Tag Archives: ethical fashion

The True Cost Film Screening

Being a fashion blogger has opened my eyes to a lot about the fashion industry—not all of it good. You may have noticed that I love to attend clothing exchanges and I love supporting local designers and small businesses. I also don’t wear animals. People, animals, and the earth are important but they are often exploited in the name of business.

true costLast year I watched The True Cost, and I learned a lot about the human and environmental impacts of the fashion industry. The film sheds light on the wasteful nature of fast fashion and the horrible working conditions in the factories where cheap clothing is made.

This groundbreaking documentary asks the simple question: “Who made my clothes?” It features activists and green fashion companies too (it’s not all grim). And it drives home the obvious fact that no one should die making the styles we love to wear.

Click here to see the trailer.

Edit: I showed this film in Seattle last week and people were really moved by it. If you’d like to see it, it’s available on Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon. Please have a look and let me know what you think of it.

 

 

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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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Flouncy Skirt and Turquoise Tank

Here’s my first H2T outfit from Germany. I picked up this flouncy skirt at an outdoor art market in Berlin. I was drawn to the 70’s, Pucci-inspired print and great colors. It’s a great travel piece too. It packs small and doesn’t wrinkle. I met the designer herself—another reason why I liked the piece. I was supporting a small, local business.

turquiose top

Top: Tranquillo
Cardi: Thrifted
Skirt: Karo und Punkte
Shoes: Aerosoles
Jewelry: Markets in Berlin

Later in my trip, I found this terrific tank. It’s designed by a German company, made in India, and is fair trade. I loved the asymmetrical woven details on one shoulder.

flouncy skirt

Next to Karo und Punkte at the market, I saw a vendor selling this neat puzzle-piece necklace. My mom got one as well. I forgot to check to see if the pieces fit together. I bet they do.

silver jewelry

Also in Berlin, at the Mauer Park flea market, I met a wonderful vendor who sells silver jewelry from Turkey. I bought three rings from her, two of which you can see here.

summer outfit

It’s funny how when I’m not trying to buy an entire outfit, all the pieces just come together.

 

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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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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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Red Dress Two Ways

My mom and I have similar tastes in clothing (sometimes). We have our own styles too (as I so delicately told her when I was five years old). Because there’s overlap in the things we like, we sometimes end up buying the same things. We found these dresses at a street market in Florida. They have a soft, almost terry feel with a nice stretch and a retro neckline.

There are a lot of different ways we plan to style these dresses. My mom already paired it with leggings for her birthday dinner. This time, she wore tights and boots.

mom in dress

I decided to try gray instead of black as my accent color. I removed the belt that came with the dress to see how it would change the shape.

jean in dress

I’ll try it with boots next and later with nude heels and bare legs.

I’m including this dress is my Ethical Fashion Blogger Roundup because it was reasonably priced ($20), included a faux leather belt (animal-friendly), and is made in the USA. It’s hard to find clothing made domestically and I like buying American when I can.

Oh, one more thing: My mom perfected her flat iron technique. The Hana Flat Iron I wrote about recently worked well for her smooth-haired look.

smooth hair

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DIY Rug Skirt

I am not a doormat–but my skirt is! I made this awesome stretchy pencil skirt from two doormats I bought at the dollar store. The mats are made of stretchy strips of fabric (scraps from the garment industry, I believe). I have to give credit to a pair and a spare. I saw this idea on her blog.

rug skirt

Top: Flea market
Skirt: DIY
Necklace: Macy’s
Cuff: Claire’s
Tights: Roots Canada
Boots: Old Navy
Clutch: Victoria’s Secret

red, white, and black

I laid the rugs on a table, placed one of my own fitted skirts over it and pinned the rugs so I knew where to sew. Twenty minutes and two dollars later, I had an awesome skirt.

the rug

I sewed the basic shape, trimmed the excess material from the edges, and then zig-zagged over the new edges so my skirt would stay together. Because the rug/skirt is stretchy I didn’t even have to add a zipper. I simply pull it on.

stretchy skirt

This project was easy and fun. I’m happy to showcase it as part of this month’s Ethical Fashion Blogger roundup.

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My Holiday Party Outfit

I had a blast at this year’s company holiday party. The theme was a mashup of Alice in Wonderland and masquerade ball. With all the options surrounding both ideas, I knew getting dressed for the party would be fun. I wrote about what I did at the party earlier.

I decided to wear my tiny hat, and I worked in the rest of the outfit around that. This outfit doesn’t scream festive, but the fancy details make it party-appropriate.

holiday outfit

Cape: Target
Skirt: Neodandi
Gloves: Thrifted
Spider brooch: eBay
Clutch: Crystalyn Kae
Boots: John Fluevog

under the cape

Necklace: Miss Michelle’s Family Jewels
Top: Swapped

I am so happy to debut this Neodandi skirt on my blog. I’ve had it for a while and I love it more and more. It’s a pair of men’s pinstripe trousers that have been upcycled into a fabulous fitted skirt. It’s wonderfully stitched together with fancy pleats and tucks and velvet ribbon detailing—and it fits like a glove. Neodandi is a local couture house. And they say Seattle isn’t on the fashion map!

details

Speaking of local artists, I found this cute Mad Hatter necklace at Miss Michelle’s booth at the Bizarre Bazaar in Capitol Hill just hours before the party. I snapped it up—it was a perfect addition for the theme of the party.

And finally, my amazing, glazed fabric clutch by Crystalyn Kae came in handy. This clutch feels like soft, supple leather, but it’s vegan! It’s dressy yet roomy. I put my phone, wallet, keys, lipstick and camera in the bag and had room to spare. I want one in every color. Crystalyn is a local designer who makes unique bags in fabric, glazed fabric, and recycled leather.

The vegan, local, upcycled, hand-made and/or thrifted and swapped items I’m sporting makes this outfit is a perfect candidate for the Ethical Fashion Bloggers December roundup. You can see the other member’s ethical outfits there too.

I hope you hade fun at a few holiday parties too. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all that sh–tuff!

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Dress Up, Dress Down: Black Velvet

About the same time as the movie Blue Velvet came out, this dress was made. It was an amazing film: dark, disturbing, and fantastic. I was 15 when I saw it and it opened up my eyes to a world of movies I’d never heard of. I have been a fan of David Lynch ever since.

I didn’t buy my frock back then; I bid on it a few weeks ago on eBay. I made a video about how to buy vintage on eBay. This was one of those finds. It’s a Diane von Furstenberg. Unlike her signature wrap dresses, which I’m always outbid on, people don’t look for her other pieces as often, it seems.

I thought I could dress this up for dinner and a show. Something like this.

DVF dressed up

Dress: Diane von Furstenberg via eBay
Tights: Betsey Johnson
Shoes: Manolo Blahniks via consignment
Vegan purse: Vamp Bags
Necklace: Forever 21
Cuff: Claire’s

I can also dress it down too, for dinner and dancing.

black velvet and pink tights

Dress: DVF via eBay
Tights: Target
Shoes: Swapped
Scarf: Labels Consignment
Earrings: Sears
Jelly bracelets: eBay

I wore this last night when I went dancing for part two of my 40th birthday bash. I had on blue tights and flats. (Dancing in heels on Thursday was tough. I can’t do that twice a week!) I’ll post pictures of the dancing outfit soon.

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