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A Candid Instagram Conversation on Ethical Fashion

A Candid Instagram Conversation on Ethical Fashion

A Candid Instagram Conversation on Ethical Fashion A Candid Instagram Conversation on Ethical Fashion A Candid Instagram Conversation on Ethical Fashion A Candid Instagram Conversation on Ethical Fashion A Candid Instagram Conversation on Ethical Fashion A Candid Instagram Conversation on Ethical Fashion

Old Jacket. Similar |Thrifted Mockneck Tee. Similar | Denim | Thrifted Boots. Similar | Lipstick: This + This

Hi friends!

Happy hump day! We’ve been hibernating all week here at the Rambo household. It’s been cold, snowy, and dark here and Kit has been walking around making sure all of her toys are “nice and cozy”… which maybe reveals the types of conversations we’re having around our house.

I have comfort priorities okay people?! #dontjudge

A couple of weeks ago, one of my Instagram friends messaged me with some thoughts/frustrations she’s been having with the ethical fashion “movement” lately and after chatting for awhile, I started to think that you all might benefit from eavesdropping on our conversation.

So here you go… our candid Instagram conversation (I asked her if she was okay with me posting this and she was, but I’m keeping her identity anonymous):

Instagram Friend: I’ve just been really struggling with the notion that I can never pull myself out of a cycle of continually wanting to revamp at least some part of my closet. I don’t know that I’ll ever feel like I don’t “need” something else. And that message tends to be pushed by even the bloggers/communities that promise ethical fashion. It’s rarely about reviving an old piece or making do until you can find the most right choice, and instead it continues to drive the narrative that we all need more. I just feel a lot of pressure to spend a lot of money, I guess is what it comes down to. And yes, spending it on ethical garments, which is noble. But I still feel like I’m being sold something. And I feel that internal pressure to live up to that expectation.

Me: I totally get that! And I don’t think you’re off base at all. As a blogger there is a tremendous amount of pressure to show new and better. I know I fall prey to that and I know a lot of my blogger friends struggle with it as well. There’s a dichotomy between what people SAY they want (which more or less is what you mention above), and what they communicate through following/visiting/engaging. So in other words, the bloggers who show the most new brands tend to get more engagement/people visiting. So you kind of have to choose between having a bigger blog or doing what you feel is right. It’s not always an easy choice (or a black and white one for that matter). I TRY my best to stay true to my original mission to communicate less is better, but sometimes it’s hard to do that… especially when brands want to send you a ton of stuff. I say no to quite a lot of requests that I get, but I totally get the temptation to say yes to everything (especially when money is involved).

IF: Exactly. And the brands I want to support are the ones who are producing the content, and I don’t want to reach a point where I never feel like my style can evolve.  And how fun are free things?! And when bloggers are supporting themselves, I want to be receptive to their content so as to be supportive to other like minded women.

Me: It’s definitely something that doesn’t have a black and white answer.

IF: So it’s not that it’s not totally understandable, it’s just an exhausting cycle.

Me: I know the feeling! This is something I (literally) agonize over on a daily bases. That’s why I try to find a happy medium with my weekly three posts (which I stopped doing… ha!) because I really don’t want to have a ton of clothes nor do I want to communicate to my readers that they should either. But I also realize I am a resource for people.

IF: Yeah it’s weird. I’m thankful for the connection social media provides, but I also wish for less connection. Like sometimes I’d just like a little less. I’m trying to limit my Instagram intake, but I’m not doing as well as I’d like.

Me: I think with any movement that starts out “pure” there is a tendency for it to evolve (as it becomes more mainstream) into something that it wasn’t necessarily intended for originally. It’s the unfortunate side effect of economics on any system where money is involved. I think the best we can do is continue to support where we feel comfortable and try to drown out voices that distract us from our goal. And yes to limiting Instagram consumption! That’s exactly why I took a week off because I was feeling so overwhelmed with feeling like I wanted it all and I knew that’s not who I am and it meant I need a break!

IF: Agreed. And if money is going to be spent, it’s cool that there are resources and conduits for those resources so that people can spend wisely and as responsibly as possible. But yeah, I know that I’ve been going overboard with Instagram, and consuming other voices and opinions, so I know I need to reign it back in. But I’m thankful for people like you who are presenting themselves as wholly people with flaws and off days and imperfections. It helps cut through the all-too-present veneer.

Me: I 100% know where you’re coming form. And thank you for saying that because my biggest fear in this blogging thing is that I don’t represent authenticity and that the things I say would contribute to someone else making a decision that’s not right for them….

And then we went on to chat about other things for a bit. I really appreciated her ability to voice her frustrations because I’ve felt a lot of those things as well. I can imagine that there are others out there who also feel these same things. I hope this encourages you if you do… that there are voices/people in this movement who still believe that less is better.

What about you? Have you felt these things? How do you stay true to your unique priorities and needs? Let’s chat about it in the comments!

Until next time,

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17 Comments

  • Reply Erin | A Welder’s Wife

    Very thoughtful conversation! It is definitely easy to get caught up into mainstream things. I had a class presentation yesterday that ended in a fair trade fashion conversation (It had nothing to do with the presentation itself, but my professor tried to prove a point that I did not agree with at all.). It is funny how each area of our life can flow into another, whether it is with social media, the work place, or just a friendly person at the supermarket.

    November 8, 2017 at 7:58 am
    • Reply Karin

      That’s so true Erin! It’s funny how much everything in life really is interconnected.

      November 11, 2017 at 10:32 am
  • Reply Mikayla

    This has been such a struggle for me. I do try to limit my social media intake as a result as well. I became a stylist for Stella&Dot while I was also really getting into capsuling. I loved the product for so long and being able to style people seemed like a dream job. But it often conflicts with my quest for less. My capsule journey limits my ability to do well and being submerged in new makes it difficult to have less. While I wish I could combine both worlds more successfully, it has not been easy. I finally decided on a style that will limit my intake more. But still, that call to consume is nagging. So I’m going to give it a few more months and then probably let it go. This was my dream job for so long, but I can’t find a way to promote less for myself or others in this business without failing at one or the other, if not both.

    November 8, 2017 at 12:48 pm
    • Reply Karin

      It’s so hard isn’t it Mikayla? On one hand, I think it’s so important to raise awareness about a great cause. On the other hand, I still feel like I’m just a pawn in an overarching marketing scheme. I think this is just the result of being a part of a culture that is driven by economics and consumerism. I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to find a perfect solution simply because of where we live. Thanks for your honesty… its so refreshing!

      November 11, 2017 at 10:35 am
  • Reply Jaana

    I finally decided to unfollow almost all the ethical shops on Instagram. Then I’m not as tempted to buy more — and when I actually NEED something, I’ll make the effort to look them up. I truly believe the balance is impossible to find. The only REALLY ethical thing we can do is use the clothes we own as long as possible, but that is really hard! Especially when style/fashion are important to you. We must remind ourselves to just do the best we can. There’s no right or wrong way, when we are being mindful and intentional. Sometimes we fall off, sometimes we feel content. Ebbs and flows.

    November 8, 2017 at 2:11 pm
    • Reply Hannah

      Totally agree! I’ve begun unfollowing accounts that encourage me, either overtly or subtly, to buy more. I️ know that I’ll never fully stop buying things, so my strategy is to slow my consumption to the point that every purchase is measured and planned for and truly wanted. That way when I️ spend and add to my closet, I’m doing so in the best way possible at my desire rather than under the pressure of others. I️ think that’s where blogging can be helpful as a reader – offering insight and opportunity to spend wisely and purposefully.

      November 8, 2017 at 2:51 pm
      • Reply Karin

        That’s a really great strategy Hannah and one that I want to work towards as well. It’s been hard for me lately because for a variety of reasons I’ve had to add a LOT of clothes to my wardrobe this year (out of necessity), and I feel myself getting to that point where I’m looking at other peoples wardrobes and wanting what they have, which means that I need to reassess my intentions. It can be so hard!

        November 11, 2017 at 10:40 am
    • Reply Karin

      I REALLY need to do this too Jaana. And do an old Unfancy cancel subscriptions as well. I really appreciate your perspective and confidence in the solutions you’ve found. Part of my problem is that I always question if I’ve found the best solution (event though there really isn’t a BEST solution).

      November 11, 2017 at 10:36 am
  • Reply Olivia Youngs

    SO much yes to all of this. I feel like I can never strike a healthy balance between my own craving for “more” and seeing my blog as a publication to help people easily access ethical fashion. Like you said, I never ever want authenticity or my “realness” to be lost along the way, but it’s so hard, especially when blogging is a major part of my job. Thank you for continuing this important conversation!

    November 8, 2017 at 2:42 pm
    • Reply Karin

      It’s such a hard balance to strike! I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever get it 100% right… but maybe that’s just part of being human.

      November 11, 2017 at 10:37 am
  • Reply Cat Chiang

    I feel this way, too. Especially when the most common question I get asked is where to buy ethical fashion, and I just want to say that’s kind of missing the point! Because it’s not really about buying; it’s about the exact opposite of that. I wonder if maybe we need to completely rethink how “fashion” is defined in the ethical fashion space. I’m hoping to blog more about making my own clothes, too, because I think that’s a fun way to refresh your style without buying new clothes, but of course I’m a little anxious that no one will be interested in reading about that! Anyway, thanks for bringing this point up. Definitely something to think about.

    November 8, 2017 at 2:45 pm
    • Reply Shelbi

      I would be interested in reading about that. I think that would be freaking awesome! 😉

      November 9, 2017 at 5:44 pm
    • Reply Karin

      So true Cat! And I LOVE that you’re blogging more about making your own clothes! You really inspired me to try to take up some sewing/knitting. So definitely keep that up!

      November 11, 2017 at 10:38 am
  • Reply Wendy

    This is a good conversation. I’ve noticed that ethical style bloggers are wearing the newest, coolest things from ethical brands, often in the same style and even colors. I’d love to see more of making do with what you have, restyling, and wearing unique and different things. It’s the same silhouettes and styles. It’s trendy, and it shows a certain privilege to be able to by the same beautiful raw silk top or perfectly cut linen in just the right shade of rust for fall, from an ethical source.

    November 8, 2017 at 10:13 pm
    • Reply Karin

      I completely agree Wendy! And I know exactly what top you’re talking about. 😉 The funny thing is that I thought I wanted that top in my wardrobe until I really assessed why. Turns out I wanted it just because other people had it. Instead I added the striped shirt I wore in Monday’s post and it makes me much happier because it’s more my style and it’s unique.

      November 11, 2017 at 10:43 am
  • Reply Shelbi Di Luca

    Absolutely I still feel less is better. I feel there are some ethical bloggers that promote ethical brands, some promote minimalism/capsule wardrobes and some promote their vintage and thrift store finds. We’re all doing something different, and some promote more brands than others for sure. That would be hard to be someone who’s not a blogger who just wants to see cool pictures and doesn’t want to be sold. And I get not wanting to be on social media all the time. I hurt my neck almost a year ago and I have to limit my daily screen time because my body just can’t hang. I have to remember health before the hustle everyday for sure. This was an interesting conversation and I’m glad I got to see how someone on the other side feels about it.

    November 9, 2017 at 5:43 pm
  • Reply meg

    Some disjointed thoughts: I’ve never been very interested in style, and feel clumsy at best. Through following these types of blogs I’ve invested in a few pieces. Some hits, some misses.

    I appreciate the push to thrift shop more often that I got from his and similar blogs.

    A friend and I have started biannual clothing swaps for our extended circle of friends where I’ve been getting just enough new to me pieces to keep things interesting. She’s very good at keeping the quality high and people engaged. A bonus is that trying things on (as opposed to ordering online) and having friends help style my chosen pieces brings me more confidence when I wear new things!

    November 10, 2017 at 11:56 pm
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