Social Responsibility: The Shopping of Tomorrow


Corey Rome

Buying gently used second hand clothing from places such as The Goodwill Store, located at 44 W 8th St., is an affordable way to be chic while being a socially conscious shopper.

Ali Webb, Staff Writer

As social issues pervade into more and more fields, fashion industry insiders have started to pay more attention to things like climate change and workers’ rights. Brands are starting to take biggers strides towards social responsibility, whether this is through using eco-friendly materials or improving working conditions through fair treatment and pay. Many millennials and other consumers, however, are unsure of where to find the best socially responsible brands. Below are some companies to support in hopes of bettering our world.

This brand carries minimalist clothing that fits perfectly into a young adult’s wardrobe. If their aesthetic were not enough to attract shoppers, Everlane goes to great lengths for transparency in their factory process — they find high-quality factories, maintain the relationship to ensure proper worker treatment and production and inform customers on prices and locations of production. Some pieces can be hundreds of dollars, but many are cheaper (T-shirts are only $30) and socially responsible students would be making a worthwhile investment in a long-lasting, ethical piece through their purchase of an Everlane product.

One of the most well-known socially conscious brands, Toms has a one-for-one promise that allows two people to benefit from each item purchased. When a customer buys a pair of shoes, Toms donates another pair to a child in need, and a sunglasses purchase funds much-needed eye care in developing countries. This brand is fairly affordable as well, with most items cheaper than $100, and the wide selection of styles help to fit many different aesthetics.

While it is hard to reconcile fast fashion and social responsibility, this retailer has made efforts toward this conscious movement. They created an eco-conscious line that focuses on using sustainable materials such as recycled polyester and organic cotton. Most items are less than $20 with many even cheaper than $10, and the collection is incredibly extensive with hundreds of items to choose from. Those looking to help the environment can consider purchasing basic pieces from this line instead of a less conscious brand. However, it is important to note that a retailer producing over 60 million articles of clothing annually with prices this low cannot be paying all of their factory workers fair wages. Finally, H&M allows anyone to bring in clothes they would otherwise throw out and instead donate them to H&M. From there the company can recycle the clothes in the efforts to keep fabrics out of landfills.

The three above brands are just a few of many companies either founded upon socially responsible principles or learning to incorporate these into their collections. A simple Google search leads to countless options, and many may find that a favorite brand not listed here has taken socially conscious initiatives. It is more important now than ever to pay attention to companies’ ethics as the United States refuses to create many new regulations on these issues; savvy shoppers will learn that this is easier than it seems and that they can use their purchasing power for good.

Email Ali Webb at [email protected].