Tag Archives: ethical

Striped Dress

I discovered a new brand while shopping my way through Germany. Armed Angels is an fair-trade, organic, eco fashion line that proves ethical fashion is stylish.

Armed Angels dress

Dress: Armed Angels
Coat: Thrifted
Peace necklace: Brooklyn Flea Market
Cuff: Express
Pleather boots: Bucco

I love the quality and details. See how the stripes from the front and back panels line up perfectly? That’s the kind of thing I love. I’ve found great patterned items before and the stripes or whatnot didn’t line up. It drove me crazy and I didn’t buy the pieces.

stripes and denim

This dress came from Veganista, a vegan eco boutique I visited in Munich. The shop was fantastic! A cute little place with loads of treasures. Owner Rahel Goldner was so nice and took the time to answer all my questions and show me pieces that I found interesting. It was so exciting to meet other veganistas!

dress and boots

I bought a shirt, a pair of jeans, and a couple of t-shirts from Armed Angels, so expect to see a few more posts down the road.

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Jeans and a Mayamiko Tee

I’ve had my eye on a few items on the Mayamiko website, so imagine my surprise when I had the opportunity to take one of their limited-edition Time for Tee shirts for a test run.

African-print Tee

Tee c/o: Mayamiko
Jeans: Suzy Shier
Pleather boots: Diba
Cuff: Boutique in NYC
Earrings: DIY

I was drawn to Mayamiko’s beautiful African patterns with a contemporary twist, and I was really wowed when I learned Mayamiko products are ethically made in Malawi. The brand is fair trade, and provides training, a trade, living wages, and steady employment without harsh conditions—exactly the things I strive to support!

Mayamiko Tee and jeans

I chose this bold red, black and blue design because I knew it would be a great top to dress up denim. It’s also going to look great with black pants, my red jeans, and my blue pencil skirt. I love that the fabric has a slight stretch to it, which makes it really comfortable. It’s sturdy but not stiff, and it keeps its shape well.

Red and blue look from Mayamiko

On the site, you’ll see prices in British pounds, but you can change the currency using the drop-down. Sizes are also UK, so be sure to check the chart before ordering. I’m usually a US 6 or 8 and I ordered a UK 12. While I was choosing my tee, I couldn’t resist the Mayamiko culottes that I found on the website, so you’ll be seeing this top remixed soon!

Mayamiko Tee

Check out Mayamiko and see which pieces you like!

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Splurge vs Steal: Boots Edition

A few years ago, I found a pair of black leather Louboutins at a consignment shop. They were still expensive, but much more within reach than a new pair. I bought them. I also liked that since they weren’t new, I could buy them (I’d been staying away from new leather since I went vegan in 2000).

Well, I’ve had a change of heart. I don’t even wear used leather now because there are so many alternatives and I prefer to support vegan companies like Cri de Coeur and Novacas.

So I sold my Louboutins, along with my pre-owned Manolos, a couple of pair of Jimmy Choos, and some Fluevogs. With my windfall, I started replacing my shoes. The first pair I found were dead-ringers for the booties I’d sold. Have a look:

Louboutins vs DSW brand

Audrey Brook might not be a coveted brand or household word, and they don’t have a trademark red sole, but they fit well, are made of synthetic material, and cost 5% of a pair of new Louboutins. Yes, they were $50 (the Louboutins were $995 new).

The new ones aren’t quite as high, but that’s fine with me. Weather you stay away from leather or are just looking for not spend all your rent money on a pair of shoes, these will do the trick!

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My New Vaute Couture Coat

Let’s it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

I’m ready! Of course we don’t have snow at the moment, but Seattle had experienced a cold snap lately. I don’t mind though–I get to put my new Vaute Couture coat to the test.Vaute coat

Emily coat: Vaute Couture
Scarf: Fred Meyer’s
Jeans: Just USA
Pleather booties: Diba

I almost didn’t buy this 3/4 length coat because it’s “warm enough for a Chicago winter” and we don’t get weather like that around here often. I’m so glad I got it though. It’s cozy and toasty without being bulky. When the cold stays out, I don’t hunch over to stay warm. So I can walk with my head held high, no matter what the temperature.

I’ve been wearing it zipped half up, moto-style, but I can zip it all the way up to really keep my neck warm. I unzipped the hood already, but I’ll add it back to show you how cute (and toasty) it is.

bright accessories

I love the velvety soft fabric and bright blue color. I’ve tried a couple of different looks so far. I love my bright pink infinity scarf, but I also like the blue stripes. They both go with the other, shorter Vaute jacket I bought the day this arrived in the mail. I loved this so much that I had to get another one.

Best of all, this is wool-free, 100% vegan, and has a quilted, recycled fiber lining. Vaute is a design house based in Brooklyn. It’s great that all of Vaute’s clothing is made in New York, by people who are paid fair wages. I love supporting small businesses–especially ethical ones!

I preordered this in early September at a great price. Buying before the coats are made gives the company funds to make the line.

I am more than thrilled with my coat. It almost makes me appreciate winter.

I’ve joined Style Elixir, The Pleated Poppy, Elizabeth Nygard, and Transatlantic Blonde for blog link-ups today. See what everyone else is wearing!

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Why I Shop

At the beginning of the year I joined the Wartime Wardrobe Challenge, a fun way to monitor and limit consumption by using the clothes rationing coupon system used in the UK during WWII, when supplies and raw materials were limited. I started with 66 point and they were supposed to last me all year.

Well, I’m out. I’m out of points so I’m bowing out of the challenge.

I did learn a few things from it though.

First, if it really was wartime, and my brothers and husband were off fighting Nazis and fascists, I probably wouldn’t feel like shopping.

cannon

Second, I didn’t really change my shopping habits or use my points carefully. Every month or so I’d remember the challenge and tally up what I’d bought and how many points it was going to cost me. I knew that for every coupon overspend, I’d need to donate to charity. I already do that and I’d have to buy a lot more to catch up with the amount I’ve already given.

Third, our economy relies of the exchange of goods and services. If everyone stopped shopping, it wouldn’t be a good thing. That said, living within ones means is really important–being in debt is dangerous.

I like shopping second-hand–it’s a great way to make my shopping dollar stretch further–but charities aren’t always perfect. Sometimes their workers are exploited while their CEOs make millions. Sometimes the things Americans don’t buy get shipped to Africa, essentially ruining their domestic textile markets.

What I look for, in order of importance, are:

  • Animal-free clothing (as a vegan I don’t buy fur, leather, wool, silk, etc.)
  • Quality items that won’t fall apart and end up in a landfill
  • Fair labor conditions where workers get a living wage
  • Green business practices that have a small carbon footprint

An example of something I bought that meets these criteria is the pair of Novacas boots I novacasbought. They’re 100%vegan, from a European worker-friendly factory, and are PVC-free. I got them from a local vegan business, The Chocolate Shoebox, that I was happy to support.

I also recently ordered two pair of jeans from Sonas Denim, a San Francisco company that uses denim scraps to make great new patchwork-style jeans. The company is vegan-owned and donates 10% of its profits to animal welfare groups. When my new jeans arrive, you can bet I’ll be blogging about them!

My purchases at ROThe Base Project hires African artisans to create one-of-a-kind bracelets from discarded PVC pipe. Brilliant! You can see The Base Project bracelet in this photo, along with another vegan bracelet, handmade ring, and one-of-a-kind dress. I bought them all from Roberta Oaks, a shop owner an up-and-coming designer in Honolulu.

Next month, when I visit NYC, I’ll be buying a wool-free winter coat from Vaute Couture, another vegan company I’m happy to support.

It’s not my job to single-handedly keep the economy going, and shopping ethically is not a simple thing–there are lots of factors to consider. However, I’m happy to spend when I can afford to and support businesses I believe in.

I’m grateful to the Little House in Town and The Double Life of Mrs. M for organizing this challenge and getting me thinking about shopping.

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Fashion Saves the Birds

You might sometimes think that fashion has gone to the birds, but in the 1920s, it actually saved a few species.

You see, in the late 1800s, large, ornate hats were all the rage. Adorned with lace and pearls and feathers, some even had entire bird nests or cages incorporated into them! And a Victorian lady never left the house without a hat.

plaumed hat

A Victorian hat at the Shark Valley visitors' center in Florida

Hunters descended on the Florida Everglades in search of spoonbills, flamingos, herons, and egrets. These birds were favored for their plumes so they were killed by the millions. Conservationists tried to stop the massacre (around this time a few of them formed the National Audubon Society), but still the demand grew.

Eventually, feathers were worth more than double their weight in gold! That meant it was more lucrative (and easier) to kill birds than to pan for gold. In a time when a month’s rent was $10, the plumes of four birds would fetch $32.

birds shot for their feathers

Hunters killed millions of birds in the lucrative feather trade

Hunters shot every adult bird they could find, leaving orphaned chicks and unhatched eggs to die. Two generations of birds were wiped out because of a fashion trend.

Even after hunting was outlawed, the slaughter continued. One of the country’s first game wardens, Guy Bradley, was hired to patrol southern Florida and prevent poaching. He was murdered by a hunter while protecting the Everglades. Two other men–a game warden and a deputy sheriff–were killed soon after.

Egret

An egret in the Everglades that I shot (with a camera)

It seemed like nothing could save the birds and end the senseless bloodshed of human and animal life.

Then, the Jazz Age hit and flappers abandoned large hats for bobbed hair and smaller hats or headbands. As the demand for feathered hats diminished, bird populations began to recover.

bob cut

An example of the flapper haircut: feathered hat not required

Perhaps the flappers didn’t choose a new style because they thought of the birds, but the shift in sartorial trends made a huge impact on animals. All it took was for people not to buy feathered hats. It’s a simple strategy that we can do today: decrease the demand to stop questionable practices.

Every time we buy something we’re voting with our dollars. Whether it’s fur (and feathers–even today, birds die to satiate the demand for trends), sweatshops, or sustainability, industries thrive or wither away because of consumer choices.

What are you interested in? Fair trade, recycled, thrifted, locally made, handmade, vegan, cruelty-free, organic? There’s a lot to consider–and it does make a difference. I hope you don’t find it overwhelming. It’s empowering to know we can make a difference in how we choose to shop.

References:

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Thrifty Thursday: Teal and Denim Swapped Look

I love a bargain, and I like reducing my environmental footprint. That’s why I enjoy thrifting and swapping: They’re great ways to keep clothing out of the landfills and reduce commercial waste (manufacturing clothing uses a lot of resources). Here’s an outfit that I recently got for free at a clothing exchange.

swapped outfit

teal and gray

Jacket: swapped
Jeans: Gap via swapped
T-shirt: Target
Boots: Dr. Martens
Necklace: Reconstructed Clothing Co.

The teal, cotton jacket was a Brooklyn NY find but didn’t get enough wear so its owner brought it to a clothing exchange I recently went to. The gray jeans were too snug for their original recipient so I grabbed them. I already owned the t-shirt, boots, and necklace. The necklace, however, is made from a recycled ticket, so it counts as part of the ethical portion of this outfit.

upcycled necklace

I recently joined the Ethical Fashion Bloggers, run by Ceri over at Style Eyes, so I can share my ideas and get lots of new ones. Check out what’s going on over there for neat ideas you can use too.

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