Three things to consider when buying clergy vestments

If you’re interested in faith, fashion, and sustainability, you might find yourself looking for clergy vestments at some point in your life, either for yourself or for a loved one. Here are three things to keep in mind when looking for that perfect piece:

Look for Fair-Trade. If you’re buying new, look for the vestment companies with Fair-Trade policies or commitments. Some companies work with artisan groups to create unique, one-of-a-kind stoles that empower women, tell a powerful Biblical story, and showcase traditional artisanal handiwork and skills. Buying fair-trade offers assurance that the workers are paid a living wage and environmentally thoughtful practices are used in production.

Buy used, or swap. If you’re a practicing clergy member, chances are you went to seminary. Many seminaries receive donations of clergy vestments and stoles from retired pastors and priests that are then offered to students for a small fee or entirely free. Looking for gently used pieces keeps garments from landfills and ensures that clothing that can continue to be worn, does! Check with friends! If you have clergy colleagues in the area, this could be a great way to get new-to-you vestments. Your denomination or diocese may have resources or connections for vestment swaps!

Consider your care. Almost half of a garment’s impact over the course of its lifetime comes from the way its cared for. Wash vestments less often, wash only full loads on cold water, and hang dry garments as much as possible. With delicate pieces, choose a dry-cleaner that uses environmentally friendly chemicals and careful processes to reduce their energy footprint. Choose items that are durable, high-quality, and can be cared for well in the long-term.

Taking time to consider what you need and how to get it before you buy sets you up for success in the long run. Is there anything else you take into consideration when buying clergy vestments?

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