Conscious Consumerism Syllabus
I created this syllabus because I believe shopping carries the potential to change the world. My goal is to urge everyone to understand the intrinsic value of the ethical fashion movement. I hope that this syllabus can be a launching point to help you understand the power of your purchases, which can be both positive and negative, and to begin to understand the good feeling of being morally connected to your choices. Our Conscious Consumer movement is here to provide you with a support system to consume with knowledge, consume with empathy, and consume in a way that does not leave 3.5 billion people in poverty.
--Francine LeFrak, Founder of Same Sky
My Articles on The Huffington Post: Impact
- The Runway Challenge: Fashion Week for The Soulful Shopper: A look into America’s patterns of overconsumption and the positive effects of ethical consumption.
- What Do Christian Louboutin, The UN, and Macy's Have in Common? The Power to End Global Poverty: How revolutionary would it be if the UN convened the world’s most powerful retailers, then asked them to commit to a global legal framework upholding ethical production? In the battle for conscious consumerism, this meeting would become the shot heard round the world.
- The Truth Behind the Navy Blue Blouse: We don’t realize it, but our excessive consumption patterns are creating a blowback effect that exacerbates poverty. With every piece of clothing that we purchase in America - which, in 2014, amounted to 80 billion dollars worth (400% more than the last 2 decades) - there is a wide array of unintended consequences.
- Under The Same Sky: Illuminates the power of wellness in the workplace by discussing the Same Sky America initiative in Jersey City.
- Seeing Orange?: Highlights one of our world’s most pressing issues: systemic violence against women and girls in the developing world. The article is in part
- Instead of Prison: Learning to Sell With A Smile: The number of incarcerated people has increased more than 350 percent over the past 40 years, and sadly, women are the fastest growing segment of today’s prison population.
Resources and Reporting
- HuffPo: What’s Working: Purpose + Profit: This is a section on Huffington Post that is dedicated to news about companies and individuals moving towards creating a difference socially and environmentally.
- Sustainability: A section from the Environmental leader, Sustainability is a series of news posts about companies and businesses aiming at reducing their negative environmental impact in the world.
- Ecouterre: A website that provides the latest news about eco-friendly fashion for both men and women. Stories range from technology advanced clothing to sustainable brands that are having a positive impact on the world.
- NY Times Sustainable Living: A sub-section of the New York Times, the Sustainable Living section offers NY Times readers wide range of articles and multimedia stories from food sustainability to fashion sustainability.
- Conscious Magazine: Style: Style is a sub-division on the magazine Conscious, which provides its readers with conscious brands, designers and style education. It also provides stories aimed at companies and start-ups whom want to move towards more ethical production.
- A Philanthropist's Guide to the Future: This article provides a thorough set of guidelines on evolving philanthropic models. The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation provides a trajectory of development models and context for anyone looking to make an impact but feels stuck or confused about where to start.
Soulful Economy Partners
An economy can be built around human connections. We must create the demand for a soulful economy.
Enrou; Uncommon Union; Doing Good Doing Well; Indego Africa; Timeless; Donna Karan Urban Zen; Prinkshop; Modavanti/Row + Rue; Virgin; Deux Mains Shoes Haiti; Healing Hotels of the World; Elle Communications; WeConnect International; B. Accountability/The Global Impact Network Canada; Ezra Productions; PS IT MATTERS; Focus Brands; NEO Philanthropy; Zady; Tina Brown Media; BAMworks; Positive Luxury; Dermalogica; Hearst; Women Deliver; CFDA; FEED; Maiyet; Aldeia Works; Estee Lauder Foundation; West Elm; Firmenich; Women For Women
Engage and Interact
- Project Just: Site allows shoppers to research a brand’s social and environmental impact to increase transparency in the way fashion brands operate. It also links certain brands to mother companies that operate under the same methods.
- The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise: Launched by former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, this enterprise aims at encouraging artisanal entrepreneurships around the world. Their mission is to elevate, support and share the artisanal sector worldwide.
- Conscious Chic: Started by Kathleen Elie. Features the latest fashion-conscious stories aimed at an audience that is fashionable, yet driven to be socially and environmentally conscious.
- Made-By: Provides fashion business information and guidance on how to become more socially and environmentally conscious. They offer businesses detailed reports and visual presentations on their progress toward being more sustainable. Made-By also have consultant packages focusing on specific areas that are most important to individual companies. For example, a company is focused on its leather production they choose the leather package that helps them track down their leather supply chain and their effect on the environment.
- Tishman Environment and Design Center: The Tishman Environment and Design Center tarted in 2005 at The New School with hopes of creating a more social justice and environmentally friendly role at the university. Since its creation TEDC has introduced an undergraduate Environmental Studies program as well as goals to reduce the New School’s environmental footprint and carbon emission.
- Center for Sustainable Fashion: An initiative created by the University of the Arts London to produce global research and create programs in business and government to help build a more sustainable future in fashion.
- The True Cost: A documentary exploring the global fashion industry and the moral, political, and economic issues for which it is responsible. Watch the trailer and download the movie
- Thread: The Documentary (award-winning director Frank Ferendo)
- Issues in Globalisation: How Fair is Fashion? (Pumpkin Interactive)
- Bias: To be human is to be bias. In order to address gender inequity, we have to confront our subconscious biases.
- Zady: Vending Machines in London Sell Shirts for 2 Euros: Provides consumer’s with a glimpse of the high cost of cheap clothing.
- Speech for Same Sky being honored by UN Women For Peace: March 2016
- Made in Bangladesh
- 'Brides For Sale': Performance by Afghan rapper and activist Sonita Alizadeh
- TED Talk from Raj Panjabi: On why no one should die because they live too far from a doctor
- Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline
- Fashion and Sustainability: Design for Change by Kate Fletcher and Lynda Grose
- To Die for: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? by Lucy Siegle
- Wear No Evil: How to Change the World with Your Wardrobe by Greta Eagan
- Clothing Poverty: The Hidden World of Fast Fashion and Second-hand Clothes by Andrew Brooks
- What Works: Gender Equality By Design by Iris Bohnet
- Rwanda's Women Rising by Swanee Hunt
- “We would like to see a global movement in which consumers speak out in favor of ethical, socially responsible practices and use their purchasing decisions to make a difference in the world” – Karen Yelick, CEO of Indego Africa
- “I don’t want to wear something on my body that hurts the environment or the people in it. It’s hard to know what is good and what is bad on the high street and equally hard to find fashionable or youthful ethical clothing. It shocks me that even today only 1% of cotton produced in the world is Fair Trade and organic.” – Emma Watson
- “With each dollar we spend, we vote for the world we want.” – Anna Lappe, Small Planet Institute
- “If you want to change the face of poverty, shop consciously, ethically, and empathetically.” – Francine LeFrak
- “The best philanthropy is a good job.” – Same Sky Artisans
- "Success is when the consumer doesn't have to compromise." – The Soulful Economy Movement