The Scough, a scarf embedded with the same high-grade germ filters that the military uses to protect against chemical warfare, is the fashionable answer to flu season. Instead of boarding the subway or walking near car exhaust with your face covered by a surgical mask, you can ward off illness in an infinitely more stylish way by sliding the front of the scarf over your mouth and ears to let its special activated-carbon filter work its magic. Scough’s Brooklyn-based founders came up the idea when they began covering their faces with scarves each winter in a doomed attempt to fight off germs and avoid the bizarre look of wearing surgical masks in public. When that didn’t work, they knew it was up to them to design a germophobe-friendly accessory that worked.
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As many of us have learned the hard way, ethically made clothing can be really, really hard to find. Shawl Wallah is a refreshing alternative to sweatshop-made scarves — the brand creates Pashminas by employing a cooperative of families in Kashmir, Northern India, where Pashmina originated. To make the beautiful scarves Shawl Wallah sells, super fine Pashmina hair is combed from goats’ coats, spun into wool, colored with vegetable dye and then handwoven in a process that can take up to two weeks for one shawl. The company has launched a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of raising $25,000 to help the business grow, increase order quantities to ensure artisans have enough to live on, eventually lower the price of the product, and increase marketing for more of an opportunity to do good in the world. As they say on their Kickstarter page, the project’s aim to create more positive change ”always was, always has been, and always will be all for the kids” of Kashmir. In fact, Shawl Wallah commits to donate 20 percent of the shawls’ sale price to Save the Children to support the young people of Kashmir.
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TRIBE, a social business that works with women in Uganda to help them sell their wares, is teaming up with L.A. jewelry brand TOMTOM to sell limited edition necklaces. Each piece combines the signature hand-rolled paper beads of TRIBE craftswomn together with tiny geometric brass beads that reflect the architectural aesthetic of TOMTOM Jewelry. The results are two beautiful statement necklaces that embody and empower the TRIBEGURL artisans of Uganda and their families. These limited edition necklaces are available for $70 on TOMTOM.
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 »