5 Ways to Love Your Body Through Ethical Fashion

When I first started getting interested in ethical fashion it was out of a desire to make better choices for others - other people, animals, and our environment. But what I didn't realize at the time is that ethical fashion was also a better choice for me too.


Every day when we get dressed we are a telling a story about ourselves. This is what my career in Costume Design was built on, telling silent yet powerful stories about characters through what they wear. Our clothing choices give hints at when, where, and who we are. Our own story might be that we are fashionable, modest, a total hipster, or even that we don't care at all about fashion. But whether you think you’re intentionally styling yourself or not, every time we get dressed this story is being told to everyone we meet.

Beyond just what we are saying to others, we're also telling ourselves stories through our clothing. How can we value our selves if we don't value the things we clothe ourselves in?

If we view clothing as cheap, disposable, and disconnected from those who make it, what are we telling ourselves about the body in those clothing?

We spend all day wearing our stories, so if we want to love our bodies better, let's start with wearing stories that make us feel beautiful, connected, and…loved. We can use ethical fashion - fashion made with fair wages, without harming animals, and with consideration for our planet - to tell our bodies empowering stories about who we truly are.  


This is your one and only body, and it's worth treating that way. It's worth putting in high quality fabrics, organic fibers, things that are soft and styles that are comfortable. It's worth choosing carefully what you buy and valuing the things you wear, building long-term loving relationships with your clothing the same way you should with your body. When you invest in special pieces meant to last with the intention of caring for and keeping them you are telling yourself that your body is special and something you plan to keep.


Fashion especially impacts women, and with ethical fashion you are not alone. 80% of global garment workers are women, so when you shop fair trade you are likely wearing something that another woman made, something that provides her with quality of life and her children with hope for a future. You are connecting with the small businesses - many of whom are female owned - who design and sell these artisan goods. And when you are connected to the people - especially women - in every step of what you buy and what you wear, you realize you are part of a larger community of female bodies, all deserving of love.


Every time you choose to wear something that doesn’t use the bodies of others you're telling yourself a story about love. Most people agree that we don't want to hurt animals, so when you respect this deeply held, personal value, you are respecting both animal lives and yourself. When you honor your beliefs and values, living within your integrity, you build deep love and trust within yourself, and self love and self trust are the foundations of creating a harmonious relationship with your body and mind. 


There are many things we don't get to choose about our bodies, but we do get to choose what we put on them. We can choose things that make us feel good - things that empower women, that honor animals, that respect our skin through non-toxic textiles - or we can choose otherwise. By making choices about what we put on our bodies that make us feel loved, valued, and respected, we can't help but feel good about the body underneath. When you choose ethical fashion, you are choosing to tell yourself and others a powerful story about who you are. 


When you clothe yourself in beautiful stories - stories that break cycles of poverty, stories of women given dignified work, and stories about respecting the bodies of animals - that beauty becomes a part of your story as well. And while some beauty may only be skin deep, what we put on our skin affects what's under it too, so by choosing beautiful stories on the outside we can help create more beautiful stories on the inside too.

What are your favorite ways to use fashion to love your body?