I Love Fashion/Fashion is Bad
Okay, it's time to talk for a little bit about what I want HELLO EBBIE to be. If you're just here for the pictures (or hate read) feel free to skip this, but if you're wondering how I choose what to feature and why, read on.
I've always loved fashion. I think I was in junior high when I bought my first Vogue and I've been overdressing ever since. I mentally catalog outfits I see on the street, I pause the DVR to study makeup on reality shows, and I ruthlessly edit my closet each season. But now I'm finding it harder to just go out and shop and not think about where my clothes are made or what ingredients are in my skincare.
First, the obvious: the fashion industry is the planet's second biggest polluter. Most people making our clothes are paid insanely low wages and work in terrible conditions. (If you want to argue about this, maybe this isn't the site for you.) Fast fashion (think Zara, ASOS, H&M) creates low quality clothes that are designed to be worn just a few times and then thrown away. We're buying more clothes than ever before - 400% more than we did two decades ago - and we're not disposing of these garments properly. When you include beauty (my other great love) it gets even worse. The US allows beauty companies to sell products made with hormone disrupting ingredients that have been linked to cancer and hurt our ecosystems when they're washed off. Until recently we were filling our oceans with tiny plastic beads so we could exfoliate our skin. So basically, all the pretty stuff I've ever loved is bad.
I don't think people don't know this stuff. There are a lot of arguments about what to do with this information though, and how bad things are, and how much everyone hates goop (I love goop, don't @ me. Their city guides are so useful!). It's easy to get into arguments about synthetic vs natural ingredients, organic cotton vs recycled polyester, or vegan leather vs traditional. It can be overwhelming and I think we're starting to miss the point. I suspect that the core reasons otherwise extremely conscious people buy fast fashion or unregulated beauty is because:
- It's cheap
- It's easier to find
- A lot of ethical, eco-friendly stuff is hideous (or in the case of beauty, doesn't work)
- Most people don't know it's unethical!
I think I can help with those things. This site will not show hemp ponchos. Packaging must be attractive and products must be effective; a t-shirt made with organic cotton does not need to cost $300. I'm doing the homework on every product on this site - if it's approved (more on that later) you can feel good buying it.
I'm also taking it a step further by highlighting companies with women founders and CEOs. Glossier may not be organic but I feel that the company does do a lot of social good by hiring women and fostering an "as you are" aesthetic for girls. Kylie Cosmetics is made in the US and has a female creator and is produced by a woman run company. Brother Vellies was founded by a young woman and works on empowering women in South Africa and Kenya.
Some of my looks won't contain 100% sustainably made/ethical items. That's because not everything I've ever bought is from a great company - but rather than toss it out now and replace it with something that's from a better source, I'm going to wear it until it falls apart. A large part of why fashion is such a giant polluter is because we purchase too frequently and don't use things for their entire lifespan. A great way to combat this is the #30wears campaign founded by Livia Firth; you're not helping until you're consuming mindfully.
I also want to address a recent trend in ethical fashion. While many sustainable fashion bloggers have endorsed condensing everything you own into a capsule wardrobe and owning a completely minimalist closet with only a few pieces in it; I will not advocate that. What I've found is that the people who do it usually want out after a few months, just like anyone on HGTV who has ever decided to move their family into a tiny house. Style evolves, pieces of clothing wear out, and honestly most of it to me just isn't fashion. It's great for travel but if you're wearing the same items every day they will get worn out and eventually you will get bored with it. I hate this weird movement towards daily uniforms and the idea that choosing something nice to wear is going to lead to decision fatigue. Be creative! Don't bore yourself! Part of living life is exploring how you want to look and feel.
I don't run a fashion blog where I show you two black sweaters and three pairs of shoes and expect you to continue reading. I also don't run a blog where I buy a shirt for the purpose of a single post and never put it on again. Fashion can fun and enjoyable and a great way to experience that is to be sure that you aren't purchasing something at the expense of others.
A resources section on this site is going to launch very soon and hopefully serve as a great guide for where to buy things like an off shoulder ruffle top that's made in the US, or a skin product not made by a beauty executive who keeps a picture of a crying teenager on their desk. In the meantime, products and brands that I feel good enough to recommend will have a smiley face symbol. It's the simplest and quickest way to let you know that it fits into the nebulous criteria of "good": either through the fabric, the ingredients, the social impact, the local manufacturing, or whatever else is behind it, and isn't keeping me up at night if I tell people on the internet to buy something.
So thanks for reading! Look for more updates to the site and Rihanna inspired fashion soon! In the meantime, feel free to comment or email me to let me know your thoughts (of course I mean praise only, please).