I often hear complaints that compassionate fashion is difficult to identify and access. Los Angeles-based fashion line Della is attempting to bring handcrafted clothes made in Ghana to the masses. This week, Della launched its new eight-piece capsule collection (items start at $50) in Urban Outfitters in hopes of infusing social consciousness and initiating sustainable change. Designer Tina Tangalakis works directly with a community in Hohoe, Ghana, employing over 55 employees and impacting the lives of over 250 with fair wages, education and job skills training. I don’t know about you, but I have my eye on that romper!
I’ve found that it’s surprisingly easy to find clothing and accessories that are up to ethical and sustainable standards, but when it comes to shoes, the pickings are few and far between. There’s certainly stylish, handcrafted, responsibly sourced footwear out there — if you’re willing to spend a minimum of $300 on a pair of shoes — but if your budget is closer to $100 or less, your options dwindle to recycled yoga mat flip flops or … well, that’s pretty much it. Timberland is working to change that with their Earthkeepers line. Made using recycled materials and sourced from factories and tanneries that have shown a commitment to the environment, Earthkeepers are stylish, high quality shoes that you can feel good about buying and wear for years to come. I’m particularly enamored by their summer collection of sandals and espadrilles. Click through to check out 10 of my faves!
Chip Bergh (best name), the CEO of Levi Strauss & Co, made major waves earlier this week when he implored people to stop washing their jeans. Bergh made the statements at a sustainability conference, and revealed that the jeans he was wearing at that moment were almost a year old — and had never seen the inside of a washing machine. The general reaction to Bergh’s words seemed to be a resounding “Eeeewwww!”, with a bit of “Huh?” mixed in. But pause your initial rush to judgment for one second, OK? Because the man has a damn good point. Keep reading »
Hipsters for Sisters is an accessories company founded by designer Debra Denniston and her two daughters. Their mission is to “liberate women from their baggage,” and they mean it, both literally — they specialize in hands-free belt bags — and figuratively — 10% of their profits are donated to organizations that aim to empower and liberate women. Hipsters for Sisters’ belt bags are not only cute, convenient, and fashion-forward, they’re also made in the USA of eco-friendly vegan leather, silk charmeuse, organic cotton, and other sustainable materials. How perfect would these be for concerts, festivals, or traveling, especially to areas where pick-pocketing is a major issue? I’m already fantasizing about wearing one for my trip to Lyon later this year — mostly because not lugging a purse around will give me an extra hand I can use to eat more cheese. Life dream status. After the jump, get the shopping details for the three fab bags shown above, and check out all the awesome, ethically made options on the Hipsters for Sisters website! Keep reading »
In addition, to celebrating our own mothers this Mother’s Day, let’s celebrate all of the loving mothers around the world. Noodle & Boo creates products that are recyclable, nontoxic, biodegradable, natural, organic, and sensitive enough for the most delicate skin. This environmentally and socially conscious company has a variety of skin care products for mommy and baby. Looking for a product that will make a special someone feel great inside and out? The Circle of Love campaign aims to prevent the spread of HIV from mother to child in Africa, and 100 percent of the profits from the sale of the Believe Honey Bar and “Our World” T-shirt will go to mothers in need. [Noodle & Boo]
The wildly popular website Zen Habits debuted in 2007. Miss Minimalist started blogging in 2009, and The Minimalists followed in 2010. There’s a subreddit each for minimalism, anti-consumption, and decluttering. There’s also one for tiny houses, and if you happen to downsize to the point that you can fit in 160 square feet or less, you can buy a mobile, pre-made tiny house – or build one yourself. Suffice it to say, there’s a growing American minimalist culture.
There are a lot of great reasons to go minimal: Donating your extra stuff to charity helps other people. Buying only what you need keeps your expenses low now and in the future. It’s good for the environment — downgrading from a car to a bike or public transit cuts CO2 emissions, and recycling or repurposing your possessions means one vote for less manufacturing. People who are anti-consumption downsize because they question a culture of consumption that values people by what they possess rather than who they are.
As an adult, I’ve spent a lot of time shopping for the latest fashion trends — but I could never truly keep up. More often, I found myself in the maddening cycle of buying cheap, clearance-rack, last-season cast-offs that were never designed for my body type, having them get misshapen from wear or laundering, and going back to the clearance rack for more. This year I finally got fed up. I wanted to stop the madness. To do that, I decided to step back from the endless cycle of fashion trends, and apply minimalism to my wardrobe. Keep reading »
Today is the one year anniversary of the tragic collapse of Rana Plaza, a garment factory in Savar, Bangladesh. Over 1,100 workers died in the collapse, and more than 2,500 were severely injured, making it the deadliest garment factory “accident” in history. I’m putting “accident” in quotes because the fact is this tragedy was completely preventable. The building, which was never zoned for factory use, was crammed with heavy machinery and crowded with workers, frantically trying to keep up with the impossibly rushed production cycle of fast fashion retailers in America and Europe. If we don’t want to see a repeat of Rana Plaza, something needs to change.
To mark this somber anniversary and kick off a call for change in the fashion industry, today has been branded Fashion Revolution Day. This year’s FRD theme is transparency. Here’s an excerpt from the official website: Keep reading »
FashionABLE is a company based in Nashville, Tennessee that seeks to create sustainable business opportunities for women in Ethiopia through stylish, handmade scarves and leather goods. FashionABLE is committed to creating long-term poverty solutions instead of a cycle of dependence, so they help women set up business collectives, assist with job training and education, and partner with local manufacturers to encourage hiring more women and paying fair wages. Then they step back and let the women take charge of their own destinies. As the company website states: “That means that your purchase of a scarf creates jobs so that the women are not dependent upon charity, but instead are a vital part of a developing economy.” Pretty awesome, right? Click through to check out some of the beautiful scarves (100% cotton and lightweight enough for spring and summer) and leather goods FashionABLE artisans are making right now!
Made is a UK brand offering affordable fashion forward jewelry crafted by skilled artisans using environmentally sound materials. Rest assured, no sweatshops were utilized to create these beauties. The company offers their Kenyan artisans training, job security, and safe work environments in an effort to empower developing communities. The results are lovely pieces that will enhance your jewelry collection and daily style. Click through to see eight of our favorite pieces.
Yesterday, ethical fashion collective Zady issued a battle cry against fast fashion companies like Forever 21, H&M, Urban Outfitters, Zara, and Topshop in the form of a full-page, no-punches-pulled ad in The Wall Street Journal. “Fast fashion is fast food,” the ad declares, listing some of the horrific side effects of our culture’s fast fashion addiction: exploited workers (mostly women), toxic pollution, and landfills overflowing with cheap, disposable clothing. It’s time to change our shopping habits. It’s time to value quality over quantity. It’s time to demand sustainable practices, fair wages, and safe work environments from the companies we support with our dollars. As Zady’s website puts it, “We should not be compelled to accept throwaway goods as a way of life.” Forgive me for being less than eloquent, but FUCK YES. Keep reading »