15 Places I Love to Shop (2018 Edition)
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I love “slow fashion” brands (see definition below). As I became more vocal about what goes on behind closed doors at clothing manufacturers, I had many friends and family members ask me where I shop. After being asked the same question multiple times, I created a list last Spring of my favorite ethical places to buy from. As the year went on, and I started to research more, my mindset on some of the companies has changed, so I wanted to recreate my list and update it for you!
To begin, let’s define slow fashion: Fair trade fashion (sometimes called slow fashion) can be summed up by the “triple bottom line” or “three P’s".” A triple bottom line company or organization is one that: focuses on bettering the PLANET through sustainable efforts, helping PEOPLE (whether through better pay and work conditions, giveback programs or educational options) and PROFIT (because what company does not want to make a living doing what they love?)
With three of those factors in mind (sustainability, ethical treatment/pay of workers and inclusion of giveback programs) I consolidated my top 15 choices to shop at the year of 2018 and divided them into sections below:
Spoils of Wear: Located off of Selby Ave, the name Spoils of Wear is a take on the term “Spoils of War". A spoil of war is when you have succeeded in battle and come out of it with riches and power. Although Jill, the owner, is not an advocate for war or dictatorship, she is an advocate for overcoming battles in the fashion industry. She does fight against conformity and pretentiousness (which are huge factors in this industry), but mostly she fights against the ‘fast fashion” production of clothing. Spoils of Wear is always full of friendly faces (and pugs!), but more importantly the production of their clothes have environmentally sustainable qualities and are made ethically. For more information on Spoils of Wear, see their about page here. To learn more about Jill’s take on slow fashion, read her article here.
I teamed up with Spoils of Wear to show how you can mix patterned pieces like a pro (see post here).
Hackwith Design House: Hoping to promote long lasting, great quality, versatile clothing, Hackwith Design House emerged in 2013 with one limited edition design available. In keeping with this mindset, Hackwith still only puts out one limited edition design at a time, but on a weekly basis (with no more than 25 pieces made). This, and the fact that an item is not created until your order is officially in, not only reduces waste, but creates unique products that no one else can own. To learn more about Hackwith Design House’s mission, click here. To shop their latest arrivals, click here.
I recently did a blog post about my favorite piece from Hackwith Design’s most recent line (see blog post here).
Karma Boutique: If you love super feminine style, I would highly recommend Karma Boutique. They have so many fun patterns and color options and they have a huge assortment of jewelry and handbag options. As part of the Selby at Snelling Business Association, Karma Boutique regularly partners with local non-profits to enhance the local community and livelihood of those who are in need. You can know where your money is going when you make a purchase from Karma because they have their current partnership(s) displayed at the registers. Karma Boutique can only be purchased in their brick-and-mortar location off of Selby Ave. Click here to check out their Instagram.
Click here to see how Karma Boutique and I took a traditional trench coat and recreated it into an off the shoulder look.
Kokoon: If you like shopping from the comfort of your home, or your friend’s home, then you will love the set up of Kokoon Fashions. Laine Sou Weinberg started this company 30 years ago with her husband with the intention of creating a shopping experience that is closer to home. Made ethically and locally, Kokoon items can be purchased through their online store OR through one of their 70+ friendly representatives nationwide. Weinberg believes in the fit and quality of her clothing because she has made clothing for women of all body types. She loves her products so much that she is known to regularly wear her own creations! To learn more about Laine and her company, click here. To shop her newest arrivals click here.
To see my favorite Kokoon piece in my closet, click here.
Way the Label: If “true to you” fit, classic pieces are more your style, Way the Label has a full range of easy-to-wear separates that you can love and rock for years to come! A joint venture created by three University of Minnesota graduates, Way the Label aims to create pieces that are timeless and tailored to you. For more information on Way the Label (and their three designers) click here. To shop their newest collection, click here.
Ever wanted to know how to create meaningful connections with brands? See what tips Way the Label and I recommend for building company partnerships here.
The Fitting Room MPLS: Having recently rebranded (used to be Showroom Boutique) and opened in June, The Fitting Room MPLS is a curated space filled with items from 10+ local, ethical or sustainable companies (all chosen by the owner Kimberly Jurek-Valanzasca). Due to its variety of products, styles and prices, you cannot leave The Fitting Room MPLS without a piece that you love! To learn more about The Fitting Room MPLS, see their Minnesota Monthly feature here. The Fitting Room MPLS is a brick-and-mortar store located off of W 38th St in Minneapolis.
The Fitting Room recently worked with me to create the perfect happy hour outfit, to see what items we picked, click here.
Global Mamas: Having built a strong reputation the last 15 years, Global Mamas is known for the amazing ways they have changed the lives of African women. By giving them steady incomes, teaching them skills, helping to improve their health and giving them the ability to save up for the future, Global Mamas has given their female artisans the power to live in a way that they are not only financially provided for, but one that also leaves them feeling prosperous and happy! To learn more about Global Mamas mission, click here. To see their full range of products, click here.
Keep an eye out on The Volk Magazine website to see Global Mamas featured in our Ethical Holiday Gift Guide!
Arc’s Value Village: Arc’s Value Village is one of the leading promoters of sustainability and upcycling in the Twin Cities. It is a company that cares about reducing waste in landfills and enriching the lives of the people they partner with. Arc’s has a variety of events that help fund organizations that ensure opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (like down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and fetal alcohol syndrome to name a few)! To learn more about Arc’s Value Village, click here. To find one of their four Twin Cities locations, click here.
Are you a #girlboss who loves comfort? Arc’s Value Village and I collaborated to show you how to turn lounge wear into office wear, see here.
Collective Market Clothing Swap: Part clothing swap, part shopping event, Serena Fallahi Tittl has created a space for thrift lovers and trendy influencers alike. Started last fall, it has been a huge success in the Twin Cities fashion community (even getting air time on The Jason Show this fall fashion week!) and has made upcycling your clothing cool again. With all of the events going on during MN Fashion Weeks, this is the event I look forward to the most every season. To learn more about what inspired Serena to create Collective Market, click here. Keep your eyes peeled for the next sale event coming this spring during MN Fashion Week!
To see my favorite find from The Collective Market, click here.
St. Catherine University Clothing Swap: Gotta rep my alma mater here, folks. As part of the fashion association board that started this clothing swap, it is near and dear to my heart. Being able to educate my college community and get them excited about “new to them” clothing was a fun challenge for me. The St. Kate’s Fashion Association usually does two clothing swap events per school year, so I would assume one is coming this spring. How it usually works is that you either bring items to donate and can take whatever you’d like, or you bring $5 and can take whatever you’d like. To stay up to date on the fashion association and in the loop on the next clothing swap, follow their Instagram account here.
To see a post I wrote a few years ago about the St. Kate’s clothing swap, click here.
Buffalo Exchange: Started in 1974, Buffalo Exchange aims to be the leader in the nationwide resale fashion industry. Promoting an enriching workplace for their employees, creating a clean, fun environment for their customers and showing that recycled clothing is not “old hand me downs” is all a part of Buffalo’s ideals. To learn more about Buffalo Exchange’s story, click here. To find a Buffalo Exchange location near you, click here.
To learn more about how you can be eco-friendly, and to see my favorite Buffalo Exchange cardigan, read my ethical + eco-friendly post here.
Strey Designs: Made by local makers and manufacturers, Strey Design pieces are created with three goals in mind: 1) Is the piece FUNCTIONAL? - Is it designed to cater to all of the needs the customer could have, 2) Is it VERSATILE? - Is it ready to go wherever you are and whatever you’re wearing and 3) Will it be DURABLE? - Made of strong materials, brass hardware, thick leather straps and quality cotton lining, Strey makes bags that are made to last for years to come. To learn more about Strey Designs, click here. To shop their collections, click here.
Strey Designs put out my favorite bag of the season this fall, to learn more about it and why I love it, read here.
Fair Anita: After meeting many women at a domestic violence shelter in Peru, Joy McBrien teamed up with a local artisan named Ana (affectionately called Anita) and gave these women a chance at a steady income that would allow them to leave their abusive partners. When you buy a Fair Anita product, you are supporting one of the 8,000 artisans (in 16 countries) to 1) keep their job that pays them 3X the liveable wage for their area, 2) trains them on how to be leaders and provides business knowledge and skills for them to take with them in the future and 3) are a part of philanthropic giving, as Fair Anita supports other “do-good” business’. To learn more about Fair Anita, click here. To see their newest line of jewelry and accessories, click here.
You know that I have a heart for women supporting women. To see my favorite piece from Fair Anita and how your purchase can impact their livelihood, see my post here.
The Salvage Heart: If you’re a slow fashion lover like me, then you know that keeping items out of landfills is what I’m all about. Made from old leather jackets and clothing items, Salvage Heart jewelry is completely recycled, thus eliminating the items that would have otherwise been stuck rotting away in landfills. With fun colors and eccentric styles, Nadia Kuhl makes sure that her items are not only sustainably responsible, but also fashion forward. To learn more about The Salvage Heart, click here. To visit Nadia’s Etsy site, click here.
To see my favorite pair of Salvage Heart earrings from this past season, click here.
True Ethic: With an aspiration to bring artisans, ethics, beauty and shoppers together, True Ethic not only supports national and international makers (creating a joint community and providing them with a reliable income), but also rescues victims of sex trafficking, providing them with restoration and stability through education and job training. To learn more about True Ethic, click here. To see their wide range of accessories, homegoods, artwork and cards, click here.
Keep an eye out on The Volk Magazine website to see Global Mamas featured in our Ethical Holiday Gift Guide!
5 PLACES I PLAN ON TRYING:
There are still so many places I haven’t been to but want to go to! Listed below are my top 5 I plan on trying out this upcoming winter, let me know if shopped from any of these places and why you like them in the comments section below!
To conclude this post, there are many solidified (and emerging) companies that are focusing more and more on the treatment of their workers and how their business’ affect the environment and its future. Of course, we always have the right to turn a blind eye and continue shopping at stores which are not fair trade or sustainable, but I would hope that, after reading this, your mindset on fashion has at least slightly changed. I know prices are higher, but would you rather have a $5 shirt that lasts 5 wears or a $30 shirt that last 5+ years? Would you rather give your money to power hungry corporations or to skilled artisans whose livelihood is based off of your purchase. Buying from these companies not only supports our local economy, but affects individuals nationwide. Never forget the power of your dollar, friends, that money tells companies what you value more than your words do! I would encourage you to support these companies/organizations and, if you’re in the Twin Cities area, check out Fourpost coming to the Mall of America this holiday season.