H&M, Zara, Forever 21......these stores are part of a list of affordable fashion that most fashionistas rely on. They provide on trend pieces at extremely affordable prices. Why is it so affordable? Well not to burst everyone's bubble (although most of us already know) but the biggest reasons these stores are so affordable is they manufacture their items in countries where they can pay low wages and they use cheap fabric that is not eco friendly.
Now I don't ever feel GREAT about buying from these places. I am familiar with the wholesale business as well and it's pretty crappy. Fast fashion has a sort of slimy feeling but the prices are just so damn low and affordable. What is a broke girl to do?
So the good news is yes, there are well known companies that make their product in the United States. Let's use American Apparel as an example. If you are up in arms over how expensive American Apparel is, keep in mind that it is made in the USA, which means the company is shelling out more money for it's factory workers, which means the items are going to cost more. The problem I find is the designs are not ever really new and the quality of material is very hit or miss. I believe a big reason they are still so large is a lot of screen printing t-shirt companies use American Apparel shirts to print their designs on.
Smaller eco-friendly companies are starting to become more recognized as well. Take a look at brands that are making a movement with recyclable materials like Reformation. Yes, the pieces may not be hand beaded or custom created prints but the company is using material that would other wise be wasted and refurbishing it in new modern designs and cuts all while being made in the USA. So the higher price tags are definitely worth it.
Most independent designers you can find on sites like Etsy try to use eco-friendly materials as well and most designers work alone to create these pieces which is why a simple cotton dress may cost you $100 or more.
So what is holding us all back from wearing all eco-friendly sustainable fabric pieces that are made in the United States? Are you seeing a trend here?
The price tags.
While some people are financially okay with shelling out $200 and up for a sundress most of America cannot afford it. I don't know if you heard but the economy still sucks. Most companies are underpaying their employees and most major cities have rents that are absolutely out of control. Buying a home these days seems impossible. Getting a loan is a nightmare. BEING A GROWN UP IS SO HARD YOU GUYS. Heaven forbid you want to buy yourself a new pair of shoes or a dress to treat yo self. If you're like me then you are on a budget so where do you go? To affordable stores.....like H&M, Zara, Forever 21.....
Now I have made a much more conscious effort on trying to make the blend of fast fashion and US independent designers. I appreciate what fashion designers go through and love supporting small businesses, but it's still hard to pass up an affordable cute top.
This is why I was over the moon excited when I walked into H&M last weekend and saw this little green tag on a bunch of beautiful items.
You can read all about their new line here, but to give you a little run down it's basically about using eco-friendly/recycled fabrics and materials while providing better and more fair wages for oversea factory workers.
I picked up this dreamy dress because it just feels like a cool summer breeze.
I love the flowy top overlay and the way it moves
This means you can buy affordable fashion with less guilt! Basically you are saving the planet and making it a better place while looking super stylish....
Dress: H&M Conscious $59.95, buy it here