We live in a world that’s always changing. It seems like there’s a new upsetting news story every day. It can often feel like we don’t have a voice or an opportunity to make a difference, and it can leave you feeling helpless.
There are lots of little ways to make a difference. Whether it’s being active on social media, volunteering, or showing up to vote, there are several ways to make a change and make your voice matter. One powerful tool that’s often disregarded is your fashion choices.
You can make a difference by the clothes you wear. If there are causes you care about, there’s a way to infuse that cause with your fashion sensibilities. And the best part is you don’t have to wear a meat dress like Lady Gaga. Small changes in your fashion choices can make a huge difference in the world.
Here are four ways to make a difference with your fashion choices.
Be More Socially Conscious with Sourcing
If you’re an environmental enthusiast who’s passionate about living an eco-friendly life, extend that to your fashion choices. There’s been a considerable insurgence of companies who design sustainable and ethical clothes. They used upcycled or organic materials, low-impact dyes, or more eco-friendly fabrics like hemp or linen.
Often these same companies support causes, too. Some clothing companies plant trees for purchases. Others donate clothes to those in need for each purchase made. Sometimes, their appeal is less in their materials, but more in their manufacturing. Instead, they focus on manufacturing using low-impact techniques.
In addition to eco-conscious clothing, there’s a cruelty-free movement in fashion that’s gaining momentum. These manufacturers refuse to design clothing that uses animal products, like fur, wool, leather, feathers, or silk. So, if you’re passionate about animal rights, choosing a cruelty-free company is a great way to make an impact.
Finally, you can’t address sourcing without talking about manufacturing. Huge clothing brands have a rap for hiring cheap labor in third world countries. If you’re passionate about labor and human rights, dig into your favorite clothing brands, and see if they pay their employees fair wages. If not, make a difference with your money by only purchasing clothing that is ethically manufactured.
Choose T-Shirts with a Message
Sometimes making a difference is about making a statement. We see it all the time with social media. Choosing to say something can make a difference. It’s the same reason bumper stickers, political yard signs, and billboards exist. Exposing your opinion and beliefs to other people can help spark conversations or plant seeds to create change.
Everyone loves a hilarious or nostalgic t-shirt, but t-shirts are also a wonderful place to express your ideas. If you’re passionate about a particular political candidate, buying and wearing their t-shirts helps to show support, expose politically uniformed people to a potential candidate, and helps spark conversations that can lead to meaningful impacts.
If you’re passionate about your Christian faith and spreading the word of God to others, Christian t-shirts can help support that mission. Boldly displaying your faith can help open dialogue or inspire others to share their faith, too.
Simple single word tees that say things like “Vegan” or “Climate Change is Real” or “Save The Planet,” is a way to confidently express your opinions in hopes of making a difference in someone’s life or perspective.
Your t-shirts have the potential to be walking billboards or a real-life tweet; the difference is that you’re wearing the shirt and are available for follow-up questions. While literally wearing yourself on your sleeve may not seem that impactful, it could truly make a difference.
Support Local Clothing Shops
Support local isn’t just a chant. It’s a meaningful movement. Your local designers, boutiques, and mom and pop trade shows might not have as many options as the big box stores. However, your patronage can make a massive difference to the owners’ lives. We live in an economy that makes owning a business incredibly difficult. Oftentimes, your local clothing stores are struggling to get by.
Let’s say you’re buying an outfit for the night out, and it’s going to cost you $150. You can go to your local mall and spend that money, or you could go to the boutique downtown run by a local family. The amount you pay is the same. However, for the shop in the mall, your money is just a drop in the bucket of their day. For that local shop owner, that $150 could be just what they needed to make their rent that month.
Shopping local is a quick way to make an impact in the lives of the people in your community.
Donate What You Don’t Need
Make the choice to donate your old clothes versus selling them or throwing them out. Local homeless shelters, women’s’ shelters, drug addiction facilities, senior citizen homes, MHMR facilities, and more are always on the lookout for gently worn clothes.
If you always donate anyway, do a little research into the organizations where you donate. There are quite a few non-profits out there that aren’t quite as ethical as you might believe. You want to make sure that your donated clothes are going somewhere they’ll make a difference, not just lining the pockets of executives. When in doubt, it’s usually a safe bet to donate to local organizations rather than big corporations.
Choosing to donate your clothes is a wonderful way to make a difference and an impact.
Your Fashion: An Opportunity to Make a Difference
If you want to make a change in the world or the lives of the people around you, look no further than your clothes. There are several ways to make a difference with your clothing choices. Looking into sourcing, supporting meaningful causes, displaying your opinions, shopping local, and donating are all incredible avenues to have an impact.