Maybe it’s time for a Fashion Diet

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By now, we’s all heard about the dangers of GMOs,  overeating, junk food, processed foods, pesticides. Fast fashion is no different. Our need for more and cheaper – our over consumption of basically disposable clothing – can be damaging to all involved in the lifecycle. The documentary True Cost is unveiling the human suffering, the damage to communities and their environments, just so that we can have a $5 t-shirt that we may wear only once. A few short sentences will never convey the destruction of the mass produced fashion industry, so I highly encourage you to watch the movie (Netflix/Amazon/iTunes). (For more info, here is our Beginner’s Guide to Ethically-Made Fashion.)

One of the many facts that you can’t unsee or unlearn:

Only 10% of the clothes donated to charity or thrift stores are sold.

The other 90% ends up in landfills or flooding markets in developing countries overseas. Hurting their economy and environment.

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(True Cost film still. Source.)

“The global trade of second-hand clothing is a multi-billion dollar industry for developed countries. With our clothing waste being sent overseas by the tons, there’s little chance of African countries, as a whole, developing their own textile trade. In the last 10 years, local industries, such as garment-making and tailoring, have collapsed, leaving hundreds of thousands of workers unemployed.”

Shannon Whitehead, “What really happens to your donated clothing

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I’ll be honest, I have always loved the idea of donating my clothes. You think you’re doing something to help out another person. I will be the first to tell you that I’m the Queen of Rationalization. I can find a bright side to most anything. Need a new dress for a party? No prob, I’ll just donate it later.

Before watching the documentary, I happened to read the popular The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and am slowly “Konmari-ing” the crap out of my house. Reducing and organizing my clothes was freeing, but also eye-opening. I had A LOT of clothes I didn’t wear. Either it didn’t fit or I didn’t really like it anymore, whatever the reason, I had clothes just sitting there. Taking up space and collecting dust. So after an honest purge, six garbage bags were filled.

The worst was the tiny little dagger I felt when looking at an item that I loved and it just sat there reminding me of time when it did fit. How freeing it was to kick those clothes – and the negative self-talk that came with them – out of my house.

These, the clothes that I loved but couldn’t wear, were the ones I gave to friends. What an absolute joy it was to see them try them on, twirl around, and feel beautiful. Clothes that give the gift of happiness. Another bag went to my dear friend who hand delivers clothing and food to homeless people on the streets of Boston. Clothes that can help keep them warm. The rest was dropped off at Savers. Clothes that will find a new home (and hopefully not in a landfill).

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  • Buy less.
  • Invest in quality pieces that will last. Here’s a list of some of my favorite ethical fashion brands.
  • Have extra jeans? Host a Sole Hope Shoe Cutting Party to cut shoe patterns to be made into shoes for kids in Uganda to protect their feet from harmful jiggers.
  • Trade/share clothes with friends.
  • Shop at thrift, vintage and consignment stores. Go rock a vintage Valentino jacket at your next holiday party. And jeans are always better worn-in.
  • Pull together clothes to be given directly to homeless or similar missions. Cradles to Crayons does an excellent job of involving the community (great for kids!) and giving directly to those in need.
  • Reduce the amount of cheap, fast fashion clothes you buy. I’m still working on this too, especially shopping for my boys. They only wear athletic pants (what they call “fancy pants”) and destroy them/grow so quickly that I end up at cheaply made places like Old Navy and Target.

Just as we teach our children: actions have consequences. Our need for more more more + cheaper cheaper cheaper has massive ethical and environmental consequences. The surprising thing for me, especially after Konmari-ing my own clothes, was the psychological impact of fashion in my own life. Why do we buy so much? Why do we feel like more will make us happier? Why do we feel like we deserve it? Stuff will never fulfill us. Stuff will never bring lasting joy.

As a side note, True Cost covers how horrible the cheap leather industry can be. At Bevy Goods, we are committed to investing in and using responsibly-sourced leather, which means our leathers are vegetable-tanned (reducing the amount of dangerous chromium that used) or comes from facilities that adhere to strict environmental codes and conditions. We are creating bags with lasting style + purpose: ethically-made bags that carry you from day to night. 

Sign up at Bevy Goods to join us on this journey and be the first to know when we are launching. And while you’re at it, let’s connect on InstagramFacebook & Twitter!

Kids Helping Kids

I recently brought the boys to volunteer at Cradles to Crayons‘ Giving Factory, with a local moms group. I have been waiting for this moment. When they would be old enough to know when it’s time to serve & work and not play. Six seems to be the magical number for my boys.

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Right as we arrived,  I quickly learned I would have to leave to move my car. And when I returned, I could see my boys already hard at work.  The stress caused by getting lost multiple times, being late, and not being able to find parking, was quickly washed away. There they were, all set up in the Toy section: gloves on, spray bottles in hand, toothbrushes for scrubbing. They were working. They were serving. They were loving other children.

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I can’t say enough about how great an experience it was. At the debrief, they told us our group helped 72 children. 72! The boys were so proud of this number. They quickly asked when they could come back and do it again. Scrubbing toys is such a fun and easy job for young kids. Older kids and adults can volunteer in one of the many different areas: sorting clothing, equipment, books.

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On the long walk back to the car, we talked about why it is important to serve others. We talked about how there are so many children who don’t have toys. We talked about gratitude. We talked about how God wants us to show His love to others. And for the first time in all my attempts to teach them about giving, I think they started to get it. They felt complete joy by being able to help other kids!

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Ways you can help?

>> Please consider volunteering at Cradles to Crayons in either their Boston or Philly locations.

>> Donate new or gently used toys, clothes, books, baby equipment.

>> Winter is coming! Heavy coats, mittens, boots, hats are needed. Even if you don’t have a Cradles to Crayons near you, donate to Salvation Army. They’ll even send a truck to you to pick up your goods.

6 ways kids can give & serve {fall edition}

I love my kids, I really do. But I love September because it means preschool starts up again. Back to school! I’m a sucker for routine (and being able to grocery shop by myself).

But as I look at our (quickly filling) calendar, I want to be proactive and schedule in time to give and serve with the boys. Which led to brainstorming what I can do with them…

Apparently my boys enjoy picking weeds, so why not find an elderly neighbor or widow to offer our services? We can rake leaves and pull weeds. God-willing, there won’t be any snow to shovel for awhile. Can’t find anyone to help out? We can always pickup trash around the neighborhood. My friend Ellie had a great idea for encouraging her kids help out. They use their fishing nets to pick up trash on the beach as they walked back to the car. The same could be done for the trash on the side of the road. (And best of all, it’s sanitary!)

We may not be thinking about Thanksgiving yet, but it is never too early to help food pantries stock their shelves so there is plenty of holiday food for all. Kids can help with the shopping and can help deliver the goods to your local church or food bank. Or search for a local food bank via Feeding America.

I want to kick myself in the shins every time I complain about clutter. That we have too much. I’m complaining about abundance when some have nothing. Not only do I need to go through my clothes to donate, kids can help by going through their toys to pick out the ones they want to give to other kids. And they can help play dress-up and try on clothes to see what they’ve outgrown. We can make a game out of it: See who can come up with the craziest outfit!

What are kids great at? PLAYING! Any new kids at the school? Encourage your kids to introduce themselves and ask the new kids to play with them. Are they wearing the same color shirt? That is apparently all it takes to make them new bffs.

Thanks to my friend Cara’s experience volunteering with her son, I am definitely planning a Cradles to Crayons afternoon for myself and the boys. And now I know to bring new underwear and socks. Perhaps we can even bring our clothes and toys to donate. Win-win.

I’ve mentioned the wonderfulness of Sole Hope before. They are always in need of donated medical supplies for their Foot Washing and Jigger Removal. Imagine the selflessness of washing someone’s jigger infested feet. Reminds me of Jesus!

Kids can help pick out the first aid items (listed below), help package them and bring them to the post office (field trip!).

  • Bar Soap
  • Sharpies
  • Large Safety Pins
  • Surgical Gloves
  • Cotton Balls
  • Medical Razor Blades
  • Medical Tape
  • Antibiotic Cream
  • Gauze
  • Band Aids

Mail them to: Sole Hope, PO Box, 1492, Asheville, NC 28802

What else are you doing with your kids this fall? I’m always looking for more ideas!

Teaching kids to give by volunteering (Cradles to Crayons)

One of the best ways to learn something new is to just do it. You can read all you want about a new hobby, a new sport, whatever it is. But until you actually do it, it’s not real.

So, as parents, we want our kids to grow up with compassion. With love for their neighbor. With a heart that desires to help others. As much as it’s important to talk through these things with them, they won’t fully grasp it until they starting “doing”. I’ve been struggling with finding ways to serve others with three (very energetic) 5 year old boys.

But, thanks to my friend Cara, we found our first place to serve.

Check out her post on volunteering with her 6 year old, on her blog Cara Soulia Photography. It is a wonderful journey that starts with sorting clothes and ends with her son discovering an unspoken need. Read the full blog post here.

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(Source Cara Soulia Photography)

Cradles to Crayons (located in Boston and Philadelphia)

Cradles to Crayons provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school and at play. We supply these items free of charge by engaging and connecting communities that have with communities that need.

GIVE TIME: If you live near Boston or Philadelphia, Cradles to Crayons’ Giving Factory is a great place to volunteer alongside your children.

GIVE MONEY: Live elsewhere? You can still donate money. Per their site,

$25 can give one child a personalized package of essential items.

$15 will give a child in-need a new backpack for the school year.

GIVE LOVE (AND CLOTHES): Need another way to give? Go through your children’s closets and donate their outgrown gently used clothing. This will give us something to sort through while we serve at the Giving Factory!

I look forward to taking the boys there to donate and sort through clothes and toys. But thanks to Cara’s experience, I now know to bring a few packages of new underwear for the children.