I’ve got another great Your Ethical Style feature for you today, this time with Jamillah from the ethical fashion blog, Made To Travel. New York-based Jamillah’s posts on ethical fashion are really useful and inspiring – her post on Ethical Fashion 101 is so useful! Jamillah has some great looks and some really useful advice so, as always, I’m sure you’re going to love this post.
Over to Jamillah:
Hi Jamillah, can you share with us three facts about you?
1) I have 21 first cousins just on my mom’s side and we all grew up together! So while I only have 1 brother I feel I have a huge family!
2) I’ve been a hair factory pretty for the last 6 years – growing and chopping my hair off to donate.
3) My mama wanted to nickname me Jamie after the Bionic Woman and they happened to know a woman named Jamillah – the only name they could figure Jamie made sense with. Jamillah actually means beautiful in Arabic, but my parents had no idea until a Jordanian classmate told me in 3rd grade.
Where are your favourite places to shop for ethical clothing?
I love thrifting in a real way, but I also really enjoy supporting ethical designers. I heart the artisan feel of the clothes from State, the easy/modern pieces from KowTow. And I also have a super-sized crush on every print at Clover Canyon.
What’s the last ethical item that you bought?
Sweatpants from Nancy Goes Green. I’m really looking forward to cozy-chic outfits with them this fall/winter :).
Is there anything ethical or secondhand that you are lusting over at the moment?
I’d really like to score a pastel-colored winter coat and a denim shirt dress from Study NY. I think both pieces would do wonders for my winter wardrobe game!
Do you have a top tip for shopping ethically?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions!! One thing great about living in the time we do is that getting in touch with retailers is so easy. If there’s a question you have about where a product is made, how, or with what then tweet, email, leave a Facebook comment on the retailer’s page, and ask it! There are also lots of places that offer live chats that I’ve found very useful too.
Is there anything you find difficult about shopping ethically?
For me, non-disclosure is a big issue. Lots of sites don’t say where an item is made or what it’s made of. And while we have lots of ways to get in touch with companies some will just not get back to you and that’s infuriating to me. But I just have to let them go.
Also, when I first started being a more conscious shopper the number of brands that I found to have questionable practices was astounding. There are just fewer brands that are completely transparent and so that process to find the right brands takes a bit of time, but it’s totally worth it! They are out there!!! Promise!
Where do you get your style inspiration from?
While I think I have a style that I really enjoy wearing and stick to, I’ve gotten great style experiments from bloggers. Someone will wear a skirt as a shirt or add a belt where I never would have, and poof, I have new outfits from things I already own.
What is your best secondhand or ethical find ever?
Ooo, I have a long list! I think brand-wise I got a hot pink skirt suit by Bill Blass and a white denim jacket from Helmut Lang. Both were practically nothing from thrift stores. But my favorite thrifted item to wear is these flower pants that I bought a couple of years ago. They are my happy outfit! And my fave ethical find would have to be my winter coat from the German company Hessnatur (top photo). I bought it on sale and a couple of weeks later they stopped shipping to the US. I was elated I bought it when I did.
What would be your ultimate thrifted find?
I would be ecstatic to find the perfect shirt dress… I LOVE a good shirt dress.
Finally Jamillah, can you share three ethical style tips with us?
1) Take a moment to think. Do you need the item? Would you really wear the item? How are you going to wear it? Curating a thoughtful wardrobe took a lot of practice, but it’s worth it! I was a very impulsive shopper. I was buying lots of things because they were really pretty but finding they weren’t necessarily my style. If I had just taken a moment to think at those times I would’ve saved so much money!
2) Don’t pay attention to size! I have a ridiculous range of sizes in my closet, you’d think 8 different women were in my apartment! But vintage sizes run very differently than modern sizes and even contemporary retailers have huge disparities when it comes to size. Keep an open mind and get the sizes that fit the way you want your clothes to fit.
3) Find a shoe repair guy and a tailor STAT. My shoe guy has done wonders for me. I usually bring a bunch of shoes to be repaired twice a year. PRO TIP! – If your guy’s a local little shoe dude, like mine, he’ll swing a discount for bringing a bundle in at a time :).