair of shoes or a suit and you’ve just run in and out of the store as quickly as possible to get it over with? We’ve all been there. That’s called passive buying. Like other passive experiences, we just let the activity take over and power through it without really considering the dynamic or the consequences of our inaction.
Active buying, on the other hand, puts you in control. This is when, as a conscientious consumer, you make a deliberate decision about what you’re going to acquire, like a pair of sneakers, and you go about it with intention. You consider your options, you research the company, you read or watch reviews, you make an informed choice based on facts, not impulse.
Before you checkout you know it’s actually something you want and need. Something which will last a long time, not fall apart after a short period of use, and that your purchase will actually make a difference in the lives of the people who made the product.
This will differentiate you from the crowd, and signal that you’re literally taking an active role in what you put on your body, as opposed to just blindly buying statement items, the latest passing trend, generic looks or shoddily made products.Do good while looking good
We all like to feel good about the choices we make, right? One of the ways we can demonstrate we are responsible, caring and aware citizens of the world is by making smart fashion choices.
Not only will you be showing that you take responsibility for what you wear, you’ll also always look on point. So the next time someone compliments you on your Beckett Simonon shoes, or asks about the suede boots you have on, you’ll be able to thank them by telling them a story about how they were made with sustainable materials under ethical conditions.
Ethically made clothes are generally crafted by skilled artisans who employ traditional methods and techniques. As is the case in our workshops, the art of shoemaking has been passed down from generation to generation, thus keeping a fragile tradition alive. Traditions like these exist only because people like you purchase such items, and support the craft by telling others about it. That’s something you can feel really good about.Create a legacy
Choosing to add ethically made products to your wardrobe not only has short-term benefits, if well looked after and cared for, they have the potential of lasting not only your lifetime, but can become legacy items. Imagine passing down a well-loved weekender bag or pair of boots to a loved one. Just like other family heirlooms these items take on a life of their own and tell many stories to be shared with generations to come.Contribute to the solution, not the problem
All of the above-mentioned reasons, and more, will help you be part of the solution - not the problem. This is one area of your life, and actually the world at large, which you can totally control by making the best decisions possible.
Responsible Sourcing and Crafting
At Beckett Simonon we are well-aware of the environmental impact making men’s shoes has locally and globally. We are also attentive to how important it is to treat the craftspeople who actually make your leather products with dignity and respect.
Since our brand started, we have taken an active role in sourcing materials from suppliers who operate with sound environmental practices, treat their employees fairly and adhere to a strict Code of Conduct. This covers everything from the leather and suede your shoes and accessories are made out of to the hardware, such as YKK zippers, eyelet grommets, speed hooks and buckles.
For example, in July 2020 we started sourcing the full-grain leather we use for our men’s dress shoes from Gruppo Mastratto, a Gold-rated leather tannery in Arzignano, Italy. We did this after months of testing and sampling. Chief among the reasons for this decision was the fact that the Leatherworking Group (LWG) awarded the tannery with this designation. Being the highest level it is only awarded to leather producers which demonstrate their commitment to responsible waste management, traceability, chemical, and environmental performance compliance - among other criteria.
The zippers you find on your boots and bags come from YKK, a leader in the field. These zippers won’t break, skip or come off the track. They’ll actually become smoother and easier to handle with each use. This is important because longevity means they don’t need to be replaced, thus keeping more waste out of the ecosystem.
“Bravo,” said Beckett Simonon customer Adam Leeds, “These measures for sustainability and workplace dignity matter to me!” He’s not alone. Eric Schultz commented, “I admire the way you are conducting your business. The world is better off for your efforts and words.”
“Between the quality of the materials and handmade construction, they’ll offer a much better lifespan than regular sneakers,” Bespoke Unit observes. “Furthermore, the ethical manufacturing process adds significant value.”
We also use natural compounds such as glues, dyes and polishes during the manufacturing process.
All of these practices come to life in our line of men’s shoes, sneakers, boots and accessories. Additionally, we encourage you to treat your fine leather goods with only the safest, natural, nourishing shoe creams and polishes.
You can find out more about how Beckett Simonon processes differ from traditional retail in this short video:
There are many other ways you can be sure that you are buying ethically made fashion and promoting brands, like ours, which are doing all they can to lessen their environmental impact.
For some quick tips, check out my article Build Your Sustainable Wardrobe.
You might think something as basic as deciding what to wear doesn’t have much of an impact, but believe me, your buying habits absolutely do.
Please let me know what ethically made fashion items you have in your wardrobe by leaving a comment below.