Ethical activism, ethical fashion and Nordstrom
It is going to be impossible for this blog to talk about ethical and sustainable fashion without discussing the grave ethical issues that come with the Trump presidency. But you will find that I am not alone. So much of the ethical fashion blogging community is actively engaged in the resistance movement. I stand in solidarity with my US friends and colleagues. On that note, here is a post written by Alden Wicker, which was originally published on her blog Ecocult. If you are looking for tangible ways to resist the Trump administration, here is one.
Have I told you how much I love Nordstrom
When I heard that Nordstrom was dropping Ivanka Trump’s cheaply made fashion line because of poor performance, I was gratified. Then, Trump tweeted out an insult at the department store, likely in the middle of an intelligence briefing, because priorities! Nordstrom’s stock rose, of course. Because fuck that cheeto-dusted middle school bully. (Also, if you’re curious if the fashion line is made ethically, Project JUST dug into its background to find out.)
But I wanted to you that even before this whole dust-up, Nordstrom already had a special place in my heart.
Starting at age nine when my family moved to Maryland, the Annapolis Nordstrom was the shopping homebase for my mother, sister and I. It’s where we went back-to-school shopping, bought our homecoming dresses, got our shoes. I grew up there, going from an innocent 3rd grader, to a gawky middle schooler, a rebellious high schooler, and then self-important college student, outfitting myself from their various departments as my budget grew with me.
The sales associates were always wonderful – classy without being haughty, helpful without being annoying. When my boyfriend’s cousin got a job there, I was so impressed. What skill she must have to be hired! The muted colors of grey and white, the female, song-bird voice chirping out names over the intercom with the lilt of a 50s-era phone operator, the baby grand Steinway on the second floor where they would have a musician play live (and sometimes allow piano teachers to hold recitals) all of it spoke to an attention to service and detail that always put the customer first.
Their return policy was outlandishly loose. Once, when my mom got me a pale pink bouclé jacket reminiscent of Chanel that I felt was much too old for me, I returned it two months later without a receipt. They no longer sold the jacket, so to figure out what price to refund me, they asked me to bring in a credit card statement. I found my mom’s credit card statement, and they refunded me the larger price of the two Nordstrom charges from that month, in cash. (I don’t think it’s quite that generous anymore, rightly so.)
After shopping, my mother and I would retire to the café for a salad and ice tea, amongst couples, families, and other mother-daughter pairs, jazz music softly playing above our heads. When I worked in the mall at a kiosk, I would put up the “be back in 15 minutes sign” and dash all the way to the cafe to pick up an exquisite pressed sandwich, soaked in butter, cheese melting over slices of apple and ham. It was a caliber of sandwich I wouldn’t encounter again until I moved to Brooklyn and found myself living near Campbells Cheese and Grocery. From a department store!
Since I’ve moved to New York City, I’ve fallen out of touch with Nordstrom. There are none in this city, save for a Nordstrom Rack in Union Square. For a short while a few years ago, Nordstrom had an experimental boutique where they tested out trendy items, donating proceeds to a charity, but that didn’t last. On top of that, once I moved into sustainable fashion, I decided I could no longer shop there. It was a sad decision.
Then I noticed that over the past few years, Nordstrom has started selling over a dozen sustainable and ethical brands. Plus, last month they came out with a special Natural Beauty section on their site and in stores, featuring many of my favorite products.
Nordstrom has reiterated that they dropped the regime’s daughter’s brand due to poor performance, maybe because of the Grab Your Wallet campaign? But I would like to think that the Nordstrom family decided they couldn’t be a part of supporting a borderline-fascist political regime, and decided quietly disassociate themselves, because they are classy. Of course, supporters of the regime have decided they will boycott the store. So, I strongly encourage you to go shopping there and support this wonderful company. And in case you need convincing, I’ve picked out some favorites!
Jane Iredale make some of my favorite, most versatile, high performing and non-toxic make up.
Amour Vert make sustainable ladylike basics, like this versatile jacket.
Wwake make jewelry in the US using ethically sourced stones and recycled materials.
Re/Done take vintage jeans, rework them and make them perfectly fashionable.
Herbivore’s pink clay mask is a favorite of mine.
Beyond Conscious Consumption
This year, I’m urging you to think beyond your own personal consumption, and to take up the fight for systemic change in issues you are passionate about. If you are opposed to the Regime, opposed to nepotism, and opposed to the president using his position to enrich himself and his family, sign up for Daily Action, which will text you each morning with something you can do to put pressure on your representatives.
Read more great content like this on Ecocult.0