11 Things I’ve Learnt Since I Started Ethical Made Easy.
Today, Ethical Made Easy turns two. Truth be told, I can’t quite believe it.
I was 21 back then, and like most 21-year-olds, I loved to consume. I started Ethical Made Easy as a way to hold myself accountable to my consumer decisions; a platform to document my ‘green’ changes and motivate me to stay on track. But since then, it’s turned into the biggest learning curve of my life.
I’m certainly not at the end of that learning curve. I feel like it’s only just begun.
But while I’m still not there yet (who knows what ‘there’ really means?), I’d like to summarise what the past two years of running Ethical Made Easy has taught me. Not just about ethical fashion and sustainability, but life in general.
11 Things I’ve learnt since I started Ethical Made Easy:
01. The most sustainable thing you can do, is not exist.
With this in mind, while you are existing (which I hope you continue to do for a very long time), tread as lightly as you can. Even vegans, minimalists, and zero-wasters still have an impact on the planet.
Embrace the fact that you will never be perfect, and do the best you can, where you are, with what you have.
02. Ethical fashion is affordable. You just have to change your ideology around the value of clothes, and the frequency of consumption.
For example, at first glance, a swimsuit from one of my favourite swimsuit labels, BAIIA, seems expensive at $229 per swimsuit. However, as it’s two swimsuits in one, it’s $114 per swimsuit. The cost reflects that it’s handmade, made under ethical working conditions, and covers the cost of advertising and backend fees of running a business. It’s also shipped to you, for free. And the best part? It lasts a really long time.
If you’re not paying the price at checkout, someone else is. Ethical fashion is affordable when you adjust your ideas around how much you need, and budget according to the true cost of a garment made fairly.
03. Don’t beat yourself up if you find you need a takeaway cup or plastic bag. Instead, pat yourself on the back for how far you’ve come.
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: do the best you can, where you are, with what you have. We live in a world where it’s hard to escape plastic, systems are not in place for ‘reusables’ to be readily accepted or available, and that’s not our fault. Yes, we should be fighting for change and doing something about this, but don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself having to use single use items every now and then.
04. What difference can one person make? Said 7 billion people.
Take the plastic bag saga over the last year: change is happening, from our collective voices. We not longer have time to think of ourselves as one person who cannot make change.
05. We need to, as a collective, stop shitting on people or brands for what they aren’t doing right yet.
Some of my closest friends run small businesses that are zero waste, offer a natural alternative, and give a portion of profits to different organisations they care about. They are showing the world that business can be done better. Yet, they also bare the brunt of customers attacking them about using Palm Oil, although they can track it’s sustainable production. The alternative is to switch to coconut oil (which is actually worse), because it’s not tracked.
While this post isn’t about palm oil, (I’ll dive into this in the future), it shows the complexity of the issues businesses have to make decisions about, and the ignorance of customers who don’t understand that it’s not that simple. There is no right and wrong or black and white.
I’ve also met multiple business owners (both large and small), who are too afraid to talk about all the good they are doing, because they know they’ll get backlash for not doing everything perfectly. I personally think it’s good to be doing at least something. No business is perfect, nor are we, and the sooner we can accept that and praise them for the good they are doing, the better. Of course we should continue to question things, but do so kindly.
06. There is space for everyone.
The ethical fashion blogger sphere makes up probably 1% of the total influencer market worldwide. Don’t feel as though you can’t help to shape the space, and ultimately change the world. If I can do my little bit to influence those closest to me, you can too.
07. Be prepared to work hard, but also take time to rest.
Three weeks ago, I had my first full day off Ethical Made Easy in over a year and a half. It felt weird. I felt like I was slacking off, but I needed it. You can’t be creative, or even continue to be driven, if you don’t switch off altogether every once in a while. Prioritise time to switch off and enjoy the world around you.
08. Do you need it?
I try my best to express a balance between alternative places to shop that are ethical, while encouraging the question ‘do I need it?’. Yes, you should totally look at brands from the online brand directory I’ve worked hard to curate, but ONLY if you need it. I know that isn’t a good sales pitch, but it’s what I believe sustainable fashion is all about.
09. Support local.
Buying a dress from a lady at a farmers market may seem like a blip in your radar, but for her, it literally means the world.
10. Surround yourself with people that align with you.
This one is huge. When I first moved to Melbourne, I knew no one except a few friends from high school and my partner. A year later, and I have the most incredible network of like minded individuals surrounding me, that not only believe in my mission, but help to lift me up.
How? Reach out. Go to events alone. Reply to people on Instagram. Ask them to meet for coffee. The world’s your oyster here, you just have to make time.
11. Be a kind human. Kindness should stem from all decisions, whether they be business, personal, or socially related. Our world needs this more than ever.
To finish, I want to take a moment to thank and appreciate some of the key people that have surrounded me in the last two years, supported me throughout, and who I feel are some of the most incredible individuals shaking up the industry in ways I struggle to count. They are some of the most refreshing, caring, and down to earth people I’m lucky to be able to call my friends. Kate from Ethically Kate, Frankie from The Dirt Company, Amber from Baiia, Candice from Good & Clean, Lauren from Project 3 P, Amanda and Charlotte from Bob, Kira from The Green Hub, Sam from Ecomono, Emily from Serotonin, Mimi from Akhal, Megan from Walk Sew Good, Emily & Freddie from Kappi, Hanna and El from Dorsu, Al from The Daily Bar, The girls from The Ahimsa Collective, Keira Mason, Maddy from The Binding, and Brooke from Brooke Art Studio.
Lastly, I want to thank YOU. That’s right, you lovely human reading this. Ethical Made Easy started as an accountability tool, but it’s turned into a community of people I simply could not live without. Your daily choices, your weekly changes, and your constant drive to protect people and the planet is what keeps Ethical Made Easy going.
Thank you from the bottom of my ethically dressed heart,
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