Let's talk about my reasons for shopping ethically.
Who makes our stuff? It's a question I had never even considered before a year or two ago. I didn't even think about the fact that other people made the things I use. I simply wanted or needed an item, and so I bought it at a price I felt was the best I could get for what I needed. The only responsibility I felt was to my bank account or my overstuffed closet, both of which kindly asked me not to treat my hurting heart with another pair of jeans, and both of which I ignored.
But the truth is, the consequences of over-consumption spread much further than our own selves. Even further than the companies from which we buy. The genesis story of each item we consume is supported by our purchase of it. The things that keep us alive, safe, and comfortable come to us having already touched the lives of many, many people, and it matters as to whether that touch was good or bad.
There is nothing wrong with having things - in fact, we need them in order to live. There is nothing wrong with having nice things. But the practice of over-consumption - purchasing things when they aren't needed or don't truly add value to our lives - enables companies to participate in unjust practices in regards to producers, factory workers, and the environment.
There's a lot of information out there on this topic, and there are a lot of companies doing wonderful things to change industries and shift the general mindset on consumption. But at the heart of it all, I think the most important thing is that we begin taking responsibility for our consumption. If I find an item that is produced unethically, it's me that must make a sacrifice by not supporting that company, not the slave laborer who created it.
Resources that I've found helpful: