Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Winter Coat Without Harm

I opened up the latest Mooshoes email and browsed around in the link to Vaute Couture, a vegan clothing company specializing in coats. I found a coat I really liked, but it was $300 (a special introductory price) and that's a lot for me to spend.

Sarah explores pigdom
Unrelated Pig Photo

The problem, aside from simply finding a coat made without fur trim or goose down, is that most coats are made from eco-unfriendly fabrics and made by people who aren't getting treated well or paid well at their work.

Many vegans work at non-profits, and it's difficult for them to afford ethical products. Its hard to get into the mindset of - hey, I only buy a coat once every 5 to 10 years, I can save up to buy a nice one - because we're so trained to be able to immediately afford clothes and shoes.

I personally hate shopping, so I only go once or twice a year. Generally only when my existing clothing becomes embarrasingly and irreparably stained or worn looking. I go shoe shopping even less. I used to purchase new running shoes more often, but then the whole barefoot running thing became popular and I started to question the value of 'support' in a shoe. Now my gym shoes are super old and worn looking, complete with holes. I make up for my frugality in this area by spending a LOT on food (and my education).

I'm totally sold on the value of organic food, and supporting local farmers who practice organic farming methods. If I ever waver about that $4 organic red bell pepper, I just think of that pregnant mother who picked grapes for a living and whose child was born with a rare deformity associated with exposure the pesticides sprayed on the grapes she was picking. I think about how she didn't have any health insurance. I think also about whether or not she will get cancer or suffer other health impacts from exposure to those pesticides. I've long since forgotten her name which I learned on a radio show eight years ago, but her story is burned into my brain.

My "solution" to avoiding sweatshop labor and buying eco-friendly in the last several years has been to buy used. I purchase my clothes at Goodwill or other second hand clothing stores. I realize this is kind of a copout because I should be directly supporting ethical businesses rather than not directly supporting unethical ones. Its difficult for me to convince myself to spend a lot on clothing. However, I sure could use a really warm coat this winter. I'll let you know if I end up buying the coat, and I'll review it too.

Coming up next (once I find the #*!&$ camera cord): Monstera Deliciosa, Indian Salad, Tom Yum Eggplant Stir Fry & Creamy Tomato Soup!