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How To Celebrate Mothers With Ethical Fashion

Sica Schmitz

Posted on May 11 2018

How To Celebrate Mothers With Ethical Fashion

Motherhood is a something I feel a bit conflicted writing about.

As someone who is 100% sure that I do not want biological children, I'm definitely not qualified to talk about or even understand much of the motherhood experience. As someone who has been through the death of a parent, I am hyper-sensitive to how a day like Mother's Day is a painful public reminder to those who no longer have a living mother. Or to those who want to be mothers, but aren't, or can't be; or to those who have lost children, and the part of their motherhood that goes along with that; or to those who have living mothers or living children with whom they are strained or estranged. And I know so so many people who fall into any number of these categories and that leaves like, 3 people who can actually fully enjoy Mother's Day.

But at the same time, I have a very special relationship with my own mother, and through that a deep appreciation for the beauty of motherhood. She has been my longest friendship, and my greatest supporter. She's shared my sign, my dark sense of humor, and my wild hair (or more accurately, I've shared hers). She's taught me about entrepreneurship, instilled in me a deep love for animals, and inspired me with her steadfast displays of forgiveness. She has been my role model in perseverance, in faith, and in telling the truth, regardless of the consequences.

I mean, don't get me wrong, we both drive each other totally crazy sometimes, but I've always known that she would be there for me no matter what (and she has been), and that I would be there for her (and I hopefully have been).

"I love the idea that it doesn't take one person only to achieve your potential. It takes a village, it takes a community, a street, a teacher, a mother."

- Mira Nair

I know that our relationshp is very rare, however, whatever your relationship is to your mother or motherhood, I hope this week we can all find a way to honor the mothers in our lives, and here are some of my ideas.


Globally, there are over 40 million garment workers, and over 80% of them are women, many of whom are mothers.

So when we're talking about the epidemic of low wages across the fashion industry, we're talking about an epidemic of exploiting women - and mothers.

This is not only an ethical problem, but also an economic one. Women - mothers - invest up to 90% of their income back into the health and wellbeing of their families and communities, so when women aren't making living wages, families and communities suffer, too.

But it doesn't have to be this way.


By shopping fair trade, we're ensuring living wages for mothers, who in turn can offer a better future for their children, and our world. And with so many amazing fair trade brands, it's so easy to do!


There are more cows in America being raised for food and fashion then there are people living in America, and each one of those cows came from a mother (and was most likely separated from her within days of being born).

In fact, so many animals are needed to fuel the fast fashion leather industry that the demand is outpacing the supply of byproducts from meat and dairy.

This current system uses mothers' bodies for their milk and for their babies, then further monetizes their deaths, which is an issue for feminists everywhere.

But it doesn't have to be this way.


By shopping vegan fashion, we're honoring the bodies of females - especially mothers. And with so many amazing vegan brands, it's so easy to do!


Conventional cotton production is now responsible for 18% of worldwide pesticide use and 25% of total insecticide use. A new pair of jeans uses over 900 gallons of water. And fashion as a whole is considered the 4th most polluting industry (yikes!).

And it's not just how it is made - it's how much is made, too. According to The True Cost, the world now consumes about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year - that's 400% more than the amount we consumed just two decades ago! This means that the average American now generates 82 pounds of textile waste each year, which adds up to more than 11 million tons of textile waste from the U.S. alone.

But it doesn't have to be this way.


By shopping organic cotton, small batch production, or just by simply buying less (and wasting less), we can have a huge impact on the amount of resources needed to create - and dispose of - fashion.

Dresses: Maven Women | Shoes + Belt: Bhava | Jewelry: Kind Karma, Lucy & Jo, Everything Enamour | Blazer: Second Hand

A special thank you to Lost Mountain Lodge for letting us use your beautiful location for this photoshoot!

A note on ethics in writing: 

Many of the items in this piece were kindly gifted to me - and you will continue to see them in future stories because I love to re-wear things. I may sometimes (but not always) use affiliate links in my blog when talking about products or services that I truly suggest, which means that I may get a small commission if you end up buying or trying something through a link I share. This is one of the ways that I continue to fund the stories and programs that Bead & Reel creates and supports.

1 comment

  • Hope Williams: May 11, 2018

    Beautifully done Sica! I’m impressed with the role you have taken on in our world and I’m proud to call you a friend. Thank you for this article; it’s so very well done and inspiring. XO Hope

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