Morris avenue, the cobblestoned street known for its vibrant and dynamic energy, is home to several creative and incredibly distinct stores. One in particular caught my eye for its attention to, awareness and promotion of conscious manufacturing and production, as it relates to fashion. Owner and Founder, Lacey Woodroof and her cousin Maggie sat down with me to chat on curating ethically‐made garments for the Birmingham community! Their store basic. offers clothing and accessories that work to educate shoppers on buying responsibly, as it supports efforts toward greater transparency!
Q: First off, what motivated you to begin this brand and what fuels your passion for ethically‐sourced garments?
A: I began my career working in the financial industry. If you’ve ever worked in corporate America, you know how depressing women’s workwear is. I was completely over having to buy a few new pairs of ill‐fitting pants twice a year, especially since I didn’t like them or wear them on the weekends. It felt wasteful in a lot of ways. So, I started looking for smaller, independent designers making thoughtful clothing that applied to my whole life and wouldn’t fall apart. At the same time at work, I was learning about consumer goods conglomerate profit margins and how companies achieved those huge numbers. Once I started looking further into it, I fell down a deep rabbit hole that concluded with watching the documentary The True Cost. I was done. I’ll never look at a piece of clothing the same. After that, my husband built out my website, and I started trying to sell ethically‐made staple apparel as an e‐com store and pop‐up.
Q: Practically, how do you ensure these garments reflect the attributes your brand supports?
A: I work fairly closely with almost all of my designers. I communicate directly with them; I have been to some of their homes. Our buying experience is more intimate than the traditional fashion market. I spend time, twice a year, with each of my designers to learn more about what they are doing and how they are doing it. I want to know where and how the garments were made and under what conditions. A handful of our brands own their own production outright, and some of them work with women’s collectives in various countries across the world. They have all documented and provided to us their production practices and they continue to update us when anything new arises. We value our relationships with our designers. They are all extraordinary people doing crazy impactful things.
Q: For those still trying to wrap their head around what it means to be a conscious consumer, what piece of feasible advice would you suggest?
A: Being a conscious consumer simply means thinking through a purchase before making it. Do you really need it? What purpose does it serve? Is it well‐made? Will it last? Where did it come from? In general, we need to shift mindset away from what is trendy but cheap to what is timeless and investment worthy If your graphic tee costs less than your avocado toast, why do you think that is? Being thoughtful is usually a win‐win for all involved.
I have a closet full of clothes but am at a loss for what to wear. If this sounds familiar, then consider giving greater thought to how you’re approaching your wardrobe! Are you asking yourself those tough questions or trapped in the consumeristic cycle, buying items that wont serve you purposefully in the future? I often work with my clients to do just that, whether it be in relation to sustainable fashion or simplifying closets in general, everyone can choose to invest a bit more time into their purchasing habits! The good news is that the selection of brands to invest in, that serve you and the community better, is increasing day‐by‐day.
Stella McCartney, one of the leading activists for fashion sustainability, has been a long advocate of a more thoughtful exploration into the industries production practices. Her distinct and high‐end collections offer statement pieces that evoke detailed and elaborate craftmanship– designs known to have simple and sharp tailoring with a feminine edge! Her most noticeable nod to a reformed ethical approach is her refusal to use leather, skin or fur in any of the products due to the environmental impact and inhumane animal practices taken to produce such items. Her public promotion of organic fabrics that support environmental sustainability not only work to advance her personal initiatives, but additionally create products that are well‐loved for their texture and quality! Everlane is another, which focuses on transparent pricing for a more affordable selection of ethical clothing. Their generally neutral‐toned colors and flattering shapes allow for the purchase of quality, versatile pieces essential to a curated closet! Reformation is a more eco friendly clothing brand whose sustainability efforts focus on minimizing waste, water and their energy footprint! Their options are a bit more trendy, incorporating bolder patterns and designs that have a quirky feel to them.
And these brands are just a few of the many leading retailers and designers working to change the fashion production climate! Their causes vary, some working to promote better working conditions, lessen environmental impact or encourage world economies, but their overall mission remains the same.. to encourage a more conscious buying community!
To check out the basic. collection of ethically‐made garments, visit their storefront on Morris avenue or online website!