Photo by TJ Turner
With its racks of plaid shirts, Minnesota-themed tees, and handcrafted jewelry, Spoils of Wear appears to be the kind of hip, independent boutique that emphasizes high quality, one-of-a-kind goods with a sense of local pride. But a closer look reveals a deeper message. The new St. Paul shop, which recently opened across the street from the new Whole Foods at Selby and Snelling Avenues, specializes in selling women’s clothing and accessories from ethical brands around the world.
The aesthetic isn’t crunchy-granola—owner Jill Erickson has stocked the store with hip, modern-looking products that also happen to be made in ways that are mindful of the environment and workers. The store’s blend of artisanal fair-trade goods and ethically made products includes clothing made out of sustainable fibers such as hemp, bamboo, and organic cotton, and items produced in the U.S. or through companies that pay overseas workers a fair wage. Other goods include eco-friendly denim by Joe’s Jeans, which uses 60 percent less water and 30 percent less energy to produce than a typical pair of jeans; natural-rubber rain boots by Roma, which donates a pair of boots to a child in need with every purchase; leather goods by local maker Solid Manufacturing; and fringed, beaded handbags in bright colors by Minneapolis-based fair-trade brand Lion Heart Girl.
Because of the higher wages paid to workers and the higher quality of fabrics, sustainable goods generally cost more than fast-fashion—which Erickson balances by stocking some clothing items for under $100 and accessories and tees for less than $30. “Sustainable fashion can be expensive,” she says, “but it’s worth it, knowing you’re doing something better for the environment.”
1566 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-414-9698, www.spoilsofwear.com