"That Balance Struggle" with Lindsay Dewald of Our City House

Work, play, family, social media... day after day we engage in these activities. But how often do we pause and reflect on them? How often do we take the time to reflect on the habits in our lives and ask whether or not we're doing them for us or for the people around us?

As a blogger and instagramer, Lindsay Dewald knows the struggle between cherishing the moment and capturing it, between fleeting moments spent with her young family and her work as a blogger. In some way or another, we all struggle with this narrative: you know, the one that says balance exists.

Sitting with Lindsay in her beautiful home and listening to her honest reflections caused us to pause. To ask, are we truly cherishing the moments we're given? 

Something as simple as checking Facebook or spending 30 minutes staring into your closet, these are the sort of things Lindsay's candid thoughts speak truth to. If we were given extra time in our day, even 15 minutes, would we use it wisely? As we get ready to release Outfits for iOS, this is the question we're asking ourselves, each other, and you. How can we wisely use the time we're given? How can we live in each moment? How can we balance the many pieces of our lives well?

Listen in as Lindsay reflects on social media and "that balance struggle":

“Am I really in the moment right now? Am I totally just in what I'm doing in being here?"

Join the challenge to slow things down and live in the moment here. #TakeTheTime


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Aren't Sweatshops Good For Third World Countries?

“Aren’t sweatshops good for third world countries to grow their economies?”

We’ve all heard this question, and I think it’s time we talk through this a little bit. A quick disclaimer: I am generally conservative economically, but as the founder of Cladwell I have seen many of the evils of the fashion industry and what it has done to the environment and workers. 

Okay, so here’s the argument I most often hear regarding sweatshops:

“Yes, sweatshops and child labor are sad but are necessary to develop a third world country.”

Typically, the arguments are as follows:

  1. Competition will raise standards over time: We’ve seen in China that wages and working conditions have risen as more companies compete for the low-wage workers. The same will happen in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Nigeria over time. It is sad now but over time it will get better.

  2. The workers are joining freely, and this is the worker’s best option: When we look at what these sweatshop workers were doing before the factory came, we see how terrible their working conditions were before --whether in prostitution or in dangerous environments in rice fields. Yes, it is sad that the factories are dangerous, but it isn’t really different.
     

Here is my response:

I think these are economically valid arguments. In the long run--in the macro--we will see wages and conditions improve if we start at sweatshops and allow competition to go through. I’ll concede that point.

However, I believe there are additional (and more important) questions than economic efficiency. The most important being:

“What type of person do you want to be in your 80-or-so years on this earth?”

To Karl-Johan Persson, CEO of H&M: Do you want to be a man who allows his company to continue to do things like kill 21 Bangladeshi sweatshop workers, and who has “plausible deniability” when it comes to child labor?

To Edward Lampert, CEO of Sears Holdings: Do you want to be a man who allows his company to lock fire exit doors and force workers back to their desk when the fire alarm went off, killing 117 people and injuring over 200?

To Ashley Brooke, YouTuber: Do you want to be a person who gets views out of “hauling” piles of clothes made by kids, promoting a consumption pattern in our society that will make the problem even worse?
 

What kind of People do we want to be?

To you, me, all of us: Do we want to be people who wear the last item of clothing a human being ever touched before their factory collapsed?  Do we want to be people who value having a new outfit that we’ll wear once at a party more than preventing brain damage for the inhabitants along a river in India? Do we want to be people who close our eyes and buy that sequined blouse at Target that can only be made with children’s fingers, because it’s “too hard to find ethical brands”?

Because, guess what? It is economically a valid argument that those worker’s grandchildren (if they live long enough to have them) will benefit.

I just don’t want to be that person.

I’m not pushing for governmental or UN intervention. I’m pushing for ALL OF US--the human beings reading this article--to decide what type of people we wish to be, and spend our time and money according to that. We are not pawns of economic forces. We have a choice.

Ok, I admit this is heavy. And I admit, I am part of this huge problem. We all are. I'm just suggesting that we begin to take steps, even small ones, towards a different kind of clothing industry.

 

Here’s where we Can begin:

Pause Before You Buy: This is one simple step that could really make a difference. And it doesn't involve spending more money. In fact, it will even save money and the stress of clutter in our closets and homes. If our entire society chose to stop before every purchase and ask, “Do I really need this? Do I LOVE it?” we would buy less. As a result, the fast fashion industry would have to alter its business model. Fast fashion succeeds on its ability to get us excited to buy things we don’t actually love. Just wait. Only buy what you really need or love.

The problem of the fashion industry is huge. But this first step towards changing this industry is something we all can do. This pause, this question before I purchase, is something I can 100% commit to.

 

The Next Steps:

Get Smarter About Your Wardrobe: Ok, we've made new habits about thinking before we buy items. The next step? Let's get strategic about what clothing stays in our closets. Pick a color palette. Think about your lifestyle - what do you actually wear often? Purchase items based on how well they go together.

Try To Avoid These 10 Stores/Brands: The only 100% sustainable solution is to walk around naked (and even then you still have the problem of methane…). However, some companies are notoriously bad for human rights and sustainability. I'm not perfect in this area, but I'm committing to buying less and less from stores that notably dismiss these issues. When I'm at the mall, I to avoid these stores/brands:

  • H&M
  • Zara
  • The Gap (Old Navy & Banana Republic)
  • Adidas
  • Forever 21
  • Calvin Klein
  • Walmart
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Aldo
  • Uniqlo

Start Buying From These 10 Stores/Brands: The truth is, if you want to pay workers more and provide a better work environment, it will cost more money. That’s why I put this step last. First, figure out how to buy less. Then, once you’re there, start shifting where you buy those clothes. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Everlane
  • Patagonia
  • DSTLD
  • Zady
  • Modavanti
  • ThredUp
  • Matt & Nat
  • Victor Athletics
  • Cuyana (women only)
  • Bonobos (men only)

If you’re feeling burdened or overwhelmed by this article, I’d like to you to consider this quotation from William Wilberforce, who abolished the slave trade in England:

“If to be feelingly alive to the suffering of my fellow creatures in is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large."

I hope to be a fanatic in this area. And I guess it begins with just buying less. And then buying smarter. And more thoughtfully. This isn't easy. I'm not doing it perfectly. But I'm trying to make a start. And I hope you'll join me.


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We Challenge You To #TakeTheTime. Will You Accept?

What if you could get 15 minutes of your life back every day? How would you take the time?

After a very long day and a couple cups of coffee in, that’s the simple question we found ourselves asking, pondering, then asking again....

How would you #TakeTheTime? 

As you already know, we’re living in a world where constant vibrations in our back pocket and bragging rights for how little sleep you got the night before have somehow become the norm. We’re moving at a pace that’s so fast we sometimes forget that we have a choice in the matter.

We believe that fast isn't always good for us.

Fast food. Fast fashion. Fast & Furious movies... Fast doesn't always have our best interest in mind. Fast has a short attention span.

We believe that on our death bed--if we are so blessed to get there--we will not wish that we did things fast. So we're starting a little campaign called #TakeTheTime to highlight and encourage people who take the time to meet their friends for coffee, paint in the middle of the day, and sing in the shower. The dreamers, the makers, the creators, and the doers, this is our rallying cry to you.

We believe that slow can be healthy. Slow is patient and intentional. Slow will end up lasting longer. Slow is what will matter in the end.

So let's start now. 

Together, we made a video at takethetime.co for the ones who carpe the hell out of their diems. So we can all be inspired and get inspired to #TakeTheTime.


We'd Like To Invite You To #TakeTheTime

In 3 simple steps...

1. #TakeTheTime every day to do something that matters to you.

2. Share how you #TakeTheTime and challenge others.

3. Get inspired by how others #TakeTheTime.


We’re curious about how people spend their time when they have it. It's a simple concept, one that we'd love for you to be a part of. Time is precious, and time is personal. And if we can do our part in reminding each other to slow down it will have all been worth it.

Why are we doing this?

The truth, no matter how well-intended, behind most fashion campaigns is to sell you more clothes. But in our case, selling you more clothes doesn't make us any money. In fact, we would rather you buy less. Our business of serving you rather than selling you more stuff is 100% aligned with our mission

In a few short weeks, we will be releasing our new iOS app, Outfits by Cladwell. With the app, we want to give you your time back by helping you choose what to wear each morning. We're challenging you to spend the time you get back wisely by doing something that is good for you. Is it exercise? A longer shower? Sleeping in? Downward facing dog? Half an episode of Friends?

It's for you to decide how to #TakeTheTime.


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How To Host a Cladwell Clothing Swap

We all can think of that one clothing item that we’re never going to wear, but day after day, week after week, it continues to hang in our closets. Truth is, we could all use a little nudge to get rid of the clothing items we no longer love in order to make room for the things we do. Why not start this year off by clearing out the clutter and hosting a Cladwell Clothing Swap? Let me explain what I mean by a Clothing Swap…


How a Clothing Swap Works

We believe that less is more and that humans can thrive when they have fewer but better things; by either buying new things that are created wisely or by re-using the things they own. And a Clothing Swap is one way to help us do just that. 

Invite guests

Invite friends and family (around the same age) that you love to be around. Have them bring their gently worn clothing items that they've intentionally set aside or have been thinking about donating for some time now in a trash bag or box.  

Choose a number

When your guests arrive, have each person drop off his or her items in a designated room and choose a number while mingling. The number determines the order that the guests will present in later. The drop-off room keeps the space free of clutter. The host should always go first to show how it works and put everyone else at ease.

Present your clothes

When your number is up, stand in front of the room to present your clothes. Nothing formal, just have fun with it. You have 5 seconds to show off each item, say the size, and any other details worth communicating such as the brand or that it’s shrunk. This should be a fairly fast process.

Raise your hand

If a guest loves an item, they should raise their hand. The presenter then hands the item over for them to take home.

Or add to the donate box

If no one raises his or her hand, that’s great! The presenter should give the item to the host so she or he can add it to the donation box. Everything left that no one wants at the end of the evening should be loaded up and dropped off at your donation location of choice the very next day.

How to break a tie

If two guests raise their hands at the same time, the presenter chooses a number 1 - 10. Whichever guest is closest wins the item.

Two Swap Rules

Judgement free zone

We believe you should never hide who you are--no matter how scary the situation or interaction. There is no room for shame in size, style, or brand. You never know what trash can be someone else's treasure so don't judge!

Less is more

Going home with less than you came with is the point. There's no need to feel disappointed if no one raises their hand. It's actually a wonderful thing! Also, don’t raise your hand for an item you kind of like. You must love it or donate it. It’s that simple.


Become a Host

As hosts we have two responsibilities: making our guests feel comfortable and donating all the items leftover from the swap. Just in case, here's a quick hostess checklist to help.

  • Set the date + time:  Try a weekday night like a Tuesday or Thursday. 

  • Invite your family + friends:  Try using paperless post or eventbrite.

  • Choose a place to donate:  Check out a local Goodwill or charity.

  • Designate a drop-off spot in your home:  We suggest a side room or garage.

  • Provide snacks + refreshments:  Keep it simple or have a pitch-in. 

Last but not least, share your photos with us @cladwellteam and use the hashtag #CladwellSwap..


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