by Olvia Louden

These Native Goods is a website that aims to get people thinking about the impact their purchases can have on the world. By providing an online directory where buyers can find items purchased in the USA, the site is taking leaps towards a more conscious field of consumers. I had the opportunity to ask director Chandra Fox some questions about the genesis of These Native Goods, how she curates all those companies, and where she’d like to take the industry as a whole. 

photographer: Alexa Miller

stylist: Chandra Fox @ These Native Goods

model: Brooke Moorberg @ Stars Model Management

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romy bralette and astra hi-waist brief by Botanica Workshop, caelum slide sandal by The Palatines

Can you introduce your site for me? What does These Native Goods promote? 

These Native Goods is a website that I launched last fall aimed at promoting small businesses, local manufacturing and ethical consumerism.  The site consists of two directories, the main one being for brands that manufacture their products in the USA; the second is a list of stores who carry a large selection of these brands. In addition there is a blog where I post features on designers and other relevant articles.  My hope is to act as a reference guide for people looking to shop in a more conscious way, but also for those just looking to find some awesome designers. The style, quality and variety of clothing available from USA made brands right now is pretty impressive. I want These Native Goods to be a quick and easy platform for people to connect with these companies.

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romy bralette and astra high-brief by Botanica Workshop, ruth coat by Town Clothes

What do you mean by “ethical consumerism”? 

I mean taking responsibility for where your products come from. If we are making purchases from companies who mistreat their employees and pollute the environment we are essentially endorsing that behavior. Without the money from our purchases these businesses aren’t able to thrive. If we choose to only support companies who pay fair wages and provide a safe working environment then, that is ethical consumerism. We aren’t always in a position to shop this way unfortunately. Prices are often higher because of the added expenses for fair labor, safe working conditions and better quality materials. I personally balance out the cost of my USA made purchases with second hand and vintage, which I believe also fall in the category of both ethical and sustainable consumerism. I grew up going to thrift stores, the majority of my back to school looks were second hand, hand me downs or homemade. I always felt like it was a treasure hunt and really enjoyed looking for unique finds.

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apron tank and 1930s washed silk bandana by Ozma, vintage Levi’s, dimidia shoe by The Palatines

How do you find the companies you feature?

When I came up with the idea of These Native Goods I had already started shifting my own purchasing habits away from fast fashion and other cheaply made goods. I was constantly reading clothing and product labels to learn where they were made and what materials where used to make them. It became almost like a hobby/obsession to research everything. So I had a big list of companies that I felt good supporting to start with. Once the site launched people starting approaching me with their lines as well, asking to be featured on the blog and added to the directory. The positive response has been really great and encouraging.

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agnes button up and pleated drape plant by Ozma, calla grey hat by Jenessa Leone, dimidia shoes by The Palatines

Are there any particular styles you look for, or do you include everything made in the USA?

I do curate the directory a bit, I look for a certain level of quality and my personal aesthetic comes into play as well. I also have a big soft spot for companies that use Eco-friendly practices and that give back. So I try to include as many of those companies as possible. I think its important to note that I don’t think that shopping USA made is the only way to shop ethically. There are countless companies both based in the US and overseas that practice ethical and sustainable production methods. My reason for centering my site around USA made was because A.) I like the idea of supporting people in our communities, helping small businesses thrive and supporting our economy by encouraging those jobs to exist. B.) It made the idea more manageable for me, a global directory of ethical brands seemed a little daunting. Plus I really like to see the products first hand and that didn’t seem as possible on such a large scale.

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slip dress by Ozma, pactor shoe by bronze by The Palatines

Where would you like to see the fashion industry go, as a whole?

I would love to see more accountability and more transparency in the industry. Many large companies use their practice of outsourcing production as a way to avoid responsibility. Child labor, forced overtime, unfair wages, environmental pollution and injury or death from unsafe working conditions is commonplace in these factories. Brands use their lack of ownership like a shield to protect them from liability. Which is inexcusable, especially since their demand for rock bottom prices is at the root of the problem. Fashion has always been a love of mine, but I don’t think people or our planet should have to suffer for us to look good. Ideally it would also be nice if we stopped treating fashion as disposable. Trends can be dangerous in the way that they are perpetrated by fast fashion, new “must-have” looks arrive in shops weekly and the look you bought last month is already tired. I think its time to slow down a bit and focus more on personal style instead of the latest trend. I like the idea of purchasing items we intend to keep for the long haul.

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velvet slip by Botanica Workshop, cognitio shoe by The Palatines

And finally, how can a consumer use your site to make responsible buying choices?

Each brand description in the directory contains a link to that company’s site. While we don’t sell products ourselves you can easily click the links and begin shopping. The “Store” directory works in the same way, proving links to shops that carry a large selection USA made goods. I hope that These Native Goods will work as a time saver for people by providing an easy to access list of brands that they can feel good supporting. The site as a whole is aimed at encouraging consumers to be more mindful of their purchases and helping to assist in that process. Some updates will be going live later this month that will allow for quicker, easier navigation and better search options. I have a few other ideas that I think will make responsible shopping more accessible and hope to put those into action before the end of the year as well. So please stay tuned!

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tie romper by Ozma

online fashion magazinebristol top by Reformation, odile pants by Town Clothes, calla grey hat by Janessa Leone, cognitio shoes by The Palatines, mono clutch by Crescioni

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coverall by Ozma

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camisole by Ozma, jeans by Redone, mono clutch by Crescioni

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nona dress by Town Clothes, cognitio shoes by The Palatines

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