Ethical Fashion: Why I Decided to Slow Down

Karin Rambo of talks about her choice to pursue ethical fashion

Karin Rambo of quotes Bob Dylan and the times they are a changing and talks about ethical fashionKarin Rambo of quotes Bob Dylan and the times they are a changing and talks about ethical fashionKarin Rambo of quotes Bob Dylan and the times they are a changing and talks about ethical fashionKarin Rambo of quotes Bob Dylan and the times they are a changing and talks about ethical fashionKarin Rambo of quotes Bob Dylan and the times they are a changing and talks about ethical fashion

You guys, it was SO cold. Can you tell? haha!

Karin Rambo of quotes Bob Dylan and the times they are a changing and talks about ethical fashion

The Times They are a Changing.

Fitting words for today’s post.

For awhile now I have wanted to get downtown to take some pictures in front of this Bob Dylan mural so this past weekend we finally got to it.

And you know what?

It couldn’t have been more perfect timing.


Well, over the past few months I have hinted that I’ve been thinking through some things and that I wanted to share them with you when the time is right.

And we’re getting there.

Before I share with you, please keep in mind that these are my thoughts only and not an attempt to shame anyone, judge anyone, or make anyone feel bad.

And I have to tell you that I feel really vulnerable writing this post.

It’s all because I have been thinking about the implications of thoughtless consumption.

I know. This isn’t news to you because I have talked about it before.

But here’s exactly what I mean:

I am coming to believe that there is a natural progression that happens when someone (I) takes a step back from spending money without thought or purpose.

Or rather, the choice to shop less has a natural consequence: it causes you to question your motives.

The questions arise: why am I shopping and consuming less?

and more importantly: why was I consuming so much before?

And that’s when it hits you (me): we are all a product of our environment.

I know the #firstworldproblems is often used in jest, but stop and think about it.

Do you think there are any capsule wardrobe bloggers in third world countries?


I have been born into an environment that has been given much and the expectation is that I live with little to no parameters.

No money for that Burberry trench? No worries! Just put it on the credit card… Along with the Acne leather jacket and the Chanel purse.

Or even better, I’ll just buy a cheap knockoff so it’s within my budget!

Everybody wins right?

Now, I don’t believe that there is anything intrinsically wrong with having nice things: things that will last and give you years of use.

Nor do I think that is there anything wrong with wanting to look trendy and to do it within a budget.

But those of us in the first world (I) have become a victim of the “consume more” message and we pursue it regardless of the cost.

Oh that filthy word cost.

Lately that word has nagged at me.

What is the true cost of our (my) endless need to consume more?

It is the stripping away of human dignity that naturally happens in a society that needs to consume more and more and more.

And THAT is the crux of the matter.

Our (my) endless consumption enables companies to make unethical choices in how they produce their goods.

I used to not like to think about this because it made me uncomfortable.

But lately it’s all I’ve been able to think about.

It won’t leave me alone.

And I have been so hesitant to share my thoughts with you because I was so afraid of somehow miscommunicating what’s really in my heart.

But there is no peace in fear and my word of the year is peace… So.

This is what I have come to believe: when a company is using slave labor to produce my trendy and affordable bell bottoms…

It’s me that must sacrifice, not the person being enslaved to produce them.

It’s clear isn’t it? If it’s a choice between having the bell bottoms or not (because I can’t afford a pair made by a company with ethical practices), then I don’t need the bell bottoms.

Let me repeat that: I don’t need them.

My desire to have an affordable clothing item is NEVER more important than a person’s dignity.


So I’ll be making some changes. And they will affect you because they will change the way I put my capsules together.

You know that I have always tried to buy as much as possible second hand.

But going forward, when I can’t find what I’m looking for in a thrift store, I’ll wait to purchase it until I can afford to buy it from an ethical brand.

Most of all friends, would you please see my heart behind this… I’m not sharing it because I want you to feel bad.

But this is MY space to share with you in the most authentic way I know how and this is where I’m headed.

And for those of you who have already stepped in this direction, do you have any tips for shopping ethical brands?

Let me know in the comments below because this is all brand new to me! I’m a complete novice.

And let’s have a conversation about this. What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Until next time,




Outfit Details:

Cardigan: Old. Similar Ethical Option. More Affordable USA Made Option.

Skirt: Old. Similar Ethical Option. Ethical Midi Version.

Boots: Thrifted. Similar Ethical Option.

Hat: Old. Almost Identical Ethical Version.


Hi there! My name is Karin and I am a lifestyle blogger with a focus on mindful style, clean beauty, and joy filled motherhood. I hope you find some inspiration here!

Find me on: Web



  1. January 29, 2016 / 6:52 am

    I applaud this post! And your line about ‘encouraging people to shop’–that’s been the unspoken motivation behind why I have never joined up with affiliate linking in general. I shop very little. I don’t shop online at all (shopping online and living in SE Asia don’t mix well anyways, due to shipping, etc.). I actively choose not to live a consumption-driven lifestyle and it would be rather ridiculous for someone who doesn’t buy unnecessarily, and that’s an important part of their life, to pepper their blog with affiliate links as if I’m hoping people will read my blog and be inspired to shop! That’s not what I’m hoping for, so I don’t do it.

    • Karin
      January 31, 2016 / 4:53 am

      Thank you Rachel! And good for you for following your convictions… it’s definitely something that I had to think over for awhile, but I’m happy I cam to the conclusion I did.

  2. January 29, 2016 / 11:07 am

    may God bless you for standing up for your values – and for His, too 😀

    • Karin
      January 31, 2016 / 4:53 am

      Thank you Andi!

  3. January 29, 2016 / 3:19 pm

    I applaud this new direction. It has always been my desire to shop from fair wage companies but I’ve never acted upon it. I guess I struggle with the thought of penalizing those that work in the sweat shops. For instance, if everyone stopped shopping those places the employees would lose their only income. So even if the conditions aren’t awesome it’s better than no pay at all. Just my struggle. I think what your doing is great 😉

    • Karin
      January 31, 2016 / 4:56 am

      Thank you Rhiannon! I have heard that argument and I understand completely where you are coming from in struggling with it. I guess what I have witnessed about companies is that they will only listen to consumers when it makes an impact on their revenue… it’s really all about economics right? So unless a company realizes that they are going to lose more money by not giving their workers far wages, they probably won’t ever do it. I don’t know… maybe I’m wrong, but it’s what seems to make sense to me.

  4. January 29, 2016 / 3:43 pm

    Good for you for standing up for what you believe in. That always takes guts because it can make you feel very vulnerable. But its so rewarding at the same time. Side note: your photos in front of the mural turned out awesome. 🙂

    • Karin
      January 31, 2016 / 4:56 am

      Thank you Allie! You are so sweet and encouraging.

    • Karin
      January 31, 2016 / 4:56 am

      Thank you Katie! xoxo

  5. January 29, 2016 / 4:14 pm

    I love that you’re making choices and being true to who you are and what you value with your blog.

    I also love that mural! I’s a fun one to look at. 🙂

    • Karin
      January 31, 2016 / 4:57 am

      Thank you Crystal! I appreciate that. And I love it too… it’s one of my favorite places in Minneapolis. 🙂

  6. January 29, 2016 / 5:04 pm

    Great post! This is something I have been thinking on quite a bit, too. I have made 2016 the year I will get away from mindless consumption and if possible, when I need something new, I want to look at ethical lines first. Thank you for the encouragement and honoring your convictions!

    • Karin
      January 31, 2016 / 4:57 am

      Thank you Rebecca! I’m so glad to hear you are thinking about these things too. You always seem to be one step ahead of me. 😉

  7. January 29, 2016 / 5:29 pm

    I think you are doing the right thing. This is your space, and you should do what you truly believe in. Great post.

    • Karin
      January 31, 2016 / 4:57 am

      Thank you Shann! I always appreciate your feedback. 🙂

  8. Alyssa
    January 29, 2016 / 5:43 pm

    I used to be very spend-y in High School before I had bills and my money from work could just be spent left and right on whatever I wanted and now that I’m in my 3rd year of college and living in a too-expensive apartment buying groceries MAYBE once a month, I have understood the value of only having what we NEED. Not what we want. It’s hard. and it sucks. But it’s real.

    • Karin
      January 31, 2016 / 4:58 am

      Yes! I know the feeling Alyssa! For us it has been going down to one income while I stay at home. It’s hard, but it’s worth it because it teaches us discipline in how we spend our money. 🙂

  9. January 29, 2016 / 6:56 pm

    Love this! You are so right, this is your space and you should be able to do what you believe in and what is important to you.I, too, have been giving a lot of thought to the topic consuming…Love your point of view and look forward to seeing the changes!

    oh, and that first photo – AMAZING!!!
    happy weekend xxx

    • Karin
      January 31, 2016 / 4:59 am

      Thank you Chrissy! You are so sweet!! xoxo

  10. January 29, 2016 / 8:51 pm

    Good for you. It’s important to be true to yourself and your feelings. I too consume less and less over time – my wife has been part of that change. And it’s been great. I don’t need stuff. I need to eat and sleep and have shelter and love. Not stuff.

    • Karin
      January 31, 2016 / 5:00 am

      Thank you Rhi! That’s great that you have a wife who encourages you and I’m sure you do the same for her. And yes! Stuff is fleeting, it is our relationships to those we love that last.

  11. January 29, 2016 / 9:25 pm

    i agree with others readers too — kudos for writing this out. im not a big shopper to begin with and have been trying to live minimally as much as possible. My boyfriend and I are trying to move towards that direction too and I could use all help/suggestions/tip because i have no fashion sense, nor the budget to afford brand with ethical practice, and i dont have to own too much stuff.

    • Karin
      January 31, 2016 / 5:01 am

      Thank you Dixya! That’s great that you aren’t a big shopper… I’ve always had to rein myself in when it comes to shopping and it would be nice to naturally not have to worry about it. 🙂 I say, if you don’t feel a need to own more than a minimal amount, then just go with it! Do what works best for you!

  12. Brandi
    January 29, 2016 / 9:32 pm

    I used to be a fashion designer for a department store company. One of the reasons I will never do that job again is because I don’t support the endless consumption cycle. Within the industry, a company is failing if they aren’t convincing people to buy MORE every year. You can’t have flat sales, much less a decline. I could talk for days about everything that is wrong with that situation. But I will say that not all fashion companies are enslaving people or utilizing child labor. Our company had stringent standards that any vendor (factory) had to follow and there were frequent inspections. We should all seek out quality clothing items rather than disposable goods. We should get the best quality we can afford. Not everyone can afford made in the USA. So, I say all that to say that Everlane, et al, aren’t the only options. There are plenty of overseas factories employing people in a fair and safe way. If people care, they should ask the companies about their standards and practices. The more questions they get, the more transparency we get.

    • Karin
      January 31, 2016 / 5:02 am

      So good Brandi! I have heard that about always having to outperform last years revenue which puts so much pressure on the brand! And that’s encouraging to hear that not all brands are using unfair labor. It would be so helpful if there was some sort of comprehensive list about who’s doing it right.

      What store did you work at?

  13. January 29, 2016 / 9:40 pm

    This is so so so good… and I have been thinking a lot about my own personal shopping habits and how it appears (to me at least) that the more I spend, the more I crave, and so begins a vicious cycle that does nothing but tear into my savings. I don’t really ever consider the economic or even social impact that my purchasing decisions have on the environment, on the people putting together fabrics… but they’re all related.

    Thank you so much for sharing this incredibly important message. <3 Wonderful food for thought.

    • Karin
      January 31, 2016 / 5:03 am

      Thank you Charlotte! And I have also experienced that. I really think it can become an addiction! We lose sight of everything, but the need to spend more. Thanks for sharing!

  14. January 29, 2016 / 10:21 pm

    Hi Karin! Enjoyed reading this posts and especially your reasons behind this thinking. I think you did a good job communication your situation and thought process to us. I myself have not reached this stage yet, though I do wish there was more transparency about how my clothes are being made. I really do not want to support child labour, to think that the only thing different from me and the people who make my clothes is that they were born in the “wrong” country. We are definitely privileged.
    As for ethical brands, I don’t know if you know of Andrea from ? She’s a fellow capsule wardrober, a mom of three and she recently started shopping ethically only. She adds 3 or so items to her closet every season, nothing more. Maybe good inspiration.
    Have a lovely weekend,
    xo Kat

    • Karin
      January 31, 2016 / 5:05 am

      Thank you Kat! I agree that it is so sad that some people are forced into these situations simply because of where they were born. I DO know of Andrea and I love her! She is actually going to be sharing some thoughts on my blog in a few weeks here and she has been a great resource as I start to pursue this. I’m glad to know you have found her helpful as well!

  15. January 30, 2016 / 12:17 am

    EVERYTHING about this post. Oh wow. The photos are your stunning, you outfit is on point, but your words are like some many of the thoughts that have been swirling around my head for the past few months. The less I spend the more I am repulsed by the extravagant spending and the mass consumerism of our society. We live in a world that is never satisfied and it is my hope that I find joy in what I own and find peace and contentment with what I don’t. I’ve realized that the less I spend, the more I experience and I just wish that everyone could know what I am discovering. I adore your blog. It is a joy to get to know you.

    • Karin
      January 31, 2016 / 5:06 am

      Oh Cassandra, you are the sweetest! It is a slippery slope isn’t it? I hate that what you say is true… we are NEVER satisfied. I have also found myself enjoying the smaller things in life without the distraction of shopping. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you as well!

  16. January 30, 2016 / 5:19 am

    Wonderful post! I love how open you were! I have been working on thoughtless consumption and I have made progress but I am no where near where I would like to be. I walk past the Bob Dylan mural every morning on my way to work. I cannot get enough of it! It is so beautiful!

    • Karin
      January 31, 2016 / 5:07 am

      Thank you Missy! All it takes is thinking about it. 🙂 So fun that you get to walk to work every morning! You must live in a fun apartment downtown. 🙂

  17. January 30, 2016 / 1:05 pm

    Karin, I wrote about More Than I Need in November and this has been something I have become aware of since that post in November. I love this post and wholly support you. My hope is that we can all become more aware of the world, what we are purchasing, what we need and how we are truly living.

    • Karin
      January 31, 2016 / 5:07 am

      Hi Sheryl! I’ll have to check out your post, thanks for pointing it out to me! And thank you for your support, it mans so much! I hope for those things as well.

  18. January 31, 2016 / 12:10 pm

    I have currently taken a step back from spending so much, especially on clothes and you are exactly right, it does make you question why are you just now doing this. I love the mural and the photos btw.

    • Karin
      February 5, 2016 / 5:19 am

      That’s great that you are also stepping back. That is certainly a hard step, but a great step! And thank you!

  19. Valerie
    February 1, 2016 / 8:57 pm

    I continue to be blown away by life and how the right messages, ideas and people come along right when you’re ready for them! I am with you, girlfriend! You wrote eloquently and succinctly about exactly how I have been viewing clothing and its costs for myself as well as all of us consumers!

    • Karin
      February 5, 2016 / 5:21 am

      That really touches me Valerie! I must have written it just for you. I’m so glad to have connected with you!

  20. February 2, 2016 / 12:47 am

    wow, you’ve said it all and many others have said it too above so I won’t add much. But I did want to stop by and say that I’ve had similar thoughts and experiences since I first somehow started moving to consuming less about two or three years ago. Thanks for sharing this. It makes me feel like I’m not alone.

    • Karin
      February 5, 2016 / 5:21 am

      Thank you Rita! You are certainly not alone. I think there is much more of a movement in this direction. I’m so glad to hear that you are on the same page!

  21. February 2, 2016 / 2:29 pm


    Shopping is not really my thing, though at times the itch to get in some retail therapy rears its ugly head. I fell into that trap once, the first time my husband worked overseas for 8 months. It was a mixture of loneliness, boredom, sadness that only Target could pacify. It didn’t take long to realize that it was just a temporary fix that left me feeling terrible at the end of the day. Also, I get the same feeling as you…that consumerism is such a first world problem. It’s important to keep some perspective. On the other hand, I like to support small businesses and creatives because they work to the bone for their craft. Interesting stuff to think about! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Karin
      February 5, 2016 / 5:25 am

      Thank you Shelly! It’s so easy to use shopping as a way to numb our feelings. Perspective is so important. I completely agree with you! That’s the number one reason we shop organic, so that we can keep organic farmers in business. It’s the same thing with fashion. Supporting those who do it right is so important!

  22. February 2, 2016 / 10:09 pm

    Great job, we blog so we can tell our story, we can tell others where we stand. Good for you. And shopping is not always a bad word. Its the living in the comfort zone, and control of you income that will make your shopping be more at ease.

    • Karin
      February 5, 2016 / 5:26 am

      Thank you Sandy!

  23. February 3, 2016 / 2:28 am

    What an interesting post!
    I am a big shopper and sometimes I am a little embarrassed by that…but alas I have gotten a little better with my spending and only buying quality items so I think I am doing a little better.

    xoxo, Jenny

    • Karin
      February 5, 2016 / 5:26 am

      That’s great Jenny! Baby steps right?

  24. February 3, 2016 / 4:41 pm

    Love this! Good for you! Such a great post. I buy a lot of our kids clothing second-hand since they wear it for only a few months. I need to be better about doing that for myself as well.

  25. Amy
    February 4, 2016 / 4:55 am

    Thank You! Your honesty is lovely and a change some of us are looking for! You worded what I could not!

    So thank you!

  26. February 4, 2016 / 2:41 pm

    This is so beautifully written and is written with so much kindness and heart. Thank you so much for writing this and spreading the word about ethical fashion and kind style. It’s a giant leap but incredibly fulfilling. You are doing great things in this work, keep it up girl!

    Have a beautiful + kind day!
    xoxo Taylor Layne

  27. May 15, 2016 / 8:05 pm

    Olá Nadji,Que linda a apresentação dessa entrada, simples e fácil…a simplicidade dá o toque ao Natal, adorei…Que o Nosso Fim de semana seja Feliz!!!1000 Beijokinhas

  28. June 4, 2016 / 5:34 am

    J'avais adoré "Les enchantements d'Ambremer", mais je dois dire que cette série-ci ne m'attire pas outre mesure. En plus, la taille du schmilblick a de quoi décourager, même moi ^_^.

  29. June 5, 2016 / 3:55 pm

    Natürlich können Sie Ihren Weihnachtsmarkt auch unter einer eigenen Subdomain oder Domain einrichten. Da Ihr Weihnachtsmarkt bereits automatisch grundlegend für Suchmaschinen optimiert ist,

  30. December 30, 2016 / 2:46 am

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