ETHICAL, LOCAL & SUSTAINABLE FASHION // SHANNON LEE
I am so excited to share that Shannon from Shannon Lee will be answering a few questions on the blog today about ethical fashion! I love following Shannon as she is so real and raw about motherhood, her struggles with mental health and her conscious decisions to shop more ethically.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi, Y'all. I'm Shannon Grochowski! I am a wife first and foremost to my husband, Jon. I first became a mother in 2009 and now lucky to have four little rascals filling what we call home in the Langley, BC area. I rely on grace heavily each day and not afraid to admit it. I am the writer, creator, and photographer for my blog, Shannon Lee Blog but find I'm on Instagram more these days. I love the community that has built up there where we all encourage one another. It's become a place where it's okay to have hard days and ask for help and a place to celebrate victories as women and mothers. Would love to connect with you there @shannonleeblog
2. How were you introduced to ethical, sustainable and local fashion? If you use a capsule wardrobe, please touch on that :)
The first ethical shop that I was introduced to was She Is Clothing about 3 years ago. It was then that I started to think more about the clothing that I was purchasing. Over the next few years, local markets and small shops started to become more popular. Conversations were starting on Instagram about slow and ethical shopping and I wanted to be part of that conversation. Using my own platform to showcase local/small shops helped me to start switching over completely. I wanted to live up to what I was saying and hold myself accountable.
3. How do you make it work being a family of 6 to not just shop whatever is cheapest?
Yes, being a large family made this transition a little difficult. We are also a family of one income so of course, we try to save money where we can. Honestly, it has been my own convictions that have led us to not just buy whatever is cheapest. I felt that I couldn't in good conscience purchase an article of clothing that I didn't know where it came from after looking more into the conditions and welfare of the factories where many, many clothes are being manufactured.
4. What tips would you give parents trying to switch their children's wardrobes over to more ethical pieces?
I would encourage them that it is a process. At first, it can seem very overwhelming. Habits are hard to break so give yourself grace when you accidentally purchase something without thinking. The biggest challenge we had was, cost. Shopping more ethically can be more expensive but I've found ways to save and not break the bank.
Tip #1: Follow local/small shops on Facebook and Instagram.
This is been great to keep up to date with what they are doing and also a way to see when sales are coming up. Like most shopping mall stores they will have sales during most holidays. They will even sometimes have random sale days and free shipping.
Tip #2: Join Facebook swap sites.
Now that shopping local has started to boom there are many people selling gently used items on these sites. A great one if you are in the Fraser Valley is this Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/257263251316344/ I have purchased a few items on there from some of my favorite local shops. You can also sell what you have. Ethically made garments have a great resale value.
Tip #3: Buy from Thrift Stores
Shopping ethically from a small shop isn't always an option for us. It's just not in the budget at times. For these times we choose to visit some of our favorite local thrift stores. Even though most clothing you pick up there wasn't originally made ethically you are helping the planet by buying second hand and you aren't putting your dollar back into the corporation that made the garment. Your money is going to the charity that the thrift store supports.
Tip #4: Less is More
I don't currently have a capsule wardrobe for any of us. It is one of my goals over the next few years. However, by saying that if you are just starting on the ethical shopping train this would be a great time for you to start. Our society, unfortunately, glamourizes having more. But having a simple wardrobe cuts down stress and saves you money.
Try to really think the next time you go to make a purchase for clothing. Is this something that can transition over the seasons or at least two out of the four? Can I dress it up and wear it as a more casual piece?
Selecting clothing this way gives you a closet that is less cluttered and each piece is multifunctional and ones you love.
5. How do you talk to your kids about fashion? What if they want a garment that doesn't fall into your values as a family?
I'm lucky that my kids aren't extremely interested in shopping just yet. We have touched on the subject a little bit but it will be a bigger conversation in the coming years. For now, I try to lead by example in how I purchase clothing for myself and the family. I don't think we've been to a mall in over 2 years to shop for clothing.
6. What are some of your favourite shops?
My current favourite shops are:
Kewe Clothing (I love the sweaters and sweatpants, extremely soft and high quality)
VonBon (I love pretty much everything this brand puts out. However, it is also one of the more expensive ones. This is where the swap sites and sales have been key for us.)
Minimoc (love the mocs for younger babies)
Little Bean & Co. (this is a retail small shop in Abbotsford, BC. She sells a ton of local/small shop ethical clothing)
As for thrift stores:
Talize in Langley, BC. (great for clothing. They will have 50% days which has been great when switching seasons with the kids.)
Unika (I recently came across this one. It's in the Langley, BC area. They have a mixture of used and new items. This is a women's only one.)
And for myself, I love Shop Chews!