I’ve always loved fashion. I enjoy styling outfits as a way to express myself. Five years ago I started a fashion blog to share outfit ideas and fashion finds. Along the way, I started wondering why the clothing I bought cost so little. I looked into it and was shocked to learn about the mistreatment of global garment workers and the devastating environmental impact of clothing.
Leather tanneries spill a toxic concoction into waterways, fast fashion forces a quicker turnaround from design to end product and garment workers (often poor, young women of color) pay the price, and wealthy western shoppers over-consume and discard at a dizzying pace.
There had to be a better way.
I started to look for items that were ethically made, but it was hard. If only Seattle had a store where everything would meet my standards (sweatshop-free, organic, and free of animal products). No such store existed.
In May of this year, I left a comfy office job to open that place, an eco boutique I named Drizzle & Shine. I thought if I was looking for alternatives, so were other people.
It turns out they are! Some people pop in unaware because the clothing looks cute and that’s all that matters. But when they learn about my mission, they’re excited. No one prefers sweatshop-made goods. It’s just not always easy to know where to find alternatives.
Others are eco-shoppers who seek out organic, fair-trade, and vegan items and who want to support ethical companies. It’s great to meet these customers and help them find items that fit the bill.
Drizzle & Shine is a mix of women’s and men’s clothing, shoes, and accessories. I’ve had a lot of fun so far sharing ideas with customers and helping to make the shift. We don’t need to buy so much. We can buy less, but buy quality items that last. And we can spend our money wisely.
We all wear clothing, and together we have the power to change the fashion industry. It’s a multi-trillion-dollar global industry funded with our money. We can vote with our dollars and let corporations know what type of businesses we want to support.
If you’re interested in learning more about the clothing industry, I recommend the book “Overdressed: The shockingly high cost of cheap clothing” and the documentary “The True Cost”.
Jean White is the owner of Drizzle & Shine, an eco boutique in Seattle, WA. At Drizzle & Shine everything is made of materials that are kind to animals, earth, and people. Jean has a retail and writing background. She still maintains her fashion blog (with an eco twist now), and she is involved with a local animal rights group, the Northwest Animal Rights Network.