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On becoming a Socially Conscious Fashionista

Here’s a blast from the past… eight years ago, to be precise, when I was still living in Los Angeles. I recently had the opportunity to relax and watch anything I wanted, which if you are a single parent who works full time and has multiple side gigs, is a very rare occasion. I watched the movie Shopaholic and recalled that time when I was quoted in an article for the LA Times about shopaholics, when the movie was first in theaters.

Photo: Jo Willems

While the 2009 article was specifically about the “disease” of shopping too much, here was my (unfortunate) mini- claim to fame:

"Gowns on a whim

Anika Jackson, 34, identifies herself as a shopaholic, but her definition clearly hews more toward the one put forth by Kinsella's frothy novels -- all of which she's read -- than the disorders discussed by Shulman. Growing up in Kansas, she used to buy ball gowns for no reason and as a young raver, she owned "50 miniskirts with matching accessories." Today, Jackson is the mother of a 9-month-old daughter whose closet is filled with clothes that will keep her well-dressed until she's 3 -- too cute to pass up.

The Manhattan Beach resident has a husband willing to indulge her. Before the couple married, she charged $25,000 on her then-fiancé’s credit card, which he learned about one day on the golf course when he received a call about his delinquent bill. Now Jackson works hard to "monitor" herself. "I try to only spend money that I have on hand or use one credit card." She's never, incidentally, frozen her cards in ice like the "Shopaholic" protagonist does, but she has cut one up -- and then immediately called to ask for a replacement.

These days, Jackson's most effective way of avoiding spending is simply to stay out of stores, "because if I walk in somewhere, I will find something that I like." She cannot enter Anthropologie without spending "$800 to $1,000." Jackson does almost all of her shopping online, at websites that offer discounts. We're not talking about, though. Some of the labels she's recently picked up with a click? Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Christian Lacroix, Michael Kors, Alessandro dell'Acqua, Sonia Rykiel, Cole Haan and many more."

Since this article and period in my life, I can’t say that I’ve stopped shopping (except my vice is now art and philanthropy), but I CAN say that I have participated in clothing swaps, sold and donated clothes many times over, and purchase a large portion of my clothes from “pre-owned” sites such as thredUP, theRealReal, and my all time favorite, Union&Fifth, whose motto is "Fashion as a Force for Good." I love that these days you can rent dresses to wear once, or you can go to one of these sites and get designer duds – and in the case of Union&Fifth, know that every item you purchase OR donate, donates money to charities all over the United States.

BTW, shop at U5 and use promo code FETES17 for a 25% discount on every brand, including CHANEL! Good as many times as you want to use it.

Don't forget to also visit our Fashionista Shop, where we will be adding products that give back, starting with the Pucker Up for Change lipstick series. That, my friends, is the true meaning of being a “Socially Conscious Fashionista.”

Photo by Tammara McDonald

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