There is no perfectly sustainable fashion item, and the best option is always to forgo shopping new and make do with what already exists in your closet. For this reason, it would be misleading to pretend that we, at SENSE of SHELF, are not benefitting from a capitalist economy – we market and sell clothes after all. That being said, when it comes to shopping new, we strive to offer you the best of the best in terms of sustainable clothing.
Our hope is that we can use our platform to educate about the fashion industry’s impact, support small brands that are doing it right, and advocate for conscious consumption and community activism. For this reason, we only sell products we LOVE and that we hope you’ll love and treat well. As with any purchase, we encourage you to take a moment to ask yourself, “Do I really need it?” and, “Will I take care of it?” before ordering.
In the context of our country’s rising income inequality, buying a sustainable shirt for $100 rather than a fast fashion top for $5, is not always realistic. We recognize our privilege and believe it is our responsibility to use our position to dismantle the same system that created our privilege to begin with. The fashion industry is a big player in that system—exploiting the most vulnerable in our society to create for and market to the wealthy few.
In addition to civic engagement and activism to overhaul the status quo of big corporations and fashion industry titans, our effort at SENSE of SHELF is one of our ways to fight back against this system of oppression. It is a privilege to “vote with our dollars” and it cannot be mistaken for organized, collective social action. You do not need to shop SENSE of SHELF to be “good.” You do not need to shop SENSE of SHELF to prove you “care.” YOU, personally, are not the reason the planet is in this mess.
“Sustainable living” as we’ve seen it depicted has largely been marketed to one demographic (read: white women), despite its tenants having originated within communities of color. We have taken great care to mandate representation in our content and anti-racism in our company culture. We are a very small team (just the Founder and the occasional photographer or intern!), but as we grow will make sure to honor and uplift those who have been systemically oppressed. We see you, we love you, and you are welcome here.