How to Build a More Ethical Closet
"Shop sustainably" - the buzz words of the moment! And while we love that this has come to the forefront of consumer habits and consciousness, we also know that it can seem quite overwhelming. So, as we're already on our journey of sustainable, transparent, slow fashion we have complied 6 key tips, knowledge and experience garnered from our adventure, to make it as easy for you as possible to embark on your own quest to build a more ethical closet.
1. Support those that care about the issues that move you
There are many wonderful new brands to choose from. It’s exciting to see, 6 years ago when we began this journey it was a niche market. Now with seemingly a lot more choice, how do you know what brands to go for? A starting point is to decide what sustainability issues matter to you and the difference you would like to make, and be, in your community. Is it diversity, reusable materials, women’s empowerment? And then find brands that care about these issues too. Being connected to the cause makes it easier to decide what brands to buy from. And then of course, you have to find within those the styles and designs you love!
We’re big fans of Latin American Fashion Summit. They source beautiful brands from our region of the world and highlight those with a community and/or environmental focus. Hop on over to https://www.latamfashionsummit.com/ and check out the sustainable brands with roots in Latin America.
Image: Chureca Chic founder Andrea, left, with community partner team; XtraOrdinary Women
2. Does the brand have any sort of certification?
Ways that brands can show commitment to their sustainability goals is by getting a third party certification that verifies and guides their practices. Certifications such as B Corp check and endorse a business' practices and manifestos to evaluate whether a brand meets industry standards of social and/or environmental performance.
A lot of smaller brands may not yet have a certification, some are expensive, some you need to have been around for a lot longer. So it does not mean you should discard them, you can still verify their social and environmental commitments. The brands should be walking the talk. Their website should share information on their ESG strategies and commitments, sourcing and production process and how they invest their profits. For example, here on our site you can check out our social impact projects and we also share our pricing structure for you to see the impact of your purchase as well as how we source our raw materials.
Image: Chureca Chic artisan Evelyn
3. Less is indeed more
Remember your grandma saying "less is more dear"? Well, Nana had a point...
With all the temptation fast fashion has to offer we often can find ourselves buying spontaneously, sometimes just to fit fleeting trends. But, less really is more...
So let's take a look at that closet; analyse which pieces really best suit your style and give them your personal stamp with how you mix and match them and, of course, accessorise! You will be amazed at how many looks you can create with a few pieces. Keep it simple by streamlining your clothes so they can be more versatile. It's a process to sort through it all so we suggest to start looking at your wardrobe in seasons to divide and conquer. A touch of trend will always make us look more up to date. Avoid abusing them and choose them wisely. Analyse which ones best suit your style and give them your own touch by pairing them with your basic, timeless pieces. Before you purchase a piece, think about which type of events you most attend, what pieces you wear the most often and whether it truly expresses your style.
Image: Brianny in our Linked Dreams collection, photo: Moises Castellon
4. Quality over quantity
Shopping from brands that create made-to-last pieces is one of the best ways you can help the environment. The price is usually higher but it’s worth it as they will be around for a lot longer as you'll have less need to replace them, which leads to a reduced carbon footprint. If you followed step 3, this one is the natural one to follow; a more streamlined closet made up of key staples that serve you for various occasions. Choosing more sustainable fabrics and more durable quality means your wardrobe will see you through all seasons and adventures.
We create products to accompany your style and philosophies, designing high quality jewellery that you’ll be able to treasure for years and years. We actually came to the fashion scene creating gemstones out of paper designed to last a lifetime. And as we evolved we began to work with recycled precious metals. Always handmade, always locally sourced, always up-cycled. This means you can sing in the rain, dance in the sunshine and build snowmen with your pieces on for life, with no worry of ruining them or needing to replace them!
Image: Summer Fling collection
5. Value and take care of the pieces you already own
Making your style sustainable doesn't mean getting rid of what you have that is not from a sustainable brand, that would really defeat the purpose! What works, works, so no need to throw out the old just for the sake of it. Conserve your pieces as long as possible. As we mentioned above you will accent your style with trends - hopefully from sustainable brands but where you can’t then choose wisely and make them last.
Image: Linked Dreams collection
6. Accessories are a must
The final touch to all outfits. We love a good accessory, of course! They are timeless expressions of your style. We design our Chureca Chic pieces thinking of the future: how to stay on trend, make a statement always, while complimenting your look to be your staple modern classic. So whether it’s to accent your little black dress or your bikini, pick accessories that can be used for different occasions to add the touch of “you” to your look at the bar or in the mountains.
Image: Mein Amor collection
We believe in common dreams, in working hard and together towards them.
A donation to our community project, XtraOrdinary Women, is included in the sale of each Chureca Chic piece. XtraOrdinary Women is an NGO empowering women in Nicaragua living in at risk situations with job skill training courses and job placement services. Thanks to the donations, over 600 women have received free job skills training across Nicaragua and 95% of these women remain in employment today. If you would like to learn more about the work of XOW and support them please visit their website: www.xtraordinary.org
Andrea Paltzer & Daniela Mantica
Founder and intern extraordinaire (respectively, it's all in the team work)