An Americana Look with Imported Goods...

Boy shirt in stripe linen, J. Crew. White blazer, Tommy Hilfiger. Secondhand denim shorts (similar here). Red leather flats, Gap (similar here). Vintage scarf.

     Nothing says summer to me more than denim cut off shorts. I've never been one to sport butt-cheek-bearing styles that were popular during my early high school years. Rather than falling under the category of shorts whose pockets are longer than the inseam, these cut-offs are the perfect slouchy fit. I actually scored these a few years ago in a clothing exchange and they have become a summer favorite.
    Instead of styling them in traditional beach-bum fashion, I wanted to clean them up a bit and show just how versatile a similar pair can be. Whether you're going to make your own high-waisted pair from thrifted mom jeans or look online for the perfect pair, you can definitely incorporate some jorts into your wardrobe without sacrificing personal style. After all, denim cut-offs are the perfect layer if you just aren't wanting to bear all. 
    I've chosen to pair mine with some classic, American staples. While the brands I'm wearing in this post are pretty well-known for recreating that Americana feel for the masses, none of them actually manufacture their own goods in the United States. In fact, Gap has recently been in quite a bit of hot water over not signing a safety agreement to improve conditions in Bangladesh. While Tommy Hilfiger is an iconic, seemingly patriotic brand, even this brand can't escape from the consequences of outsourcing labor to save a few bucks. Fortunately for me, my personal favorite of the brands I'm wearing here, J. Crew, seems to have its stuff a bit more together. J. Crew does have partnerships with various "Made in the USA" brands; but, as with many other big retailers that I've seen, they seem to be focusing on the male demographic.
     I chose to bring these issues to light with outfit photos to show that I'm not infallible when it comes to my shopping habits. I've set some quantifiable guidelines for myself in my shopping manifesto. In general, I'm doing well and purchasing mainly American-made or secondhand goods; but I still have items from these brands in my closet. I still like a lot of what they sell, even if I have put a moratorium on buying imported goods. However, I know that simply turning away from these brands and ignoring the reality of the situation isn't enough. 
     But, as Fashionista reports in one of the best articles I've read covering the factory collapses in Bangladesh earlier this year, boycotting the brands who use those factories simply isn't enough. This creates a cyclical effect: the companies will make less and will therefore want to pay workers even less. Instead, it's our job as the consumer to take a stand with our words instead of just our dollars. These jobs are the livelihood of our fellow humans. Instead of boycotting brands that you might happen to still love, write letters to urge them to change their practices. 
     We are absolutely on the cusp of a manufacturing revolution. This year's tragedies have caused a stir within the fashion community. Instead of shimmying into our new, unethically made goods, we actually have the power to go back to ethical practices. After all, taking a stand makes you look better than any outfit ever could.


Victoria B said...

Nicely put. I hope that the Bangladesh tragedy helps focus the minds of consumers; we all need to wake up to the fact that fashion incurs a cost, and if we, the consumers, don't pay it, the workers do. It's high time the shopping public accepted that a tee shirt can't be ethically produced for $2 - and the person who suffers is the person on the factory floor. Fashion lovers need to pull together to make retailers understand that the race to the bottom has to stop; how many of us would actually suffer if we could no longer buy a pair of jeans for $8 or new shoes for $10? Fashion should never be disposable; buy less, and buy better. And let culpable retailers know why you don't want to buy their goods!

Chiffon Cloud said...

I enjoy this look you've put together. It does break my heart to hear about the people in Bangladesh who are suffering from dangerous working conditions to make the clothes that me and other people enjoy wearing. Have you ever heard of change.org? Its a website that allows you to sign petitions. I've found two petitions that I've signed in hope that the people of Bangladesh will get the fair working conditions and overall justice they deserve. the petitions can be found here: http://www.change.org/petitions/walmart-gap-join-fire-safety-program-fix-death-trap-factories

following your blog, check mine out?


Kitsune-kun said...

yay for longer shorts! and words. I pretty much only buy second hand but it is important to remember what voices can do. also, I love the fall-off of your lens. is it the 85mm? I have it too, but on a cropped sensor so I don't think it creates the same effect, but it looks almost tilt-shifty and I really like it.

Rachel Sullivan said...

The whole ethical fashion thing is something I've really been struggling with lately. I heard an npr interview where a factory worker lady was saying basically what you said, that if we stop buying from them to boycott their bad working conditions, then they'll be out of a job, and that's not good. We've got to express our opinions and take a much more active role in deciding what to wear, and sometimes it's hard for me to know what's a good decision and what's a bad one.
Anyway, I love your photos (like alla time), they're really beautiful.


Milex said...

I have some not so secret feeling for you<3

MorganHarperNichols.com said...

What a great message..inspiring, and true. Something I am trying to hold to more and more!

Anonymous said...

What a chic outfit! You look beautiful in this tailored blazer!

Xo, Hannah


Halie said...

You are too cute. Love this look.

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