By: Kara Hoholik
The weather is warming up here in West Michigan which means muddy boots, pink cheeks, and spring cleaning. I’m not sure what it is about the sunshine and open windows, but it puts me into an organizing frenzy. In fact, I konmari’d my laundry room, pantry, and kitchen drawers just today while procrastinating writing this article!
I used to shuffle around my seasonal clothes this time of year as well, but ever since I started becoming more intentional with my fashion choices, I have enough room for everything, and then some! I pared down my closet and donated or sold what I didn’t wear, kept items that were multi-purpose and multi-seasonal, and bought only items that were secondhand or well-made and ethical, which overall reduced the amount of clothing I had by at least half.
During this process, I realized I had a habit of buying things I either already owned or had only one use for. I knew in the future I wanted to limit both of these issues by thinking creatively and being more intentional.
Conscious fashion starts at home.
This journey started when I was introduced to Sseko Designs by a friend and simultaneously fell in love with the company and was horrified to discover that modern-day slaves made most of the clothes I owned. Cue me going down a rabbit hole of late night internet research and major guilt. Is it even possible to find a balance where we all can flourish—those of us who make clothes, and all of us who wear them?
The answer is yes. I came out on the other side with a balanced and practical approach to creating a more sustainable and ethical wardrobe. After all, the most ethical clothing is the clothing we already have!
Align your values and feel good in your clothes.
At first, I was so overwhelmed with the options! There are a lot of factors to consider: environment, workplace safety, and fair wage to name a few. Since it can be hard to find clothing that checks ALL the boxes, I eventually narrowed it down to a few significant values that were most important to me and I set off in search of brands that fulfilled those values to the best of their abilities.
A search for ethical easter basket ideas led me to Treetops Collective and I was simply stunned at the beauty and simplicity of their mission. New Americans are often an overlooked group and this organization provides them with job opportunities, resources, support, and most of all, a community to help them flourish in their new home.
So, it took some time, but I now have many go-to places to shop whenever I am in need, including thrift shops. Not only is shopping secondhand budget-friendly, but for better or worse, the resources have already been used, and it’s worth giving something a second life versus adding it to the landfill.
This is a journey that I now help others embark upon—providing resources, support, and inspiration along the way. My work at Sseko, where I’m now an ambassador, as well as my workshops enable others to become intentional in creating a conscious closet.
Conscious fashion helps create flourishing communities.
One of the amazing things I have discovered in this journey is that my passion for social justice can be expressed through everyday things like a t-shirt and jeans. The solutions to the world’s big problems don’t have to be big. They can be achieved by regular people like me doing regular things like buying socially-conscious clothes.
This concept is beautifully expressed in the incredible and powerful communities built by brands like Sseko and Treetops. At Sseko, the women employed in our workshop in Uganda foster a bond with each other that is necessary if they are to succeed in becoming future leaders in a male-dominated society. Treetops was founded specifically so new American women can flourish during their transition to the United States and provide a stable future for their families.
By connecting women to community and opportunity, companies like Sseko and Treetops are able to provide space for healing and the chance for families to flourish. And they also provide the rest of us an opportunity to get involved, and vote with our dollar and our voice for a better future where all of us can thrive.
You can shop consciously through our newly released Spring Line, which features handmade ceramics, an eco-friendly welcome mat, and an adorable bodysuit! And don’t forget that Unisex, Women's, and Kid's Welcome Tee’s are 30% off all month with the code APRILSHOWERS.
Kara Hoholik is a socially conscious impact entrepreneur who serves female-owned businesses through her work at a tech startup. She can usually be found drinking coffee, writing articles, and traveling the world whenever she’s not chasing her three muddy children and husband around their 14-acre farm in West Michigan. You can connect with Kara on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or her website myeducatedstyle.com.