What if you could change the world by living an intentional life?
What would that look like?
How would your everyday choices change the world we live in?
Would little things like knowing who made our clothes actually make a difference?
Two weeks ago I would have told you ethical fashion is a nice thought but too insignificant a difference to really matter. But then I started paying attention. See, I was under the impression that the best way to help someone else was to go without. To buy cheap so that I could buy two and give one away, to hand a dollar or two to the person at the corner street light, or use the extra money to donate to any of many great charities.
We don’t have to look if we’re paying, right? We don’t actually have to pay attention if we’re giving where we are told to give?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched The Fisher King, the first time I watched it was in high school and it’s stuck around with me these 20 years. This monologe performed by Tom Waits has shaped how I interact with those who are less fortunate than I. It pops into my head in those awkward moments at the traffic light when it’s just me and the one person on the corner with their cardboard sign asking for help. The memory of this scene forces me to look, to make eye contact even when I can not help. It forces me to see another person where they are and wonder about their story.
This past week I’ve been helping promote the Visible Tie Kickstarter and I’ve learned a great deal about how the choices we make impact individuals. Ethical fashion does make a difference.
My first piece of ethical fashion will actually be from this Kickstarter but I know it won’t stop there. In the post #whomademyclothing by Jessica Vaughn Lower, she writes “this isn’t an all or nothing game.” We don’t have to immediately go out and empty our closets now that our eyes have been opened and we know, but we can make future choices that will have a visible impact on the world. When we shop our values we tell businesses, with our money, that lives do matter. When we shop our convictions we tell the people who make our clothes that we see them and their story matters. When we live intentionally we change the world around us.
It is easy to ignore people we don’t know. So here are some of the people behind the Visible Tie and Visible Clothing line.
The ties are made by a team of incredibly talented tailors in Dharamshala India. Produced in a fair trade facility, everyone has access to free onsite childcare, maternity and paternity leave, subsidized school fees, and paid annual leave. Salaries are regularly reviewed to ensure they are based on living wage principles, and everyone receives an annual bonus equivalent to one month’s salary. As a small production center, products are made to order and the tailors work closely with the design process.