Justin + Katy + Nya: globally minded family

Without effort and research, we are naturally so uneducated about where our clothes really come from. Once you do learn, you just can’t go backwards. The reality makes change too compelling.
— Katy Peterson

Katy was one of the first people to make me realize how attainable a simplified and ethical wardrobe really is. The Petersons invited my husband and I over for dinner, and I almost forgot to ask them my questions for the blog because I was so swept up in the hospitality and bright simplicity of their home. As soon as you walk through their front door, you can sense the intentionality and care that has gone into every detail of their lifestyle. 

They have a beautiful little girl named Nya and are in the process of their second adoption. You can learn more about the Peterson's adoption journey at doingforone.org

The Peterson's ethical style

What made you decide to change the way you shop?

(Justin) My eyes were opened to the impact the apparel industry has on the world when I worked at Nau. They taught me a lot about responsibly sourced materials and their impact. It's one of those things where, once you start learning about it, you realize how connected everything is. I learned even more when I worked at Patagonia, and have continued to be interested in sustainable companies ever since then. 

(Katy) It all started with my capsule wardrobe. I was intrigued with the idea of having fewer items but better items. Bloggers that I followed for capsule wardrobe inspiration would sometimes post recommendations for documentaries and books that highlighted the problems in the "fast fashion" industry. When you realize everything you buy has a story behind it, and some of those stories are really sad, it becomes hard to walk into a store and know that what you’re purchasing is contributing to one of those “sad stories."

Katy saves the handwritten notes that often accompany purchases from a fair-trade company. 

Katy saves the handwritten notes that often accompany purchases from a fair-trade company. 

In the midst of the sad stories, what positivity have you found?

(Katy) The more I researched, the more I started to appreciate the ethical production of clothes. The designers behind these fair-trade brands, their stories, their passion and drive is so inspiring.

Do you have a favorite brand?

(Justin) I really like Nau (I'm not just saying that since I used to work there!) Gustin is especially great for making ethical items more affordable since they use a unique production model of only manufacturing what's been pre-ordered. I also am a big Patagonia fan! 

(Katy) Elizabeth Susanne is my current favorite. I've been saving up for quite a while to get one of her dresses. (It definitely is an investment to purchase something from her!) I like what she does with clothing, how she styles everything, how she talks about her brand and inspiration. You can’t help but want to support her! She says it’s not the clothes that are special but the women who wear them. I love that. 

What's been your biggest obstacle in all of this?

(Katy) The hardest part is wanting to clear all the “non-ethical” items out of my closet, but I know that goes against what I’m trying to change since it would be wasteful of me. It's hard to be patient, but when the time comes to replace something, I have ethical items picked out to save up for and purchase. 

Also, it's difficult to find clothes for Nya that aren't poorly made. She grows so fast, I can barely keep up! I make some things for her myself, and also shop consignment a ton. 


(Justin) Start small. It can be so overwhelming to take on this lifestyle change all at once, and I think that's part of what stops people from trying. It's ok to take it one step at a time; for example, start by only purchasing ethically made jackets... then move to pants... and so on. 

(Katy) Do your research and find out what deeply drives you to make this change. Once you identify that main passion, it will help hold you through hard times when you feel overwhelmed or tempted to give up on shopping ethically. 

On a more practical note, unsubscribe from emails from companies that are unethical, you don't need that extra temptation staring at you in your inbox!

Don't be afraid to ask for help. Find other people who are trying to live the same way and learn from each other. 

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