For today’s Your Ethical Style post, I’m interviewing US ethical fashion blogger Leah Wise.  Leah is from Charlottesville, Virginia, and as well as writing her blog, Style Wise, she also manages a thrift shop.  Her blog is fast becoming one of my must reads – I love her thrift shop outfits, and wouldn’t you just love a rummage in her wardrobe?!

your ethical style

Coat: thrifted / Scarf: thrifted / Boots – secondhand via eBay / Jumper: secondhand via ebay / T-shirt (not shown): Everlane

Can you share with us three facts about you?

I’ve been singing in choirs since I was 8, I used to drink pickle juice, and I manage a thrift shop!

Where are your favourite places to shop for ethical clothing?

I buy a lot secondhand, but I also really love People Tree* (when the exchange rate is reasonable), Everlane, Nomads, Sseko Designs, and Mata Traders.

What’s the last ethical item that you bought?

I just bought a leopard print tee from People Tree on sale and I also found some great knee-high boots at the thrift store where I work.

Is there anything ethical or secondhand that you are lusting over at the moment?

I’d love to get a crossbody bag from Manos Zapotecas.

leah wise ethical blog

Top: thrifted / Jeans: AE / Boots: thrifted / Cape: American Apparel

Do you have a top tip for shopping ethically?

Start somewhere!  It can be intimidating to try to shop more ethically, but the important thing to remember is that, like all habits, it starts with making small changes on a regular basis.  For me, it helped to shop local secondhand shops while I worked on curbing my unhealthy over-shopping habit.  You can get a lot for a little and then work to save up for fair trade and sustainable staples.  Also, consider where you fit into the system.  At every step of the way, people are involved. It helps to remember their humanity, and yours!  Consumerism doesn’t have to control you.

Is there anything you find difficult about shopping ethically?

I’m still tempted by all the wild seasonal sales at high street and big box stores.  While I manage to avoid them for the most part, it makes me unhappy to not be able to just go wild like everyone else.  Overall, though, I’m very happy with the ethical options available to me and the market is growing!  I would like to find more fair trade underwear brands.

leah wise

Leah is wearing a Nomads Fair Trade Tunic

Where do you get your style inspiration from?

I’m inspired by the theatrical nature of vintage clothing.  I like the easiness of the late 60s style and the minimalism of the early-mid 90s.  I also read lots of blogs and peruse fashion editorials.

What is your best secondhand or ethical find ever?

As clothing obsessed as I am, I surprised myself with this one.  It’s my green velvet couch! My husband and I found it through Facebook Marketplace when we were furnishing our first apartment together.

secondhand furniture

Leah’s thrifty Facebook find!

What would be your ultimate thrifted find?

A gently used pair of Birkenstocks and a 1970s floral maxi dress.  I’ve managed to find most of what I want and need at the thrift shop already, so these would be the icing on the cake.

Finally Leah, can you share three ethical style tips with us?

1.  Embrace what’s available.  It’s just a fact that consuming more ethically will mean avoiding certain seasonal trends.  Learn to format what’s available on the ethical market to your taste.
2. Invest in items that aren’t boring.  As much as I like the minimalism trend, my style isn’t minimalist.  I prefer stand-out pieces and don’t mind a little pattern clashing.  Buy things that are beautiful and interesting to you; that way, you won’t regret spending a lot of money.
3.  Buy secondhand!  It’s hard for a lot of us to build a whole wardrobe out of new ethical pieces, but you can almost always find something that will work for you at the thrift store.  Mixed with more curated, ethical pieces, it’s impossible to tell that you bought them for pennies.

Thanks for taking part Leah!  You can visit Leah’s blog, and find her on Twitter, and Facebook.  New to Moral Fibres?  You can also check out the other Your Ethical Style posts!

Do you want to share your ethical style with Moral Fibres readers?  Whatever your age, sex, size, style, budget or location I’d love to feature you to show that ethical fashion is for everyone!  Get in touch via moralfibres@gmail.com to take part in Your Ethical Style!  There are no barriers to taking part – you don’t have to be a blogger to be featured!

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