10 Fair Trade Dresses for Dressember

Dressember is approaching quickly! For the entire month of December I’ll be wearing a dress every day and posting a picture to my Instagram in order to raise awareness about human trafficking, and to raise money to help combat modern day slavery.

While working to help eradicate slavery, I also want to support fair trade clothing companies, rather than pour more money into companies who exploit their workers (sadly, this includes most of our favorite brands. For more info, see here). Instead, I’ve rounded up ten beautiful dresses that I would love to wear during Dressember, all manufactured by ethical clothing companies.

Albion Dress

I am a sucker for stripes. They are so versatile during Dressember–I pair them with jean jackets, floral scarves, even plaid. I’m definitely going to purchase this adorable long sleeved dress from Albion for $78. I have two pairs of super cute leggings and a swimsuit from Albion, a fair trade company that produces some of the most Instagram-worthy pieces I’ve seen. If you’re in Salt Lake you can visit their store in person (lucky you!).

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Yellow is my color. I love a good mustard yellow sweater or dress, and this one, also by Albion for $68, is gorgeous. It looks so cozy for fall and winter.

Bead & Reel Dress

Bead and Reel carry so many items on my splurge wish list. They are a great source for ethical and female-owned companies. This beautiful wrap dress by Symbology is such a statement piece. It’s an investment at $168, but I imagine that the forgiving cut would allow you to wear this dress through maternity and nursing.

Dressember Dress

I’m planning on purchasing this simple but elegant olive dress at the Dressember party this week. It is manufactured in a fair trade factory in Nepal, and it was designed specifically for us “Dressemberists” by Brit Moore Gilmore of The Giving Keys. This dress is $60.

Everlane dress

Everlane is a great resource for ethical, work appropriate clothing. All of their designs are sleek, modern and simple. I love the stripes on this crisp dress for $75, and they have plenty of other dresses I’m eyeing!

Krochet Kids Dress

This burgundy shade is my favorite for winter, so I’ve been checking out this casual t-shirt dress from Krochet Kids. At $54 it’s the most affordable dress on my list, and I’m already picturing it with black leggings, a jean jacket, and brown boots.

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I love everything about this yellow plaid shift dress from Mata Traders. I literally want to style it exactly like the model and then go play in a field! This one is $89.

Mata Dress 2

Another option from Mata Traders is this blue ikat shift dress. This dress is so timeless and would be perfect for teaching. It is $98 and manufactured at a fair trade women’s cooperative in India.

People Tree Dress

This sleek black dress is such a staple piece in an ethical wardrobe. It’s $115 from People Tree, an amazing company out of the UK. I ordered a dress from them last year and I had to talk with my credit card company to approve the purchase since it was outside of the United States. It shipped surprisingly quickly, and I’m actually wearing the dress I purchased right now as I type!

Elegantees Dress

I can never have enough black dresses, and I particularly love dresses that are slim on top and then float away at the waist. The neckline on this swing dress from Elegantees is so flattering and feminine. I recently purchased a different dress from Elegantees and tried two different sizes before ultimately returning it since it did not quite fit my body type. Their customer service is fantastic, and shipping was free both ways. I’m going to order this one for $78 to replace my first purchase since I still want to support the company, and I know that my purchase directly supports women in Nepal who have been rescued from human trafficking.

I like to remind my readers that rather than focusing solely on finding good deals, my aim is to find quality, beautiful pieces by companies that respect both their employees and the planet. I buy much less clothing than I used to, but I often pay more per item than I was accustomed to paying before I started purchasing fair trade clothing. The transition takes some getting used to, but know that there is a reason that these dresses cost more than the cheap, fast-fashion dresses at the mall.

I hope that you’ll join me in doing Dressember this year, and that you’ll consider wearing a fair trade dress. Please tag me on Instagram if you end up rocking any of these dresses! Happy Dressember to you!

My Dressember Fundraising Page

Ethical Weekend Style

This year my resolution was to only purchase clothing that is fair trade or made in the United States. After participating in Dressember and watching the documentary The True Cost, I felt convicted about how my frivolous fashion purchases affect the environment, the global economy, the lives of individual workers, and even my own happiness. Ten months into this journey, I have learned so much more about ethical fashion, and I’ve found several fair trade brands that make beautiful clothing while also fulfilling a mission to improve the lives of women.

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One of these companies is Elegantees. They employ women in Nepal, and actively participate in the effort to rescue sex trafficking victims on the Nepal-India border. They also make ethical and fashionable clothes. I love purchasing from them because I know that not only am I investing in a well made, lovely piece of clothing, but my money is helping to keep a woman employed in a dignified job.

When I saw this top I knew I had to buy it–it’s called the Megan. I love the asymmetrical hem with a longer cut in the back. It’s perfect for my every day teaching style, or as an easy, casual shirt for the weekend. It’s comfortable and fits perfectly (I ordered a medium). I even made an error when entering my shipping information and Elegantees worked quickly and kindly with me to rectify my mistake and get my order shipped to me within a few days.

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Additionally, Elegantees is working with Dressember again this year to create, not one, but FIVE styles of Dressember dresses. I’ve already ordered the Penny dress to add to my Dressember collection. I’ve also got my eye on the Courtney dress because apparently I can’t get enough black, hi-low pieces!

The dresses and shirts I’ve purchased from Elegantees cost a little bit more than I was used to spending on clothing. In the past I did a lot of my shopping at places like Target and TJ Maxx. Those places have some really cute outfits at great prices, but these days I am much more selective about how much I buy, and who I am supporting with my money. I could make a huge corporation even richer, or I could literally help keep a woman out of a sweatshop with my purchase. Whenever possible, I choose the latter.

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Since I have been buying simpler, more classic pieces that I can wear for years to come, it’s also been fun to add some jewelry to my collection. I love the unexpected yarn detail on this Joy Necklace from Noonday Collection. Noonday is another Dressember partner that offers gorgeous fair trade jewelry, handmade by artisans all over the world. You can search their website for a Noonday Ambassador in your area. I’ve always placed orders online, but ambassadors also host trunk shows where you can check out their jewelry in person.

As I continue on my journey toward becoming an ethical consumer, I want to share what I learn with you. For now, I will only be providing links to items that are fair trade, made in the United States, or ethically produced in some way. I still own clothes that I bought before I made this shift in my purchasing habits, and I see no reason to throw them out and simply create more waste. Ideally, I’d like to transition to a fully fair trade wardrobe, but that will take time. It will also take creativity, and I welcome the challenge.

 

 

Photography by Joyetic