why I shopped at H&M last weekend

If you were at the mall last weekend you would have seen me, shopping bags in hand, sitting in the H&M fitting room. There's nothing particularly alarming about that image unless you know my stance on ethical fashion. If you do know my convictions, you would have understandably been very confused. 

Before I tell you why I was there, I want to share something I've noticed. When you go public (like start a blog) about a conviction of any sort, people may start acting weird around you. No matter how sweetly you smile, they'll assume you're judging them if they haven't embraced your conviction.

They'll feel judged.

Things get awkward.

I can't tell you how many times in the past few months I've complimented someone on their outfit and they've cringed in guilt as they say, "Oh it wasn't ethically made..." as if I'm going to think they're a terrible person for it. 

The purpose of this blog is not to impose relationship-destroying-guilt, but to introduce information and inspiration for a better way to buy. 

My motivation is based on my belief that people deserve to be treated with dignity and love. So why would I act unlovingly towards the people around me as I preach that they need to show love through their purchasing habits? 

A couple weeks ago, the mom of a teenage gal that I'm friends with asked if I would take her daughter shopping. She wanted some help picking out back-to-school clothes and identifying her personal style. Knowing where I stand on ethical fashion, she prefaced her request by making sure I understood this would be a shopping trip to stores that don't necessarily sell ethical brands. She thought I may not want to do it. 

While I appreciate her thoughtfulness, OF COURSE I said I would go shopping with her daughter, I love that girl! 

I never want to let my stance get in the way of real relationship. Now, I didn't buy anything for myself at H&M, but that doesn't mean I had any right to make this girl feel guilty for her purchases. 

We didn't talk about sweatshops, we talked about her school.

We didn't cover the topic of child-labor, we chatted about homecoming. 

Instead of fair-wages, we discussed how Starbucks puts too much peppermint in their peppermint mocha. 

You may think I missed a great "educational opportunity" with my teenage friend, but I say things went exactly how they should.

When she wants to learn about ethical fashion, she knows where to find my blog. But, for now, she just needs a friend to shop and talk and help her through all that comes with being a teenager. 

I never want to care so much about an issue that I put it above caring for the people around me. 

I don't write this to pat myself on the back. I write this to encourage you that you CAN have strong convictions and still interact with people in a normal way. 

Sometimes we have to live in the tension of doing what's right and treating people right.