SUSTAINABLE E-TAILERS

It is exciting to see the growing demand for sustainable fashion. And by this, I mean the growth in the number of consumers as well as the number of very cool contemporary & luxury designers integrating sustainable initiatives into their company. The market is still small but ever growing as we see beautiful, desirable items that are equally, if not more engaging (because of the powerful initiatives packed within them) available for sale. Here are a few of my favorite online e-tailers that I particularly love and want to share with you.

Master & Muse

ambervaletta for masterandmuse Created by Amber Valetta, to provide a channel for sustainable shopping online. Amber has “sought out brands, artisans, designers and entrepreneurs who push the envelope in how fashion is designed, sourced, constructed and sold”. Partnered with YOOX.com to create “YOOXYGEN” a permanent eco-friendly project in collaboration with Master & Muse. The website is beautifully constructed with engaging designer bio-pics, easy to navigate layout & shopping, ultimately providing a luxurious shopping experience. Shop here 

Modavanti

modavantifounders You may recall I recently featured Modavanti when I interviewed with founders of the company. Modavanti is a one stop shop for consciously minded shoppers looking for sustainable, ethical, eco, organic, vintage, Made in USA, recycled, vegan, handmade, zero-waste items via their badge system. It’s awesome, easy and the selection is great and continually growing! They focus on clothing, bags, shoes, accessories, and wellness through natural beauty & lifestyle products. Mark my words, Modavanti will be the next net-a-porter in sustainable fashion. Shop here

 

Rev en Vert

Based out of London, this online shop is aesthetically pleasing to browse. The web layout is clean, minimalistic and sophisticated. It is an elegant, inspiring experience. They offer a variety of designers and brands to choose, from clothing, accessories, beauty and home wares, including Pamela Love, Hare + Hart, and Isabell de Hillerin. I love the designer brand profiles of each. They focus on companies that withhold local, sustainable, independent or ethical initiatives. I really look forward to watching their selection of designers increase! Shop here

Reformation

reformation

  “The fashion and textile industry is one of the most toxic, chemically dependent industries on earth and the #2 polluter of clean water”

As a leader in the industry, Reformation prides itself in three ethos when it comes to their fabric selection:

  1. Sustainable materials options (albeit I wish there was a little more initiative to use more natural organic fibres like cotton, wools, silks…)
  2. Repurposed vintage clothing
  3. Rescued deadstock fabric from fashion houses that over-ordered

I have yet to personally interview them for my blog (it’s on my list), however one of the most important questions I often ask sustainable companies is what initiatives they integrate into their studio office space. Reformation, openly boosts about their eco solutions, which include the use of clean energy, eco packaging (hugely important), energy efficient fixtures & appliances, recycled hangers & office supplies, unbleached/ chlorine free paper products, 75% recycled paper content and non-toxic janitorial supplies… Now this is a work environment I can happily get on board with everyday.

Next to that, all garments are designed, manufactured, photographed and shipped from their LA office. What I love most is that the clothing is well priced and beautifully desirable to individuals who may or may not choose clothes based on their sustainable values. Because as we all know that at the end of the day, being sustainable is one thing, but if the product is not well designed or aesthetically inspiring to wear then you’re not going to buy it. And this is the most important ingredient to sustainable fashion, it must appeal to the unassuming or unaware customer.

Shop here

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With this in mind, I would love to hear if you have a particularly favorite online sustainable e-tailer or retailer. I am constantly researching to learn what is new and available!

Happy shopping… sustainably’

 

Photos sourced from company websites. Modavanti photo taken by Andrew Boyle.

FEATURED GUEST BLOGGER on LIVING. PRETTY. NATURALLY.

LPN

I recently had the pleasure to be a guest blogger on Living Pretty Naturally, the natural beauty blogger Kate, whose wealth of knowledge is shared weekly on her site. She dives into every topic from health, beauty, food, body, organic, natural, raw, eco, sustainable… it’s all there!

My guest post was a first for her, on sustainable fashion. See below, as originally posted on here.

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I am constantly thrilled to learn about new sustainable brands, companies and organizations which are setting the benchmark for inspiring design an innovation. Long gone are the old stereotypes of bland “Eco” fashion.  That mentality is slowly melting away as people become better educated and interested in sustainable design.

And with this in mind, now that summer may be approaching an end, lets take this moment to recap some of my summer fav’s from head to toe; jewelry, swim, clothing, accessories and shoes! Focusing on New York based designers. It’s best to remember though, that fashion conscious brands like the ones listed here run in smaller volumes using high-quality materials with sustainable and ethical practices, thus these are not forever 21 prices. You pay for the integrity of these brands, which I must say are fairly priced when considering the alternatives!

MARA HOFFMAN

mara hoffmanA total babe & spiritual goddess, Mara is undoubtedly known for her kaleidoscope of tribal prints, evil eyes, dream-catchers & crystals that create a truly modern take on the boho style.  Oh and how could I almost forget, her swimwear! They are top of my list for summer purchases.Having met her a few times now, I feel a tease in her presence.  She collaborates with a number of local artists with sustainable fashion initiatives, such as Pamella Love & Osborn Shoes.Why I like her label,? Well besides the bold prints and lively colour palette, her brand radiates good karma. Although I wish there was a stronger focus on sustainable initiatives within her own styles, many of designs are made in the US, while she promotes those who do and designs with positive intention.Mara is a contemporary designer brand, you can expect prices between $200- 800 +.Mara-Hoffman-Carava#12BEF07MH 1MH 2MH. strappybandeautop_shaktiblack_swim__(1)Where to Buy: Online at www.marahoffman.com

 LEMLEM

liya-kebede OF LEMLEMLemlem may very well be the coolest way to breeze through the summer heat. But first lets start with the founder, Supermodel / actress and former World Health Organization’s Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, Liya Kebede! She discovered that traditional weavers in her native country of Ethiopia were losing their jobs due to a decline in local demand for their goods and wanted to do something about it. Recognizing the beauty, quality and historic significance of their work, Liya started Lemlem in 2007 as a way to inspire economic independence in her native country and to preserve the art of weavingI have a total crush on the Rucha Split Cover-ups, as well as their scarfs. And well for those with kids, she’s got that covered too!Lemlem is a contemporary brand fairly priced btw $110-500.LEMLEMLEMLEM SCARF2LEMLEM-kebedeWhere to Buy: Online on Lemlem’s website (stock list also available), as well as Barneys, Jcrew, Scoop & Creatures of Comfort.ACE & JIGace and jigI discovered Ace & Jig in my native home, Vancouver a little over a year ago at another fav boutique, One of a Few in Gastown. I was drawn to the gauze cotton cut in minimalistic styles and bold pattern and colours. I quickly inquired about their story and learned that the label works with textile specialists in India, weaving on ancient wooden handlooms. They travel several times a year to work one-on-one with weavers to create their authentic fabrics. Their Indian partners equally share their core values and practice holistic kaizen philosophy, while providing free childcare and using reclaimed water to grow organic produce for their employees.This contemporary brand is affordable with price points between $150-500 respectively.Where to Buy:Online on their website: http://www.aceandjig.com . New York: Barneys, Steve Allan among many others… In Vancouver Canada at: One of a Few. Check on the website for the entire global stock list.

PAMELLA LOVE

PAMELA LOVEHer name itself sparks interest. Even if you’ve never heard of her before now, you’re probably thinking you have, the name is just to familiar and has that star like quality. That’s not far off, as her gemstones have the luster and sparkle like the night skies. Pamella’s carefully crafted collection is committed to sustainability and local production. As stated on her website, “all gemstones and semiprecious stones are ethically sourced and almost all metal used is recycled. The entire jewelry-making process, from design to sampling to full-scale production, is completed domestically with the majority of it done in-house at Pamela Love’s Manhattan studio.”Too boot, Pamela Love’s creations are rooted with spiritual and intuitive influence from astronomy, astrology, alchemy, botany, the American Southwest and the architecture of her home, New York City. Quite often she incorporates traditional tribal artisan patterns from North Africa, Mexican folk art, and medieval European iconography into her designs. The result is signature pieces, easily identifiable with the Pamella aesthetic.Pamella’s collaborated with a number of designers, which include some of my favorites as well: Suno, Mara Hoffman, as well as, Zadig & Voltaire, Zac Posen, JCrew,, and Opening Ceremony.Her price point varies depending on the metals and gems used ($200-1000+) but you are guaranteed to have a timeless piece in your jewelry collection.Now that’s beautiful!PL. S4N53O_HALO_NECKLACE_BRASS_ONYX_largePL. PLOR1B_AjnaRing_18KYELLOW_WHITEDIAMONDS_WEB_cropped_largePL. Bullet_Talon_Cuff_Front_WEB_largeWhere to Buy: Online at www.pamelalovenyc.com (full stock list of stores available).

OSBORN SHOES

Last year I posted this photos on Instagram:OSBORN SHOES, MY PICA true summer favourite of mine. In fact when I love something I usually buy them in twos! This was no exception. I bought the ones above and these little lace slip-ons as well. Truth be told, I had to break them in and the first few wears were a little painful. However once they were broken in, they were a total dream to wear from morning to night, pounding the pavement!I discovered them at the New York, Brooklyn Flea Market in Williamsburg. After eyeing them on a few visits, I finally made the move to buy them. By that time I was a regular visitor to the co-owner who ran the market location. It was during these visits I learned and fell in love with their story behind the brand.Vertically integrated, these shoes are made ethically in Guatemala using traditional techniques sustainably to craft hand spun, woven & dyed textiles, using local leather for the soles and upper. They are among the few who carefully offer small-batch, direct to consumer footwear using eco-materials, which ultimately create one of kind creations.  In fact, I am wearing one of them now as I write this!There shoes are actually very reasonably priced, and the quality is fantastic. You’ll have them for years to come!OSBORN SHOESWhere to Buy: Online at www.shoposborn.com (stock list available)photos sourced from each designers websites/ instragram account.

MODAVANTI, SUSTAINABLE SHOPPING MADE EASY

Modavanti

Today I am really excited to share not only a great story and interview but I am thrilled to introduce a online retail destination to you. Modavanti, the sustainable style shopping mecca for ethical, vegan, eco, vintage, organic, made in USA … should I continue… contemporary fashions.

I reached out to the founders not long ago to inquire about featuring them here. I was thrilled when David Dietz the founder and co-owner of the Modavanti wanted to participate. It wasn’t long after that I met with Jesse, the Creative Director and co-owner. We met at Brooklyn Roasters in Dumbo and quickly dived into our mutual passions for sustainability, ethical and eco initiatives within fashion, health, lifestyle and so on.

Their story and journey in establishing Modavanti is inspiring and a true testament to honest integrity and intentions. I loved the moment when Jesse spoke about the community within the sustainable movement. Rather than designers, publications or competing retail destinations trying to be a proprietor about their initiatives, there is a real sense of community, conversation, sharing and helping to one another, as they all aim to achieve  the same goals in mind; awareness, growth, action and momentum in the sustainable fashion movement.

Already within their second year of establishment they are gaining a strong following and consumer base, having been featured in Conscious Magazine, among others.

Modavanti is a full service shopping location offering contemporary to designer labels in clothing, bags, shoes, accessories, beauty, home and wellness lifestyle. They offer varied price points and great incentives, like their modacycle program. They are the ones to watch within the online social ecom market, mark my word!

See my full interview below,

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Tell me about yourselves, your background and how you guys came to launch the company together?

Jesse and I actually met in the Middle East. Before Modavanti, we were working as conflict journalists in the Middle East covering the Arab Spring. I was writing for Policy Mic and Jesse was doing photography and digital media.

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What motivated both of you to work in the fashion industry & to begin a fashion e-com destination?

It wasn’t so much that we were motivated to work in fashion as it was to “start something that matters.” We are interested by fashion and design but it was the opportunity to both have a social impact and create a successful business that attracted us to sustainable fashion. Most people don’t realize that the textile industry is the third largest and second dirtiest industry in the world behind agriculture and oil and gas. That’s not right and we felt compelled to do something about it and do it with style.

I would love to learn about Modavanti’s philosophy and goals through the e-retail site, could you share this with me?

Our goal is to be the recognized destination for the socially conscious consumer to find clothing that fits her values without compromising on style. We want to be the site that coalesces the sustainable fashion movement and brings it to the mainstream.

Through these philosophies, what initiatives do you have in place to achieve these goals?

We want Modavanti to be a site that you can shop the latest trends, discover the newest brands and learn about the latest advances in sustainable fashion. To that effect, we have launched many initiatives to achieve those goals. We started ModaCycle, which is a way for consumers to responsibly give back and receive site credit for doing so, we’ve thrown flash mob fashion shows to show that sustainability is chic and we have a blog where we highlight and comment on the best in sustainable style.

Tell me about the badge system, how does it work?

The badge system was set up to allow customers to be able to easily shop their values.

We have 8 badges. On the Eco-friendly side: Recycled, Vegan, Eco-materials, Organic, Vintage and on the ethically-sourced side: Made in USA, Artisan made, Fair Trade. Brands must meet at least one of the badges 100% to be included on the site although we look for and strongly encourage brands to meet more than that.

How do you ensure the brands you represent meet the sustainable badge guidelines?

We speak with the designers and founders of the brands, visit designer showrooms if they are local, work off of third-party certifications and research brands on sustainable fashion blogs and publications. We do our best to work with brands that were recommended to us as well. However, we recognize that until we are big enough to send someone to each brand studio around the world, that at some point, choosing our brands still comes down to trust and our intuition that are brands are sincere.

_DSC3117What has been the learning curve since you launched Modavanti two years ago?

We’re still learning and still trying new initiatives or marketing campaigns. Technology and fashion are industries that move so quickly. If you don’t keep up you will be left behind so we are always tinkering and trying new things to give our customers a better experience.

What have you learned about consumer behaviour since you launched? What is trending?

We are undergoing an incredible shift in consumer behaviour towards sustainability and wellness. Organic foods, going to the gym and taking care of our health are trends that have exploded in the past decade and are here to stay. As that happens, more and more people are turning their attention towards understanding what they are wearing. There are so many chemicals and waste in our fashion and people are beginning to understand that those chemicals can really harm them, their children and the environment and are beginning to shop differently.

And with that in mind, what would you say customers are gravitating towards? Which brands, styles…?

Organic, Made in USA and vegan are our more successful badges. People are concerned about what they are putting on their bodies and looking for organic natural materials. When it comes to Made in USA, I think there is also a trend toward higher-quality and feeling connected to our communities. And of course there is a growing Vegan community who rightly refuse to protect animals with what they wear.

How has the company grown thus far? Do you sell outside USA? North America or global?

We currently only sell to the USA and Canada although we are hoping to introduce shipping to Europe and Australia soon.

What is the best part of having a fashion conscious company?

I couldn’t work for a company whose mission that I didn’t believe in. It’s incredible powerful to work towards a mission with a higher purpose. Climate change and labor rights are a huge challenge and problem, so to be able to work on something and work with such incredible brands that are attempting to make a positive difference is an incredibly uplifting and rewarding feeling.

_DSC3151And, what are the challenges of having a fashion conscious company?

There are many. A big one has been the stigma that “sustainability” is either too expensive or not stylish. Neither is the case. We are never going to compete with Walmart prices, but consumers shouldn’t want that. Those prices are morally bankrupt and lead to poorly made clothing that comes at the cost of others.

What has been the most important part in building a following and consumer base?

I think it comes down to being genuine and honest with the consumer. What we are building is difficult and we are not perfect, but we are working towards transforming and redefining an industry that has been known for waste and turning into one that hopefully will become cleaner, safer and better. I think that is something people respond to.

What sustainable business practices do you implement within your own studio office? (recycling, energy efficient operations etc…)

We recycle, use energy efficient lightbulbs, try not to use air-conditioning or heat and I wash my jeans in the freezer. It kills the bacteria more so than washing and uses no water. Everyone can do that!

Lastly, how do you envision your Modavanti transforming in the future?

We want to continue to grow our community and keep pushing the movement forward. This fall we are adding active wear and men’s wear (finally) which further shows the versatility of the sustainable fashion movement. Beyond that, while we’re starting with clothing but it doesn’t have to end there. We want to show you can live a complete sustainable lifestyle.

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Here are just a few Modavanti instagram snap shots of the amazing designer goods available on Modavanti. Already in my shopping cart is the black leather grocery bag from BAGGU & a pair of futuristic sunnies from Westward Leaning !!

Special thanks to MODAVANTI for welcoming me to your studio & sharing your story! 
Studio & Interview Photography provided the incredibly talented Andrew Boyle- thank you for capturing those moments!!

XX

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star quality

cover

photo taken by me

I’ve always been fascinated by small sparkly objects. As a child when I would visit my grandma, I would run to give her a big hug hello and then b-line it directly to her bedroom and open her magical red velvet jewelry box. I would try on all her rings and necklaces and come out one by one and ask if one day I could have them. My fascination probably began with all my moms blingy 80’s jewels that initially caught my eye. To which I also ransacked her jewelry box all the time… oh wait I still do!

Today I love to mix and match my precious pieces with costume jewelry, very much the same way as I do with my clothing. Many of my pieces are mixes of precious and semi precious metals and stones. I love to stack rings, bracelets and necklaces, while wearing yellow gold, brass and silver all together.

I never gave too much thought on the origin or efficacy  of my pieces until recent years. Hollywood movies like, Blood Diamond, ignited those questions brewing in my mind, while in the last few years there has been a growth in small independent jewelers abroad. Whole waves of unique pieces, pendants, and styles have emerged, creating pieces far more interesting then your mass-market jewelry retail chain. Naturally, I like many are attracted to the variety of designs out there. It has also become interesting to watch the innovators who crafted individual styles and those who are mass marketing them in cheaper variations.

The jewelry industry is a very complicated one that proves challenging to trace the origins of its sources. The majority of precious metals and stones are mined in 3rd world and developing nations where ethical and sustainable regulations are not strictly enforced. Efforts to have universal certifications are making progress but still far from globalized.

Recently the BoF discussed the complications and delicacy of the industry behind the precious metals and gemstones used in the jewelry market. Needless to say the environmental and human efficacy is among the largest concerns the industry is faced with.

Never-the-less there are a number of progressive jewellers out there producing beautiful pieces at all price rangers.

Here are a few of my favs!

 

Pamella Love.

pamlove1

Her name itself sparks interest. Even if you’ve never heard of her before now, you’re probably thinking you have, the name is just to familiar and has that star like quality. That’s not far off, as her gemstones have the luster and sparkle like the night skies. Pamella’s carefully crafted collection is committed to sustainability and local production. As stated on her website, “all gemstones and semiprecious stones are ethically sourced and almost all metal used is recycled. The entire jewelry-making process, from design to sampling to full-scale production, is completed domestically with the majority of it done in-house at Pamela Love’s Manhattan studio.”

Her designs are rooted with spiritual and intuitive influence from all areas of interest: astronomy, astrology, alchemy, botany, the American Southwest, architecture, North Africa, Mexican folk art, and medieval European iconography. The result is signature pieces, easily identifiable with the Pamella aesthetic.

Pamella’s collaborated with a number of designers, which include some of my favorites as well: Suno, Mara Hoffman, Monique Péan, as well as Zadig & Voltaire, Zac Posen, JCrew and Opening Ceremony… to name a few.

Her price point varies depending on the metals and gems used ($200-1000+) but you are guaranteed to have a timeless piece in your jewelry collection.

Now that’s beautiful!

Prices range from $150-$1000+

pamella love jewels

 Monique Péan.

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A New York based fine jewelry brand known for its unqiue designs, avant-garde style and unconventional materials, including sustainable fossilized walrus ivory, woolly mammoth ivory and dinosaur bone. Monique Péan is committed to partnering with artisans around the world to support traditional craftsmanship and cultural heritage. Through her company, she strives to raise awareness of art, culture and global environmental issues through design. Proceeds from her jewelry sales contribute to global philanthropic organizations such as charity: water, which provides clean drinking water and basic sanitation to people in developing nations.

Second to that, Monique Péan’s ensures all materials using environmentally responsible procedures. As shared on her website in great detail, she “combines 18 carat recycles gold and platinum with conflict and devastation free precious stones, diamonds and fossils. Fossilized woolly mammoth, fossilized walrus ivory and fossilized dinosaur bones are sustainably gathered with no mining involved. The company is also a member of the No Dirty Gold campaign and a supporter of the Too Precious to Wear campaign”.

For more detail about her initiatives, please visit her website! You wont be disappointed.

Where to buy? Check out her website for full stocklist. Prices go up from $1000

MP

MAIYET

A fashion conscious luxury love of mine, Maiyet produces more then just inspiring ethical and sustainable clothing designs and leather goods; they also create one of a kind jewelry pieces ethical sourced and produced. Although they come with luxury prices, they are timeless investment pieces in your jewelry collection.

Prices range from from $300-$1000+

MAIYET

EDUN

Primarily focused on clothing, EDUN’s recent collaborations with jewelry designer, Penny Winter has brought locally sourced and African made pieces to the global market, utilizing raw stones and training local craftsman’s the art and trade.

EDUN collaborations with URU Diamonds, guarantees a 100% conflict free gem stone jeweler, focusing on rough diamonds and precious gems. They actively work in cooperation with SOS Childrens villages, which support education for children in the rural areas where the stones are sourced.

Although EDUN’s jewelry collection may be small, the conscious effort is there to work sustainably with these artisans. Creative Director Danielle Sherman, traveled to Africa to meet with both local artists before collaborating.

Prices range from $400+

EDUN 

BARIO NEAL

A fairly recent discovery of this jeweler, I adore their unique style. Within the website they clearly outline the origins of their metals, diamonds and gemstones, which includes Canadian certified ethical diamonds from the Northern Territories, recycled and fair-minded metals, diamonds and gemstones with partnership with Tanzania Women Miner’s Association.

Helpful note: As noted on the website, “Fairmined certified miners are held to strict environmental, labor, and social and economic development standards. They are paid fair wages, work in safe environments, and mine on a small, environmentally conscious scale.”

Reasonably priced from $96- $1000+

BRIO NEAL

Alkemie Jewelry

Another recent find, Alkemie is a 100% reclaimed metal jeweler, reusing metals to create hand carved and crafted manifestations of all sorts. They use a gold and silver patina on lead and nickel free metals.

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I would love to know who are your favourite socially conscious jewelry designers? Please share!!

 

xx

all photos sourced from company website and photoshopped by me

FIRST WORLD NATION

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photo sourced by ecouterre

Raising controversy, Forever  21 opened an even cheaper sister brand F21 RED precisely located in LA’s South Gate working-class community of Azalea Shopping Center, where tops range between $1.80-3.80 and pants at $7.80. Evidently they are able to “deliver greater quantities of the styles [their] customers seek, while maintaining the value with entry-level category price points Forever 21 is known for offering” as Don Chang, Forever 21′s founder and CEO stated and shared on Refinery 29.

Needless to say, questions are being raised about the ethics, necessity & sustainability of such cheap fashions. Even in tough economic times, I think we can all agree that as a first world nation there is no need for clothing to be this cheap. Leeann Duggan from Refinery 29 makes a good point stating, “What does it say about the value we truly place on fashion — and the people who make our garments”. It is insult to injury to the 1133 factory workers who needlessly died, over 2500 injured and the hundreds of children consequently left orphaned from the building collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh just over one year ago. While many other design houses and commercial brands are focusing transparency throughout the supply chain and while global initiatives beginning to be set in place to change the garment factory working conditions, one can only raise an eye brow to this low brow scheme.

canda.com photo rana plaza

Photo sourced from canada.com “Forever 21′s $1.80 shirts: How cheap is too cheap?”

… Now, the views expressed are of my personal perspective. Brace yourself, I am going to be quite candid with you here’

I say scheme for a reason:

  1. Despite this being Forever 21′s first test concept store, F21 RED (could be considered “cleverly”) positioned amongst America’s working-lower-class. Perpetuating an ill twisted system of keeping the lower class hungry for “better deals” and encouraging them to buy more with the mindset that they are getting a bargain and saving money.
  2. Dare I say this is a capitalist mindset?! … keeping the rich, rich and the poor, poor etc. (for lack of better word), distracting them with “lower prices!”
  3. It is essentially a garbatory of clothing that is not made to last beyond a few wears let alone a season, if lucky! Thus contributing to a global problem of disposable clothing clogging landfills and exponentially spewing toxicity into the environment for every component of its development, manufacturing and its final resting place… in the trash.
  4. F21 RED prices purposely make them accessible to an even younger generation of customers… “children & tweens”… who could now independently spend their allowance, babysitting or birthday money on these cheap fashions. It just feels icky! A way to exploit children at a young age, teaching them needless consumption and greed for more. Dont get me wrong, I loved fashion and to shop from a young age but I still had to save up my allowance for a shirt, it was a special treat, not the norm and certainly not financially accessible at these prices.
Livia-Firth

Photo sourced by ‘reve en vert’

Admittedly I was shocked (but not shocked) by the gusto in Forever 21 motives. Proudly, I am not a customer of their store and find the shopping environment and experience unpleasant, whilst obviously I don’t resonate with the company morals or business model. More so, I find it such an odd contradiction to the global sustainability movement, like a last attempt to make fast disposable fashion relevant whilst having complete ignorance, disregard and lastly respect to all those involved in the supply chain and purchasing consumer. There I said it!

With this in mind, lets talk about getting  “more fashion mileage per piece”, an article recently written by Livia Firth (Collin Firth’s wife) for the BoF. Livia is known for her sustainable fashion initiatives, particularly raising awareness through and with her celebrity, while encouraging other celebrities to follow suite, thus sharing the message to the vast public consumer.

Regardless if we are talking about a different consumers, the same mentality applies. At all price points and income levels, education and importance on the value of our purchased items needs to improve. For many, we no longer have any value, regard or respect for the clothing we buy. We buy shirt for friday night on friday afternoon and we accept that it’ll only last a few wears and be tossed away afterwards and yet we are ‘okay’ with this system. Literally throwing our money away.

Livia poignantly says,

For the last 15 years, we have been… buying clothing in a rush and discarding it just as quickly. Meanwhile, the cost of fashion has plummeted. You can buy full outfits for the same price as a sandwich and a cup of coffee. But the true cost is picked up by those unseen in the supply chain, working anonymously in difficult conditions, sometimes enslaved, and rarely mentioned — certainly not on the swing tag.

It is time to change the terms. Fashion brands must begin to acknowledge their debt to both the natural world and to the people who make their business possible. They need to invest in sustainable approaches both for their future and our future. Why in haute couture do we talk about the hours of work that go into hand embellishing a garment, but in fast fashion we ignore it?

And this is why I am disappointed with companies such as Forever 21 (F21 RED) for not taking initiative or responsibility for their role in society and the direct impact they have on both the thousands of anonymous garment workers and the consumers they target.

We all have a responsibility here and the ability to participate and affect positive or consequently negative change.

In truth, I’ve found myself most recently going through my own clothing, bored of what I have to choose from, desiring new “cool” pieces and seeing what I have to donate. In actual fact, I dont dispose of that much each season or year. I would be lying if I said there are not a few pieces in my donate box that were “fast fashion finds” that only made it through a few seasons. Those are the pieces that although I enjoyed wearing them for their short lived time, I regret purchasing. I would have rather paid more money for a similar, if not authentic variation of the style, made of better quality material where I could still wear it today. Now when I look for affordable trendy finds, I search out “quality pieces”  in natural fibres where I know it will withstand multiple washes and wears for a few seasons to go. Even still, I am leaning away from purchasing cheaper imitations to save up for the designer styles I ultimately desire, that will become staples in my wardrobe.

It is also a great time to get creative. Rather then tossing out what feels like “out-of-date” or “irrelevant” clothes in my closet, I have been finding new ways to reinterpret them with this seasons trends: Here are some of my tips and tricks:

  • Trying on new ways to wear a jacket or shirt (rolled up sleeves, popped collar, tucked-in…)
  • Cutting raw hem, edges and distressing on my denim jeans, jackets and shorts
  • Cutting new necklines or armhole shapes in “old” t-shirts with raw edges
  • Also bleaching & dip dying my denim
re-fashion

photo taken by moi

I encourage each of us to buy more intentionally and get more “fashion mileage” out of each piece we purchase. To buy with commitment, integrity and a sense of liability, as we must not only fall in love with just the fashion itself but the stories the clothes bring within them.

 

THE FUTURE OF FASHION THROUGH CONSCIOUS CONSUMERISM

I recently read an interview with Julie Gilhart posted by BoF about Conscious Consumerism. Julie Gilhart was the former Fashion Director at Barney’s NY, currently a consultant to Amazon.com & their online clothing store.  What immediately caught my attention was her independent passion to merge her own sustainable beliefs & lifestyle into the world of fashion through conscientious decisions and empowerment.

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Known for her love of discovering, encouraging, supporting and connecting young design talent to retailers, Julie has significantly influenced the fashion industry, drawing attention to sustainable initiatives and designers alike.

For those of us who actively seek conscientious alternatives in our lifestyle, many of us remember when or what first triggered our change. As for myself, from a very early age I was concerned about the environment. I never littered, I was appalled by those who did (including friends of mine) and I went so far (& still do) to pick up the trash on the streets left ignorantly by others. I will never understand why some people think it was someone else’s job to pick up after them? Why should that job even exist…? Where in their upbringing were they told this is an okay’ behaviour…? It’s a strange sense of entitlement that I never understood.

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FALL 2014 BEST ETHICAL + SUSTAINABLE COLLECTIONS

MIA, not the band… Me! And with good reason! I have a number of exciting projects underway. Never the less it’s left little time to post here and in my absence there has been so much I’ve wanted to share. My blog-to-do list is lonnnng…!!!

Fashion month may be over, however I think it’s the perfect time to reflect back at the month that was and review next seasons traceable trends…

Let’s start with the most luxurious ethical, sustainable conscientious designer collections this season on the runway.

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