Roberts, 29, pictured July 10, 2013, has an
eclectic taste for used clothing. She can't even
remember the last time she purchased something new
from a retail shop. Roberts says she enjoys the
thrill of the hunt in finding pre-loved pieces and
it's fun to take advantage of things that
otherwise would've ended up in the garbage
ó Kristine Huson can spot a designer label at Goodwill
in seconds. She can zip through the racks of her
favorite vintage store even faster.
42-year-old South St. Paul, Minn., woman has joined an
ethical fashion movement of consumers striving to be
more mindful of their buying habits. These socially
conscious style mavens want to know where their clothes
came from, who made them and how they got here. For
some, that means buying American-made; others sew their
own. Shoppers like Huson turn to the past.
shopping vintage, I know that the garments were made
well by union garment workers, no one else is likely to
have them, and they have already stood the test of
time," said Huson, whose wardrobe is 85 percent
vintage. "I can buy a new dress and know that itís
not going to end up in a landfill somewhere Ö itís
living a new life on my shoulders."
has steered clear of mass retailers for as long as she
could dig through her grandmotherís closet. For some,
itís taken the deadliest disaster in the history of
the garment industry to give them pause about their
purchases. More than 1,100 factory workers died in
Bangladesh following a much-publicized building collapse
in April. For some pundits, "fast fashion"
suddenly became "fatal fashion."
price for cheap fashion is slave labor and inhumane
working conditions," said Beth Bowman, 35, of St.
Paul. "I try not to participate in that, but maybe
once a year I do want some cute, trendy earrings for
many Americans say they would prefer to buy
American-made products, only 2 percent of clothes bought
in the United States are actually made here, according
to the American Apparel and Footwear Association. In the
1960s, 95 percent of what we wore was made here,
according to Save the Garment Center.
disconnect makes it difficult to change habits, said Hye-Young
Kim, an assistant professor in the University of
Minnesotaís retail merchandising program.
say fast fashion is like fast food, because itís
addictive and unhealthy," Kim said. "But like
the slow food movement, consumer activists are
organizing some lifestyle change movements. Consumers
will dictate the direction of future retailing."
Lyndenís affinity for American-made clothing started a
decade ago when he bought his first pair of
American-made Leviís in San Francisco. They held up
better than other jeans, so he started to pay attention
to where all of his clothes came from.
he says, itís much easier to find domestic-made
brands. The 45-year-old small-business owner ó who
even buys American-made socks ó is suddenly en vogue.
style isnít defined by whatís trendy but by how it
was made," he said. "I just get excited when I
see that ĎMade in the U.S.A.í tag."
clothes can also come with a higher price. Once Justin
Holinka changed his thought process, it was easier for
the 26-year-old Minneapolis stock analyst to spend $250
on one pair of American-made jeans over three pairs of
got fed up with the fact that theyíd fall apart,"
he said. "Iíd rather buy a few things that are
going to last me a long time."
admits she does shop at H&M and Macyís for modern
accessories to pair with her vintage dresses, and she
doesnít wear retro shoes.
always add a modern element so it doesnít look like Iím
wearing a costume," Huson said. "I donít
want to look like I fell off the ĎMad Mení
this wave of socially conscious shopping gains steam,
business at secondhand stores is picking up, especially
among women. Allison Bross-White recently moved her
consignment shop, B. Resale, to a new location in south
Minneapolis thatís twice as big.
driving force in the growth of secondhand businesses is
the fact that itís become more acceptable to wear used
clothing," she said. "Before the recession,
there was a stigma."
DIY ethic also is on the rise. People have always been
into sewing quilts or bags, but in the past two years,
Trish Hoskins of sewing and knitting shop Crafty Planet
has seen an uptick in fashion sewing.
number of members at BurdaStyle (www.burdastyle.com), a
five-year-old social network for sewing novices, grew to
753,184 in mid-May, a rise of 47 percent from a year
earlier, the company said.
sales are booming, too, with sales in the United States
expected to top 3 million in 2012, according to SVP
Worldwide, maker of Singer sewing machines. Thatís
double the number from a decade ago.
trend is driven partly by the popularity of
fashion-focused TV shows, but Hoskins says itís more
than that: "People want to be able to customize
their look without compromising their ethics and
breaking the bank."
much as Greg Martin loves his American brands, the
44-year-old Minneapolis man said itís difficult to
achieve a 100 percent ethically sound wardrobe.
costs a lot of money." he said. "Itís kind
of sad, but I donít think you could do an entire
wardrobe of all U.S.A. goods. Youíd have to be pretty