How to Shop for Clothing Ethically and Sustainably (Without Spending a Fortune)

Elizabeth Cline, the author of new book Overdressed, has some advice for people who want to clothe themselves for not too much money — without contributing to the waste and supporting the lax labor standards of the global apparel industry supply chain. You know how Michael Pollan advises people concerned about their health and the environment not to eat anything that your great-grandmother wouldn't have recognized as food? Well, most of these clothes shopping tips would probably sound familiar to your frugal great-grandmother, too.

First, figure out an annual clothing budget, and shop strategically for needed items to eliminate impulse buys. Consumers also need, says Cline, to accept that a dress needs to cost more than $20 for it to be made under safe and sustainable conditions, and that $20 is in fact a historically low price for a dress — an artificially low price that is the result of discrete policy decisions undertaken over the last decades by the U.S. government and the W.T.O. to favor outsourcing to countries that lack environmental protections and basic labor laws. A $20 dress represents both a tremendous waste of resources and the mistreatment of garment workers, who are overwhelmingly young women. Even simpler? Buy less. In the U.S., we own more items of clothing now than at any point in history — yet we pay less for them, and accordingly, we value them less. When you do buy clothing, buy it from companies that respect their workers and support the local economy, or buy from thrift stores. Learn to sew, if only so you can complete basic repairs, or frequent a tailor.

Cline sums it up thusly: "Buy what you need, buy things that you love, and take care of what you own." [Fashionista]


How to Shop for Clothing Ethically and Sustainably (Without Spending a Fortune)Lara Stone continues as the face of Calvin Klein, a contract she has held since 2010, this fall. Appearing with her in the latest ads is male model Tyson Ballou. [WWD]
How to Shop for Clothing Ethically and Sustainably (Without Spending a Fortune)Doutzen Kroes is on the cover of Vogue Portugal. The photo is a reprint from Kroes' recent Vogue China spread — which gives us all the opportunity to look back fondly on the particularly egregious (think missing leg) Photoshop of Horrors that it contained. [TFS]
How to Shop for Clothing Ethically and Sustainably (Without Spending a Fortune)Yayoi Kusama says of her new collaboration with Louis Vuitton, "Marc Jacobs's sincere attitude towards art is the same as my own...I respect him as a wonderful designer. Louis Vuitton understands and appreciates the nature of my art. Therefore there isn't much difference from my process of making fashion." [The Cut]
How to Shop for Clothing Ethically and Sustainably (Without Spending a Fortune)Chloe Moretz is the new face of Aéropostale, which is seeking to improve its performance by associating itself with a celebrity. The chain is also planning to remodel its stores to provide a "shopper-tainment" experience, which sounds hellish and dystopian. Kids these days, etc. [WWD]
How to Shop for Clothing Ethically and Sustainably (Without Spending a Fortune)If you, like us, were a little perplexed by Fashionista's list of the "Top 25 Labels Producing Domestically" — which featured companies like Levi's, which manufactures the vast majority of its clothing in countries that can have atrocious working conditions, like China and Bangladesh — then this series of posts on designer Natalie Chanin's blog might strike your fancy. Find out about U.S.-made socks, shoes, jeans, ties, bags, shirts, plus sourcing and sustainability information, from companies including Earnest Sewn, Three Dots, and Imogene + Willie. (Patricia Marx also did an article for the New Yorker on this topic three years ago.) [Alabama Chanin, Alabama Chanin]
How to Shop for Clothing Ethically and Sustainably (Without Spending a Fortune)New magazine alert: Document, a semiannual fashion and culture glossy, is launching this September. This cover, featuring Liya Kebede, is by Collier Schorr; another, unreleased cover is by artist Francesco Vezzoli. [WWD]
  • Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was set to host the second season of Project Runway: All-Stars when she got a better offer (well, arguably a better offer: a part in Mad Max: Fury Road) and hastily backed out. The Weinstein Company, which produces the Project Runway franchise, initially threatened to sue, but the model/actor's agent smoothed things over by promising to give the show some of his top celebrity clients as guest judges. Models Karolina Kurkova, Hilary Rhoda, and Elaine Irwin and designer Rachel Roy were all auditioned as potential replacement hosts, and Carolyn Murphy was finally signed and confirmed just days before shooting began. Katie Holmes guest-judged a challenge just days after announcing she was divorcing Tom Cruise. Says a "source" inside the production, "Everyone expected Katie to cancel, but she didn't. She's friendly and professional but didn't say a word about her divorce." [P6]
  • Private-equity group Permira is looking to sell Valentino. The buyer is rumored to be the royal family of Qatar, and the price is said to be in the vicinity of $852 million. [WWD]
  • Azzedine Alaïa is set to open his first boutique since 1992. It will be "a five-floor hotel particulier with an interior courtyard/garden that will function as store/showroom/some offices" opening next March just off the Avenue Montaigne, the luxury shopping mecca. Alaïa wants to keep it a "those-who-know address," and plans to skip street-level advertising and window displays. [FT]
  • Karl Lagerfeld is heading to London this month to launch his namesake line, Karl, at Selfridges. [Telegraph]
  • Meanwhile, Choupette Lagerfeld — the cat the designer stole from Baptiste Giabiconi to raise as his own — is said to be gracing an upcoming cover of V magazine alongside Laetitia Casta. [Fashionista]
  • Stuart Weitzman is planning a major international expansion now that it's owned by Jones Group. The company plans to open some 40 international and 10 domestic boutiques by 2014. And China is definitely on the horizon, says the company president: "It's not just about Beijing and Shanghai. There are 10 cities with populations of 10 million plus. There are other tier 1 cities — Chengdu is like L.A. — and then there are the tier 2 cities that have eight to 10 million people. There is such a thirst, it's becoming the biggest consumer society on the planet." [WWD]
  • Also expanding in Asia — in its case, Japan — is Alice + Olivia. Bam:

    Plans call for 13 in-store shops, including a launch in August at the coveted The Stage at Isetan Shinjuku and an introduction at Hankyu Umeda in October. Flagships of 1,500 to 1,800 square feet will open in Tokyo in 2013, followed by Osaka. There will be wholesale distribution to specialty stores and an e-commerce site. Alice + Olivia and its Japanese partners have set a first-year sales goal of 2 billion yen, or $25 million.

    [WWD]

  • Jessica Simpson is not adding a bridal collection to her portfolio of licensed product lines, as had been rumored by In Touch. [E!]
  • A forthcoming documentary called Versailles 73 tells the story of the "Battle of Versailles" — the competitive runway showcase that pitted American designers Halston, Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Anne Klein, and Stephen Burrows against French talents Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Cardin, and Emanuel Ungaro, in the palace of Versailles, to raise money for its restoration. Andy Warhol, Princess Grace, and some 650 millionaires were in the audience, and the event — at which the Americans triumphed — marked a turning point in how American ready-to-wear was received by the press and the public. According to Women's Wear Daily at the time:

    The French had two orchestras, four conductors, enough scenery and effects for four bad operattas [sic] at the Opera Comique. The sets, by Jean-Francois Daigre, were so tacky they weren't even camp….The Americans just brought a tape recorder and no sets.

    Josephine Baker performed for the French and Liza Minnelli sang "Bonjour Paris" for the Americans. The decision of the U.S. designers — who had to share the same pool of models, among them Pat Cleveland, Bethann Hardison, and China Machado — to include 12 black models was historic. The next year, Beverly Johnson became the first black model to ever make the cover of U.S. Vogue. [WWD, WWD]

  • Actually, that Yves Saint Laurent name change announced by incoming creative director Hedi Slimane? It only applies to the ready-to-wear line. Last month, Slimane said that he was renaming Yves Saint Laurent "Saint Lauren Paris," but explained that the iconic "YSL" would remain the company logo. That seemed confusing enough, but now it seems that the name of the house isn't changing, and the name of the company's beauty products won't change, either (that business is owned by L'Oréal). Only the ready-to-wear line Slimane designs will go by Saint Laurent Paris. So Saint Laurent Paris will be kind of like a sub-brand of Yves Saint Laurent, the fashion house. Copy-editors take note. [BoF]
  • Louis Vuitton hired Todd Selby of The Selby to document the progress of its specially-made train (the same train that graced its Paris runway and served as the setting for the brand's fall ads — the train that cost a rumored $8 million to build) from Paris to Shanghai, where the company is opening a store. [WWD]
  • Home sewing may be on the rise in the U.S. Domestic sewing-machine sales are expected to top 3 million this year, up from 1.5 million one decade ago, and sewing classes have seen growing enrollment. Among the aficionados: Katherine Heigl, who recently made a crib bumper from fabric she bought online. "It turned out so beautifully, the piping and trim, I am not going to get enough of this," says the actress. Sewing itself, she says, is "actually therapeutic. It requires a different kind of attention and focus." Obviously, we at Jezebel are way out in front of this trend. [NYTimes]