"Eventually my goal is get a place in Ojai where I can have animals and a big garden. Just drink wine all day and hang in my garden."
Michelle Branch's mindset seems to be quite in tune with my own. I've had many conversations recently with friends about Ojai. One in particular - Sara of Often Wander - and I have dreams of meeting in Ojai down the line. For her, it's when she turns 40; for me, I don't have the exact details figured out yet.
What is certain is that Ojai is a gem. A community set beneath the Topatopa Mountains and surrounded by exceptionally fertile land, this canyon has a distinct aura about it. Creatives and artists live side by side with farmers and ranchers. A dynamic I realize I couldn't understand fully until living there, the visiting vibe is welcoming & relaxed, yet mentally stimulating.
For a night, we hung out hats at an AirBnB called Wabi Sabi. Tucked back into the woods beneath the hills, it was the ideal spot to disconnect, breathe some fresh air, and of course - sneak in a little photo shoot.
This one's all about my MATTER jumpsuit - which I have practically lived in this last summer and fall. If you aren't familiar with MATTER, tune in for episode 27 of Conscious Chatter where I chat with their founder + creative director about Stories, Craft + Values.
P.S. favorite spot in town? Farmer & The Cook. Their chai smoothie is la bomba!
Jumpsuit (by MATTER, hand tied and dyed using azo-free dyes, woven in Pochampally & stitched in Delhi)
Boots (handmade in Peru, purchased by my brother directly from the maker)
Vest (hand-me-down from my Mom; she thrifted it years ago)
Jewelry (by Mermaid By Hand, handmade in San Diego, CA)
"I was first introduced to fashion blogs when a friend showed me Wendy's Lookbook. Seeing Wendy's beautiful outfits and creative styling tips on her blog, I soon fell in love with fashion and started using it as a personal outlet to express myself." -SK
At this time, SK had no idea that fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world, and that garment workers are often treated unfairly. When she read about the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, she was deeply saddened and inspired to learn more. "After researching more about the industry, I felt compelled to create a fashion blog that not only talks about styling tips but also highlights responsible fashion brands."
For SK, the way she defines a fashion brand as responsible is when the company is trying to minimize their negative impacts on the environment and society. "Given the fashion industry is so complex and complicated, it's hard for brands to trace every single detail in their supply chain to ensure everything is done in the absolute right way. I believe that while we should all work toward promoting sustainability in the fashion industry, we should also be realistic about what we can achieve currently - not everything we buy will be absolutely sustainable, but we can always try to buy less, buy better, minimize our waste, and more importantly, tell other people to do the same."
In 2015, SK founded Styles For Thought as a way to 1) continue finding inspirations through fashion 2) discover responsible fashion brands 3) promote restyling and 4) educate myself and my readers about the fashion industry.
"I firmly believe that fashion and sustainability can coexist, and I wanted to spread this message through my blog and help us find a happy place where we can look stylish in a responsible way!"
Dress (by MISA Los Angeles, made in USA)
Rachel worked as a Massage Therapist and Expressive Arts Psychotherapist for over 10 years. After an especially challenging position as a therapist for preschoolers with Autism, she needed a change of direction, and took some time to travel and decompress.
"I wanted to return to my roots as an artist and maker, and developing a clothing line focused on comfy, versatile pieces for creative, movement-oriented women seemed to make sense. PonyBabe took shape in my mind over the course of many long walks and many slow yoga practices in Lesbos (Greece), Chiang Mai (Thailand), Munich (Germany), and Boulder, Colorado."
Fashion, textiles and beautiful objects have always been a few of Rachel's favorite things. She used to make a lot of her own t-shirts and stretchy pants when she couldn't find what she wanted in stores.
"As my personal yoga, mediation, and dance practices have developed over the years, I've transitioned to a totally layered and comfortable personal style that lets me move, breathe, and rest with ease... it's something I want to share with other women. It's a way to help people be more comfortable in their bodies and lives... and doing it with clothes instead of as a therapist is a way for me to share my values without living in a constant state of burn-out."
When it comes to making sustainable and ethical choices in fashion, this isn't something that happened overnight for Rachel. "Since attending college in Western Massachusetts, Massage School in Ithaca, NY, and grad school in Cambridge, MA, I've been aligned with communities that value health, environmentalism, justice, and simple living. As I see these values expressed in community, I've found myself agreeing with and embodying them in response."
For Rachel, not having a career that gave her a disposable income helped her learn to get by with hand-me-downs, vintage and second hand, and the very occasional splurge.
"Necessity is the mother of invention, right? So when I buy something, I need to love it, and I need it to fit within my value system." For Rachel, she wears her clothes until they start falling apart, then they transition to time spent on her yoga mat... and when they are finally and truly beat, they get cycled into her pajama pile.
"I have found that buying less leads to needing less... and a deeper appreciation for what I do choose to invest in."
When it came time to developing her own clothing line, Rachel says that ethics and sustainability weren't even a question, as it would never make sense for PonyBabe, which is her self-expression, to use toxic materials or unfair labor practices.
"It's challenging, as a tiny brand, to achieve the levels of sustainability that I aspire to... the prices for textiles and domestic manufacturing are high, and that is a stone-cold fact. I'm so happy to be doing this project now, at a time when there is a growing demand for clothing that doesn't cause suffering... my hope is that greater demand will lead to lower costs, which in turn will allow me to lower prices and make the clothes even more accessible."
Check out PonyBabe's Kickstarter which just launched!
Sweater (by Stewart & Brown, Mongolian Cashmere, purchased second hand on eBay)
Top (by Stewart & Brown, organic Peruvian pima cotton, purchased second hand on eBay)
Camisole: by Enza Costa, made of pima cotton & sewn in California, USA.; Bought at a yoga studio sidewalk sale in Cambridge, MA)
Leggings (by People Tree, made of organic cotton/spandex, bought at DearGoods in Munich)
Over-the-knee Socks: by PACT, made of organic cotton in Turkey)
Boots (by Sanita, made in Europe, bought second hand on eBay)
Belt (hand tooled leather, vintage hand-me-down)
Scarf (hand-loomed cotton, purchased in Thailand while traveling)
photos by Aaron Limoges
Originally from Long Island, New York, Sam is currently based in New Orleans, finishing her last year at university. She shared with us her personal journey in becoming a more conscious consumer:
"Fashion has always been an essential part of my life, and I decided to start a blog featuring both my personal style and photography - which led into certain posts discussing my sustainable choices. I began incorporating sustainable practices into my everyday life starting with food choices.
About two years ago, I started eating less meat and then cut it out of my diet a year later. After reading articles and watching several documentaries including the True Cost, I came to realize how every industry and aspect of our lives are interrelated. There are so many relationships that exist between the environment, the economy, society, culture, fashion, food. Every choice we make has an impact on some human being and some part of the world.
I became increasingly aware of the environmental and ethical injustices that occur, and how I could make a difference by changing my own habits. Fashion has been a longtime passion of mine, and I was shopping so much, so carelessly at the invisible expense of others and mother nature. I realized I wanted my actions to support my beliefs, and slowly began shopping less altogether and trying to stick to sustainable fashion brands or thrifting. Second hand shopping is now one of my favorite ways to find new additions for my wardrobe.
I have become more intentional when buying things and seeking opportunities. Through a previous internship with ShopEthica, the realities only became more obvious. I am continuing on my path toward sustainability, always looking for knowledge and striving for change - if only through my personal choices."
Top (by Reformation, made of surplus fabric in the USA)
Guess Denim Skirt (thrifted from Buffalo Exchange, 100% Cotton, made in USA
Silver Bracelets (Mom's old ones)
Sneakers (by Kurt Geiger, made in Spain)
Sam is the founder of ecomono, a sustainable fashion blog dedicated to bringing sustainable style inspiration to create a beautiful monochrome, black, white and grey capsule wardrobe of essentials.
In 2015, Sam was made redundant from her full time job in events, and this left the perfect window to take a step back and think through what she really wanted to be doing. "I have always loved fashion, textiles, patterns and fabrics, so I decided to follow my passion and start a fashion blog (because there’s not enough out there already!)"
But for Sam, when she started looking into topics to write about, she began to realize the craziness in the fashion industry. "I hadn't noticed it before, everything needs to be faster and cheaper. I felt like I had been so naive. Once upon a time, I would take myself off to H&M, Topshop, Zara and spend $400-500 without even thinking about it. The sad thing is, the only thing I felt guilty about was my bank balance."
Once Sam was exposed to information on the poor environmental and social condition in the fashion industry, she decided to focus instead on sustainable fashion. "At the time I didn’t realize how much this decision was going to change my entire life. So now, from fast fashion hoarder to slow fashion minimalist I have been seeking out the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to who, how and where our clothes are made. Educating myself on what goes on behind the scenes of fashion and telling these stories to others via my blog, ecomono."
For Sam, shopping sustainably generally means shopping second hand and investing in quality pieces made in Australia by local designers. As Sam reminds us, "Sometimes shopping sustainable fashion can be expensive, but the way to reduce the cost is by shopping second hand, at your local market or even clothing swap events."
Top (by Limb, made in Melbourne and can be worn forward or backward)
Skirt (by Lois Hazel, made in Melbourne)
Dress (by Alpha60, purchased secondhand from a Facebook Buy/Sell Group)
Woven Bag (thrifted from the Australian Red Cross for $8)
Shoes (by Alohas, handmade in Spain)
The Renewal Workshop is a new innovator to the sustainable fashion block. With powerhouse cofounders, the Oregon-based company refurbishes apparel from big name brands.
Their cofounder, Nicole Bassett, actually spoke with us on Conscious Chatter this year, and shared some insight on the company she and cofounder Jeff Denby (former cofounder of PACT Apparel) are building.
As the Renewal Project takes off, we now have the opportunity to support them in their early stages. You can do that here on IndieGoGo!
In the meantime, check out some of cofounder Nicole's insight on the project she and Jeff are building...
For the Renewal Workshop, in what ways are you excited to help everyday people / customers get empowered to reduce their waste and elevate their consumption?
We believe there are a lot of people who don’t want to buy new things when there are already excellent products already made available, but they haven’t had the best resources to find those products or guarantee that they are in good shape. So The Renewal Workshop offers Renewed Product which guarantees a high level of quality. We think people will be excited by this - the most sustainable product is the one already made.
[Kestrel] What makes the Renewal Workshop different than other initiatives out there working to reduce waste in the fashion industry?
Our vision is to use resources wisely and to continuously remake apparel - this means we are committed from the beginning to a circular economy - that means it isn’t only about reducing waste, but about maximizing the value already in the products that exist, preserving all of that water, energy and carbon that went into making the product. And it is about helping designers design for a circular economy.
[Kestrel] What keeps you optimistic about more positive change coming in the textiles industry?
What makes us the most excited is that there are so many companies interested in doing the right thing, they just need more resources to make it happen. So when we show up and offer a solution to evaluate product they thought had no solution and offer them one - everyone gets excited!
“One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can only collect a few. One moon shell is more impressive than three. There is only one moon in the sky.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift From The Sea was recently gifted to me by my mother. It's a book that literally just keeps giving. From the ways that Lindbergh approaches womanhood, her reminders to connect with yourself, and her underlying mantra of how less truly is more.
Her word collections are like daintily packaged gifts. As I unwrap each from its seaweed paper, I'm more inspired. More motivated. And more at peace.
Wearing stories brings this peaceful contentment as well. Knowing where the pieces I adorn myself came from. Understanding the people behind the process, the places connected to the designs, and their links to our environment.
As I'm writing this, I've realized that I'm wearing a powerful anthology of pieces made by strong women. Being able to think of these women's faces, their hands, and their creative minds when I put these garments or accessories on in the morning brings me an absolutely pure sense of joy. Thank you all for what you do and for your dedication to making conscious magic.
Earrings (by Often Wander, handmade in San Diego)
Culottes (by Vetta, made in USA of a tencel cotton blend)
Sunnies (by Sunski, 1% For The Planet member)
Sweater Top (thrifted from Buffalo Exchange in San Diego)
Shoes (by Fortress of Inca, handmade in Peru)
Bracelets (made of recycled plastic in Ghana)
Rings (by Mermaid By Hand, made in San Diego, CA, USA using vintage turquoise)
With limitations, come freedom and innovation.
Over 6 years ago, I made a year-long pledge to only purchase clothing that was made with respect to people and the planet. Initially, it felt overwhelming and sometimes, it felt impossible. But, I made it through that year, and now have continued on this journey ever since.
At this point, I can't imagine another way of thinking about my clothes.
Throughout this experience, I realized that with less options, I had this incredible opportunity to get more creative with what I had. If I used the pieces in my closet in their "obvious way" I would have been over my wardrobe in a week. Instead, having less opened up distinct parts of my innovative nature, allowing me to entirely rethink the way I wore my clothes.
I'm still 100% behind less is more and a true believer in quality over quantity. But I'm a real person who has loved fashion since the beginning. Growing up in small-town Wisconsin, I somehow was drawn to dressing creatively. During my single-digit years, I would change my outfit multiple times a day, especially if guests arrived to my family's house. It was somehow - my way of sharing an artistic view on things, even if my art at the time was a mixture of socks with jelly shoes and dresses over jeans.
So today, when brands make magic and have an inspiring story to top it off, I'm fully onboard to use my dollars to vote for their successes. Featured here, you'll find a collection of some of my absolute favorite pieces of the moment.
Culottes + Suspenders (by Vetta, made in USA of a tencel cotton blend)
Sweater Tee (thrifted from Goodwill in Wisconsin)
Shoes (by Everlane, made in Italy, transparency supply chain)
Canteen Bag (by Stela9, made in Guatemala using locally sourced materials)
Jewelry (by Mermaid By Hand, made in San Diego, CA, USA using vintage turquoise)
photos by Drew McGill
"It’s not about sacrificing, but about making more informed and meaningful decisions."
Kamea is the creative behind Konscious World and the author of the recently launched book Thrive: An environmentally conscious lifestyle guide to better health and true wealth. She also serves as the marketing manager of Ethical Writers Co.
For Kamea, her multidisciplinary studies and multicultural background led her to develop a particular interest in the relationship between human health and world sustainability--which eventually led her to write Thrive.
Romper (by Titania Inglis, made with cupro - a regenerated cellulose fiber derived from cotton linter, mimics silk but can be hand/machine washed & dried at home)
photos by Ashley Hudson
Valeria is the beauty behind Water Thru Skin, a website dedicated to "lifestyle with a conscience." Born and raised in Bolivia, Valeria has been living in Miami for the past 8 years. After being in the corporate world for almost 5 years, she made the switch from the banking industry to what she calls "a life of meaning". Her primary goal with WTS is to help inspire her readers to live more mindfully. Over the last year, Valeria has been traveling the world, in search of eco-friendly hotels and plant-based cuisine. Since she started WTS, she and her team have reviewed and promoted over 150 brands and hotels worldwide.
Valeria graduated as a raw vegan chef from Matthew Kenney's culinary school in 2015, and is also a registered yoga teacher. She's an ambassador for Diamonds Unleashed & Baiser Beauty, as well as a features editor for CocoEco Magazine.
Necklace (by 31 Bits, handmade of recycled paper in Uganda, Africa)
Bag (by Matt & Nat, made of vegan leather and a recycled plastic lining)
Jeans (by Monkee Genes, fair trade and made of organic cotton; after watching a few DIY Youtube videos, Valeria gave her jeans the ripped look)
Boots (by By Blanch, vegan and made in Spain)
Tee (by Econscious, organic cotton)
Syama is the CEO of Scaling Retail, a consulting firm for startup and growth stage retail businesses. An experienced retail strategist, over the last 10+ years, Syama worked on launching brick and mortar and ecommerce channels. She speaks and writes on the integration of business development, sales and marketing for small to medium sized fashion and retail businesses. Syama is also very passionate about creating awareness on mindfulness for entrepreneurs.
The co-author of the Fashion Designers Guide to Creating Fashion Websites that Sell, Syama has been interviewed on Refinery 29, NPR, Glammonitor, Daily Worth, and U.S. News & World Report. Previously, she worked with Gucci, Barney’s New York, Macy’s and AHAlife.
Masai Necklace (a necklace for men in its origin, purchased by Syama's husband while traveling in Africa)
Denim (by J Brand, made in LA, USA)
Caftan (by YSL)
Shoes (by Prada)
Bracelet 1 (by Gabriela Artigas, handcrafted in California, USA)
Bracelet 2 (a piece of Syama's "Mangal Sutra" - her Indian wedding necklace)
Bracelet 3 (a gift from Syama's husband's grandfather)
Bracelet 4 (a vintage diamond tennis bracelet)
Syama is literally wearing connected stories through her bracelets. "I love this stack - it's a combination of family, history, and fashion."
A self-taught artist living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Krissy designs by hand with pencil, paper, ink, thread and fabric, using collage, painting, embroidery, and sewing with her 1948 Singer Featherweight sewing machine.
"I like the look of things touched by the human hand, imperfect & soulful. I’m inspired by early 20th century craft and quality, and the uniqueness of personal style."
Krissy has a passion for upcycling and that's a big part of her creative inspiration. "It feels good to take discarded pieces and alchemize them into unique one-of-a-kind treasures."
In the summer of 2012, Krissy started Featherweight Clothing Co. after her first design was sold by Urban Outfitters. Her upcycled one-of-a-kind jackets are sold in Marfa, Nashville, Joshua Tree and Austin, and her original sweatshirt designs are produced entirely in California: fabric made in LA, cut & sewn in SF, dyed in Marin County.
Now under the name Featherweight Studio, Krissy produces custom pieces for artists and creative companies including X, The Flesh Eaters, Tellason, Cobra Rock Boot Company, Maple Street Denim & more.
"I’m an enemy of the ubiquitous discardable poorly-made logo tee; I design tees that are cool and beautiful first and foremost, but which also reflect my client’s vibe. I strive to make tees & band merch with methods & materials that will last & look better as they age."
Dress (made by Krissy, hand-painted; upcycled & restyled from an Eileen Fisher organic linen long-sleeved button-down shirt)
Shoes (by Cobra Rock Boot Company, hand made in Marfa, TX, USA)
Belt & Jewelry (vintage)
Sunglasses (second-hand Oliver Peoples)
June found a creative outlet through designing. With a focus on parties and the nightlife, she made dresses and tops for cocktail and evening happenings. In her work, June emphasized trends, style lines and silhouettes. But when her daughter was born, everything about ENAMOUR Design House shifted.
While keeping her same design aesthetic, June began designing for the versatile needs of busy career focused women and mothers like herself. After creating multiple clothing collections for ENAMOUR Design House, June was faced with the issue of motherhood and its time constraints - as well as the issue of the excess fabric her previous collections had created.
The combination of being in a transitional lull, paired with June's need to create while still devoting time to her daughter, led her to make a collection of stud earrings from repurposed fabrics she had in storage from her past collections. In creating these upcycled earrings, she found that they opened her eyes to the possibility and soon the reality that all of her designs - both clothing and accessories - could be ethically and consciously made.
Sporty Mesh Tee (by ENAMOUR Design House, ethically made in the USA)
Necklaces (by TKJ Jewelry, handmade resin imagery charms, made in USA)
Earrings (by ENAMOUR Design House, ethically made in USA, upcycled using repurposed fabric)
Leslie is the founder of HolistiCitiLyfe, a wellness travel and holistic lifestyle event company that helps groups and individuals rejuvenate and restore balance in beautiful and safe retreat locations all over the world. For Leslie, early on in her life she discovered the benefits of regular meditation, yoga, exercise, and healthy eating habits. As she saw her productivity, physical stamina and mental clarity improve, Leslie felt more empowered to support others in their journey of healing and healthy living.
While working as a psychotherapist and social worker, Leslie founded HolistiCitiLyfe to have that opportunity to support others in their healthy adventures. A kind-hearted businesswoman with a nurturing spirit, Leslie received her Masters of Social Work at Fordham University in New York City.
When Leslie's not helping others champion their health and well being, she enjoys consignment shopping and collecting crystals and stones from her travels. Her never-ending wish is that each person has a balanced, happy and healthy life.
Denim Maxi Dress (by Liz Claiborne, vintage 1980s)
Joanna is the founder of BedreMode, a blog dedicated to sharing ideas of ways to live and dress more sustainably.
"I bike to school and hope to get a job as a fashion buyer when I've finished my education. I have my sense of fair-ness and environmental protection from my mother who is a life-time advocate and just cool woman with strong views. I think my love for fashion comes from my grandfather, who had a long career in advertising. Together, I think it's the perfect blend and I have found an outlet through sustainable fashion."
24 years old and living in Copenhagen, Denmark, Joanna has a beautiful and powerful perspective.
"I started the blog because my girlfriends kept asking me how to stay cool, and not abandon their values."
Joanna developed her blog to help share those tips that she has collected, and as she tells it, BedreMode "has later grown into a journal on my way to a more sustainable wardrobe for myself."
Her jeans featured in this look were her "best buy of 2015".
"I wear them between once and 7 times a week. Sometimes they are the only pair I bring with me on vacation. I love how Nudie Jeans are using untraditional storytelling about loving your jeans to pieces, and I really feel I will love these to pieces."
Jeans (by Nudie, 100% organic cotton denim, made fairly)
Shirt (by H&M Conscious Collection, made from 100% tencel)
"I have a bitter sweet relationship with H&M - I believe they truly do a lot of work, and make great affordable designs in eco-materials. But I would like them to take a clearer stand on labour rights."
Kickstarters come and go - I watch for them, check out the videos, and especially want to support them when they are brands I believe in. But, to be honest, since I started my first blog - Make Fashion Fair - in 2009, my shopping habits have transformed. Over the years, what I buy has become more of a long, drawn out decision. I want to be absolutely certain I truly want and need something before I jump the gun.
Full disclosure: Sotela is literally the second fashion brand I have personally supported through my own dollars on Kickstarter. I have to be all in and know I will wear the style in my everyday life. In this case, I'm 100% sold. Hanna's creative baby | Sotela: The Last Dress You'll Ever Need | is now on Kickstarter.
According to Sotela, "When our bodies change, styles shouldn't have to". Their three essential dresses are set to answer the closet frustrations we as women often confront.
I had the chance to get a little insight from the founder Hanna herself. Check it out below...
What was your biggest inspiration for launching Sotela?
Last year, I had inexplicable bloating that lasted over 8 months. Getting ready in the mornings was such a struggle because my clothing didn’t fit the way I remembered. I used to tell myself that I desperately needed oversized dresses to hide my stomach. Dealing with those health issues inspired me to create clothing for women that meets the physical realities we face daily whether we gain weight, get pregnant or are bloated.
To you, who is the Sotela woman?
The Sotela woman believes in quality over quantity. She prefers a minimal wardrobe with timeless pieces to express her identity, creativity, and confidence. She doesn’t depend on clothing to make her happy or feel beautiful.
What has been the most exciting part of your journey with Sotela thus far?
The moment I launched on Kickstarter was the most exciting part of my journey. I was so anxious to get it out into the world because I had been working toward this dream for the past year. Seeing strangers purchase my dresses was such an exhilarating and surreal moment. If you would’ve told me two years ago that I would be designing and manufacturing clothing, I would’ve laughed! Never in a million years did I think I would be running my own clothing company and feeling this happy and fulfilled.
Thanks Hanna and make sure to check out + support her Kickstarter here!
Mallory is the designer behind her namesake collection Mallory Sophronia. Mallory's limited edition swimwear, accessories and apparel are handmade in Vacationland, Maine.
For Mallory, her collections are inspired by freedom, culture, nature and the perpetual holiday. Often using locally sourced materials, MS styles are meant to be made to be treasured for generations to come.
Emily is a Brooklyn-based fashion designer and the founder of Faelyn, a new label that offers eco-friendly lingerie.
During her university years, Emily couldn't get enough art and design studies; she even did a semester abroad at Parsons Paris. Once she was set on a career in fashion, she became "smitten with the vibrance and magic of New York, a city of seemingly endless possibilities."
Post graduation, Emily realized that her passion was in sustainable fashion and so she created a brand she believes in. "Faelyn is a lingerie brand that brings together a feminine sensibility with strong sustainable ethics. Organic lingerie that offers more than just basics."
For the last year, Emily has been building Faelyn out of her Brooklyn apartment, while working full time at another fashion house in Manhattan. For Emily, sourcing the softest, high quality sustainable materials like US grown organic cotton are key to bringing her brand's identity to life. According to Emily, she hopes "to create collections that beautifully blend ethics and ethereal design."
Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online community and support system for independent designers around the world. As Nicole calls it, she's a traveler, weaver, a food lover, and she's on a mission to read at least three books a month.
Nicole's journey to found StartUp FASHION was fueled by a deep love for the craft of fashion paired with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual. Through her business, Nicole helps independent designers and makers "screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love."
Above all, Nicole is all about encouraging - she works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something valuable to bringing to the world and they can indeed make it happen.
All images photoshop-free; "something I’m really into these days - yay Darling Magazine!"
Dress (by Hackwith Design House, made of tencel in USA, limited edition)
Leggings (reused, she has owned them for 15 years)
Sandals (by Everlane, transparency in their supply chain)
Earrings (Flea market find)
Clutch (by Mei Vintage, made from vintage kimono)
Delicate Rings (by Local Eclectic, made in USA)
Bracelet (by Local Eclectic, made in USA)
Chunky Ring (by Artasan, one of a kind, handmade)
Undergarments (by Negative Underwear, made in Columbia in factory they work closely with)
Skin Care (by Herbivore Botanicals, all natural)
Makeup (by Julie Hewett, paraben free and not tested on animals)
"To me, AWEAR is about being conscious about what it is you choose to wear and the brands you want to support. It's about asking questions and making decisions based on good intentions for our planet and society."
Stacey is a designer and the co-founder of (re)vision society. A London-based creative team, (re)vision society develops projects that "radically reinvent the notions of creation and consumption".
Their team crafts pieces and projects with a strong ethos in mind: to limit their impact on the environment.
Bag (by (re)vision society, upcycled)
Hat (by (re)vision society, upcycled)
Coat (by (re)vision society, upcycled)
Shoes (by Veja, made of plastic bottles and sustainably sourced rubber)
Socks (made by John Arbon Textiles of wool)
Tights (reused, 10 years old)
Stacey shared the stories of her pieces with us as she knows so many details about each of items she's wearing. What incredible stories of connection.
"The hybrid rucksack is the first project we ever created. This project explores the idea of questioning the interpretation of “waste”. It is made out of offcuts and end of rolls left over from luxury clothing production that were bound for incineration and landfill. The handles and brand loop are crafted by hand out of vegetable tanned leather offcuts. We salvaged these materials from factories in East London, its the same for the Thinking Cap and The Versatile coat I am wearing which are our latest projects. The coat has detachable sleeves so that it can be worn through autumn to spring and has a hidden belt passage so that it can be worn belted or not to optimize the different ways you can style the coat. It is actually lined in outerwear fabric offcuts from menswear production which is a real luxury addition but it just goes to show how much waste there is within the fashion industry. Even the materials that are used to stabilize these products internally are from offcuts bound for incineration. We go to a lot of detail to create something that shares a message beyond the physical beauty of the design.
I am also wearing Veja Shoes. These shoes are made out of sustainably sourced rubber from the Amazon and also material made from recycled plastic bottles. The socks are my favorite pair, they come from a local English supplier John Arbon Textiles and are made of wool from sheep bred in Exmoor National Park.
My tights are very old in fact - I’ve had them since I was a student living in Italy. I bought them on a school trip to Paris because I was so cold and I have had them for over 10years! The shirt is a second hand men’s shirt I bought in a market and the knit actually belonged to my husband’s mother. It's from the 70s, she was a champion sportsman and was in the French sailing team and this was her team sweater. I love wearing it because it is connected to her and she is very dear to me."
Looking back, it's been over 8 years now since my mindset on fashion transformed. After interning at People Tree in London, my eyes were opened wide to the realities of the garment supply chain, and the people and the planet that are affected along the way.
This experience planted very powerful seeds in my brain, which I've gradually nurtured by continuing to ask questions about the clothing I buy. In a somewhat incredible way, yesterday I had the opportunity to invite the founder of People Tree - Safia Minney - to speak with me on our new podcast Conscious Chatter.
It was exceptionally humbling to go back to the roots of what inspired my conscious fashion journey from the beginning. As we are in the heart of Fashion Revolution Week, let's all remember to ask #whomademyclothes and continue putting the pressure on big brands to continue to better their supply chains for the people and the environment affected along the way.
Dress (by Kristinit, silk, made in Los Angeles)
Jewels (by Mermaid By Hand Jewelry, handmade in San Diego )
Bandana (by Reformation, made in Los Angeles)
Jacket (by Olga Road, upcycled from vintage trench coats)
Reused from the depths of my closet
Fashion Revolution asks that we present the question #WhoMadeMyClothes to demand better for the people who make our clothes. Interested in getting involved? Check out fashionrevolution.org to find out what events are happening in your neighborhood!
"I rarely shop for clothes anymore. I'll usually purchase out of a need rather than instant want. About 80% of the items in my closet come from vintage/thrift and second-hand stores. I've always found it enjoyable to find unique vintage items and make them contemporary. I love giving the pieces I find another life."
Fashion stylist and Creative Director Dechel was born and raised in Los Angeles. At a young age, both fashion and medicine captured her attention. Dechel ended up finding a way to pursue both during her time at UCLA. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychobiology while simultaneously working as a women’s fashion buyer for a nationwide boutique retailer. After graduating, instead of entering medical school, she decided to postpone that chapter and take a semester abroad to study fashion design throughout Europe.
After Dechel's overseas studies, she began freelancing as a wardrobe assistant for top LA stylists. Before too long, she found herself beneath the wing of celebrity Costume Designer Marco Morante, with whom she collaborated on costumes for chart-topping artists such as Lil Wayne and The Black Eyed Peas. She worked and traveled the world as a wardrobe stylist for four years with the aforementioned, refining her craft and immersing herself in the life and fashion of the cultures she was exposed to.
That experience set the tone for Dechel's fashion career. She has worked on styling projects for commercial, editorial, music, and television, being featured in the likes of Nylon, Paper, and V magazines. But, over the years, Dechel has seen first hand the negative impact the fashion industry has on our people and planet, which led her to develop GALERIE.LA- a platform that hits reset to establish the core principles of good design within the fashion industry.
GALERIE.LA is an online select store which recently launched in March, and offers a curated selection of sustainable fashion from designers worldwide. "GALERIE.LA brings together high-end fashion from established and emerging designers who use sustainable production methods to reduce their environmental footprint while taking the ethical and business practices necessary to benefit people and communities. Transparency is key - GALERIE.LA works closely with its network of designers to increase the traceability of their products disclosing where every item in the store is made and the materials it is made from. The GALERIE.LA badge system makes it easy for customers to make meaningful choices about what brands to buy and support."
Top ( by H&M, wool blend, thrifted from purchased from the Goodwill)
"I find it alarming to thrift and second-hand stores now filled with fast fashion brands like H&M, Forever 21, etc. We're consuming trends at a fast pace and the stores that people donate their unwanted clothes to is proof in the pudding. Although H&M is a store I would never directly shop from, I decided to purchase this sweater because I really liked the design, fit and that it's wool. I'll have it for years to come and its short sleeves make it versatile year around."
Skirt ( by Christian Dior, linen, thrifted and Dechel has owned for 5+ years
"It was made in the USA and after doing some research, I found out it was probably made in the 80s and licensed to another retailer possibly Jones of New York for domestic production."
Shoes (by Miu Miu, thrifted from Buffalo Exchange)
Instagram can be an annoyingly addicting black hole of a time suck. It can also be a resource to bring you to the most incredible up-and-coming brands. In this case, my image obsessive tendencies led me to the recently launched brand - Starch Slides - the brainchild of former retail buyer Shannon Crowley.
For each used & unwanted button up shirt they source, Starch Slides can churn out 4 pairs of their stylishly on-point slides. They're comfy, exceptionally eye-catching, vegan and effortlessly cool.
In all honestly, I've been playing with pairing them with everything under the sun. Starch Slides are the kind of footwear that you plan your outfit around. Thank you Shannon for designing such a beautiful and sustainable shoe.
Shoes (by Starch Slides, made of repurposed old shirts & vegan leather)
Top (by Reformation, made of tencel & spandex, made in USA)
Overalls (by Reformation, repurposed old Lees, made in USA)
Sunnies (by Sunskis, made of partially recycled plastic)
Jennifer is the beauty and brains behind Sustainable Siren. A 20 year old design student from the San Francisco Bay Area, Jennifer is exceptionally wise beyond her years.
She's committed to sustainability and environmental activism. As a blogger, she believes strongly in inspiring others, especially young adults, to approach life with an environmentally and ethically conscious mindset.
"When I first started blogging 4 years ago, I was 15, and Art In Our Blood was born out of a desire to start building a name for myself in the fashion world, and wanting an outlet to share my love for fashion and personal style. In those 4 years, I've learned quite a lot about the fashion industry and how it works inside-and-out, and that includes both the good and bad. But 2015 was a year that really marked a turning point for me.
My education at Parsons especially, coupled with the increasing amount of media coverage I was exposed to in 2015 on climate change and the exploitation of so many factory workers, instilled in me a thorough and unsettling understanding of the ways in which a majority of the mainstream fashion industry sadly perpetuates labor issues and results in appalling environmental degradation.
As my knowledge of these issues increased, the more I understood just how urgently and critically that we needed change."
Jennifer's approach to dealing with the realities of the fashion industry today is aimed at not giving up. As she consistently points out: "Small actions do matter, not just because they really do add up in the long run, but because they set a good example for other people, and often can inspire those around you to start thinking and acting more consciously too!"
Check out Sustainable Siren!
Dress (by Pima Doll, made of pima cotton in Peru & New York City, hand knotted)
Gold Cuffs (by Candice Vostrejs, handmade in Denver, CO, USA)
Bag (secondhand faux leather from Poshmark)
Booties ( by Bhava, vegan & handmade in Spain)
Phillipe is the founder and CEO of The Eco Laundry Company, a global chain of environmentally and socially conscious laundry and dry cleaners. With stores in Buenos Aires and New York City, The Eco Laundry Company is the first laundry and dry cleaning business in the world to be a certified B Corp.
The Eco Laundry Company’s main goal is to "recreate the laundry industry". Part by part, they are trying to deconstruct each area of their business to make it more sustainable. Their stores are build using recycled and organic materials whenever possible. When it comes to actually doing the laundry, they use only non toxic, biodegradable, phosphate free, organic soaps and softeners and their dry cleaning process is both friendly to the environment and to their customers, utilizing Effective Microorganism (EM) technology to ensure that the process is as gentle and healthy as possible for all involved.
All of The Eco Laundry Company's returning customers are given a free organic, unbleached, recycled cotton laundry bag, which is reusable so they can cut down on the amount of plastic waste that is generally part of the industry.
The Eco Laundry Company's work doesn't stop at their storefronts. They also encourage customers to reduce their footprint in their homes by offering a water saving tool called the Water Hippo - it's free to anyone who will commit to installing one. In addition, their Buenos Aires store is a recycling drop off point for the local community.
Phillipe believes in buying clothes that last, and choosing classic timeless pieces that aren’t likely to go in and out of fashion. Some of the pieces in his wardrobe he has had for over 20 years. "If clothes are taken care of in the right way, they can last an incredibly long time. I would always encourage people to treat their clothes as though they expect them to last a lifetime."
Scarf (by Belinda Billinghurst, hand knit in Melbourne)
"This scarf was hand knitted 15 years ago by Belinda Billinghurst, a dear friend from Melbourne. She sent it to London when I first moved there to keep me warm. It was such a beautiful gesture. It’s made from a combination of exquisite wools and is by far the most unique and chic piece that I own."
Slippers (by Vincent, handmade in Buenos Aires)
"I’m a big fan of buying locally produced items, so when I’m in Buenos Aires I buy locally made, and these beautiful slippers are an example of some of the quality craftsmanship that Argentina has to offer."
Jacket (by Gstar, been in his closet for 16 years and is just as relevant now as it was then)
Patricia is the founder of Calypso Glow skincare. Based in New York City, the brand offers a range of Caribbean inspired handcrafted skincare, made from organically derived ingredients.
“I’ve been blessed with a 15 year career in corporate communications, which has allowed me to work and travel in Europe/UK, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the US and many Caribbean islands. My all-time favorite place is St Lucia. To look out across the horizon, across a plantation of coconut trees and toward the ocean gives me an inner peace that allows me to truly embrace nature. Its simple beauty inspires my inner ‘Calypso’.”
Most of us are wondering now... Who is Calypso?
“From a Caribbean perspective, ‘She' brings to mind the fun, melodic music that unites and brings joy through rhythm. I wanted a name for our brand that embodied that energy and the inspiration that I get from the women, simple beauty and vibrant tropics of the Caribbean."
While she has a Master's degree and an MBA, Patricia still attributes her most exciting learning experiences to those acquired during her travels.
"As a child of the Caribbean diaspora, I’ve been raised with a rich and diverse appreciation for food, music, people and my natural environment. I grew up listening to my family talk about Caribbean traditions and lifestyle. It’s a joy to be able to share some of that through our brand while supporting the economic development of the sustainable farming communities and businesses that we work with.”
During the course of several trips, Patricia connected with local herbalists and farmers. Her exploration revealed rich botanical treasures from fresh passion fruits and pineapples growing in her grandparents' Dominican Estate, Moringa Trees in St Lucia, Lemongrass fields in Antigua, Cocoa mills in Martinique and a plethora of coconut plantations on every island.
In 2013, Patricia was introduced to a local team of two award-winning doctors of naturopathic medicine. Together, they dove deeper into the potent ingredients available for skincare, and curated the best ethical and organic high quality ingredients into a range of products that would deliver wonderful skin benefits. The following year, Calypso Glow was born.
Head Wrap (traditional St Lucian print, hand-me-down)
Dress (by Ajaie Alaie, made in India using textiles sourced by the designer; her intention is to support local communities and keep their looms going)
Social entrepreneur David launched Modavanti as its founder in 2013. Modavanti is the brainchild of Dietz’s desire to fuse social good and fashion, in the emerging e-commerce economy. Awarded InStyle magazine's "Best in Digital" for innovation and style in sustainable fashion, Modavanti offers an eclectic mix of sustainable style on their platform.
David has spoken at SXSW Eco, The UN, Nexus Global, The Web Summit in Dublin, The Fashion Institute of Technology, Zappo's Downtown Project and The Democratic National Convention. He currently serves as a board member of Georgetown's Entrepreneurship Alliance and is a contributing blogger for the Huffington Post where he writes about his experiences creating social impact through business and as an entrepreneur.
David comes from a background of Arabic Language and Economics at Georgetown University, which he used to cover youth uprisings during the Arab Spring as a journalist writing for Mic.com, Al Jazeera and The Economist.
Jacket (by Paul Stewart, custom made, ethically made in Canada)
Jeans (by Bluer, every piece of the jeans from the denim to the buttons to the zippers are sourced and made in the USA; everything is stitched and put together in Portland Oregon; Bluer Denim also has a buy-one-give-one model where for every pair sold they give one to someone in need)
Necklace (by Article 22, handmade by artisans in Laos who make the bracelets and all their jewelry from unexploded bombs dropped during the Vietnam War)
Bag (by Elvis & Kress, made of water resistant fire hose and lined with reclaimed military grade parachute silk)
Shoes (by Wills London, vegan; these contemporary shoes are fairly made in Portugal using microfibers that look, wear, breathe and resist water just like leather)
Beanie (by Hortensia, fairly made in Peru, providing artisans hope and opportunity as they showcase their craft)
Glasses (by Warby Parker, for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need)
Sophie is a jewelry designer, with an aesthetic that is rough hewn, yet distinctively elegant. Her jewelry embodies a sense of balance: at once raw and refined, masculine and feminine. Each piece is individually forged start-to-finish in Sophie’s Boston studio using vintage hammers, anvils, hand tools, and torches. Sophie uses the highest quality recycled metals, along with certified reclaimed or ethically sourced gems.
“I'm inspired by the challenge of making jewelry that's totally wearable, day in and day out, both physically and aesthetically. It has to be simple but interesting, comfortable, flattering, and durable. My hammer and anvil, my other timeworn tools, and the process of making propel me. When I'm seeking new aesthetic inspiration, I look to ancient jewelry and ancient tools. I love the simplicity of the forms, the textures, and the crudeness/directness of construction techniques.”
Sophie realized early on that she was meant to be a maker.
“I was so fortunate to realize very early on that jewelry was my passion. My high school in Coastal Maine had an exceptional arts program, which is where I took my first jewelry class. I was immediately hooked; using my hands to fabricate and build something just clicked with me. Before I graduated high school, I had already apprenticed for a local jewelry team and then been hired by them! I went on to Mass Art (Massachusetts College of Art and Design) to earn a BFA in Metalsmithing, and continued to work for various jewelers each summer in Maine and in Boston.
I got my own studio just months after graduating in 2008, and launched my own line in early 2009. I spent 5 years working out of my SoWa/Harrison Ave studio, selling my jewelry to top jewelry shops around the country (like Love Adorned in NYC and Roseark in L.A.) before opening my own shop, Ore, in November 2013. Ore is in Boston's chic South End, and my studio is now in the loft above the store. Everyone who works at Ore also makes jewelry; we all do it all."
Jeans: (by Paige, made in USA)
Cardigan + Tank (from a secondhand shop)
Leather Jacket (vegan leather, from a secondhand shop)
Bodysuit (by American Apparel, made in USA)
Diamond Ring (family heirloom)
Jewelry (by Sophie Hughes, handmade with recycled metals)
Stefanie has worked as a program assistant for nonprofit I Love A Clean San Diego & a product developer for prAna. She recently shared with us her personal journey into being more mindful about her clothing and what she buys. I think she parallels a lot of experiences out there, as I can definitely see myself through parts of her distinct path.
"My passion for fashion started when I was 18 years old. At that time, I decided to pursue a career in design. After working in the industry for 10 years, I began to realize that much of the industry is heavily processed, wasteful, and environmentally and socially irresponsible. It’s so bad that the Textile Industry is now deemed the 2nd dirtiest industry next to oil in the world.
Having been an environmental steward all my life, I was in shock! How could an industry so beautifully marketed, be so dirty within? As I continued to educate myself, I decided that if I were to remain working in this industry, my efforts would go toward a better cause. Having this epiphany in my career helped me align my personal and professional values. Personally speaking, I realized I could no longer be a part of the consumption of fast fashion AND our “throw away culture” in which we live.
My personal habits began to change when I was talking to a co-worker who was describing a study regarding people who consume “no-name apparel brands.” No-Name Apparel Brands: typically, fast-fashion brands, which can be inexpensive, poor quality, socially/environmentally irresponsible, usually trendy, or all of the above. After hearing her story, I ran home, evaluated my closet and without much surprise, I realized my closet is full of no-name apparel brands and fast fashion brands like Forever 21 and H&M.
Though my findings revealed that my closet is not full of brands to brag about, it did reveal that I have a high percentage of second hand clothes, most of which have come from friends and family, clothing exchanges, Buffalo Exchange, etc. The best part about this discovery was that many of these pieces are some of my best – clothes in which I get the most compliments.
When I look at my wardrobe, I see a trend in being resourceful and thrifty, yet I ask myself: “How can I diversify my wardrobe even further? How can I become more of a conscious consumer with future purchasing decisions?"
Making it a top priority to be mindful about knowing where my products come from, how they are made, and if they come from a reputable company that in some way, shape or form is environmentally and/or socially responsible...is my mission. I will do this while inspiring those around me to do the same."
"Success in not about your resources. It's about how resourceful you are with what you have." – Tony Robbins
Thank you for sharing your journey, Stefanie!
Skirt (by Forever 21, purchased in the past)
Clutch (by Aldo, purchased in the past)
Shoes (by BCBG, thrifted from Buffalo Exchange)
For Laura’s entire life, she was obsessed and intrigued with shopping, styling, fashion magazines, and creating beautiful things. But, she didn't take that passion seriously as a potential career option - it was more of a "hobby" for her.
Lesson learned. After wearing many hats in the fitness industry, life coaching, modeling, acting, and teaching whole-foods cooking classes, burnouts became a regular occurence in her life. As Laura tells us, "when your true passions are not expressed, one’s spirit can become de-pressed."
It wasn't until a turn of fate not quite a year ago that Laura crossed paths with a lead stylist at a local thrift store in Minneapolis, Arcs Value Village, who hired her on as a temporary guest stylist and personal shopper. Surprisingly, it was just at this time that she found the film The True Cost, documenting the harmful ways of the fast fashion industry.
Laura's love affair with the slow fashion movement was born. Never before a ‘thrifter,’ Laura had no clue what she was missing out on. It was the magical trifecta for her: the ‘hunt,’ the up-cycling opportunities, and the creative challenge that had her buzzing around the store. The act of ‘outfit making’ from odds and ends from all over the world, and from all different times has become a form of art for her, and of self-expression.
Shopping secondhand, vintage and thrift are just a few of the many ways we can indulge our passion for fashion, while still doing the right thing for others and the rest of the planet. Now that she’s made the connection between style, slow fashion, creativity, and healing the environment, she finds it hard to shop anywhere else that is not producing, consuming and selling in a sustainable, conscious way.
Not only is Laura passionate and committed to promoting designers and brands that are growing the sustainable and slow fashion movement, she loves repurposing the clothing items she’s already owned for years, showing that you can mix high and low, and old and new.
"It ignites our creativity and sense of play to reuse, recycle, and repurpose what we already own, and still be super stylish and stay out of a fashion rut; no need to run out and buy the latest, greatest thing every season! It’s just more fun that way! And better for the environment, and your bank account."
At the present time, Laura spends her days shopping for clients, thrifting, modeling, traveling, and volunteering in her community. Excited about the magic and uncertainty that the future holds, Laura is focused on growing her blog and YouTube channel, developing her art, and is open to collaborating with additional slow fashion designers and brands to help promote their work and spread the word.
"When you know better, you do better."
In this "outfit series", Laura is wearing a classic sheath dress. She shows clearly how you can rock one dress, many ways. As Laura says, "This classic sheath dress could be worn on its own to a wedding or a cocktail party, or paired under a blazer or a sweater to be totally office appropriate. Paired with an array of scarfs, jewelry, and belts, one dress can take on multiple personalities."
Dress (by Green Embassy, an Australian company known as makers of certified organic haute couture, made of raw duponi silk, lined with organic cotton, dress was dyed using purple colored carrots)
Matthew from Be Kind Vibes is back for this week's installment of Subtextiles with a feature on LINEN.
Linen is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant. It is known as one of the oldest textiles in the world, its use dating all the way back to around 8000 BC. Fun fact: in ancient Egyptian culture, mummies were wrapped in linen as a display of wealth, and a symbol of purity.
While labor intensive to manufacture, linen is very lightweight, durable, and highly absorbent as a textile. It is much stronger then cotton, and is highly valued for its coolness and freshness in hot weather. Much like hemp, the entire flax plant can be used, leaving little to no waste behind. It also grows naturally requiring less water and pesticides.
Although linen is a natural fiber, it may go through certain chemical processes to achieve non natural coloring, and some crops may be grown with GMOs. While looking for items made from linen, it's best to avoid non organic blends, as well as items that have been chemically treated.
I hope you learned as much as I did about linen this week! Until next time, AWEAR world.
We are swooning over our style icon Bianca and her valiant fashion choices. She shares with us what this look means to her and how getting outside her fashion comfort zone can really bring extra joy to her life.
"In this look, I'm channeling my inner Harriet Tubman - the civil rights pioneer who helped usher thousands of slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad. She was courageous enough to flout the limiting social parameters of her time to become a passionate advocate and adventurer for the benefit of all.
For me, being an ethical fashionista means being adventurous enough to try new things and experiment with different looks, textures and cultural styles. There's nothing more stifling to creativity than being stuck in a style rut.
Part of that means constantly experimenting with accessories, like head wraps. They're easy to tie in a dozen different ways, and are great for traveling, on bad hair days, or anytime I want to rock a more bohemian, afro-centric vibe.
This one is made with 100% silk - I picked it up in Chicago's India town years ago. Textiles made from natural fibers are naturally insulating - they keep you warm in winter and cool in the summer. I use this one as a meditation cloth, a neck scarf and when I'm in the mood, a funky head wrap.
Here, I'm exploring one of my favorite urban parks in Georgetown. This one has miles of forested walking trails nestled just off bustling Embassy Row. I love discovering natural escapes hidden away in plain view - right in the middle of the urban jungle! An apt metaphor for how I like to approach my style."
Headwrap (made of 100% Silk)
Coat (vintage, purchased at American Rag)
Necklace (vintage amber)
Scarf (by Hearts, cruelty-free alpaca and fair trade wool, handmade in Peru)
Shades (by Eynack, fair trade, locally designed and made of bamboo)
Bianca is the Creative Director and Host of Conscious Living TV.
"Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away."
Frida is my go-to for inspiration and mindfulness when I'm lost or floating without clear direction. She consistently speaks authenticity with a fierceness and a voice emanating love.
In this week's Frock On, I'm wandering our new neighborhood and exploring what's nearby our new creative workspace, the Union. I'm wearing quite the eclectic mix of stories, which generally reflect my favorite looks.
Trousers (by Matter, fairly made and hand-dyed in India)
Belt (by Hilo, handmade in Peru of upcycled pieces, a gift from my brother along his travels)
Clutch (by Mar y Sol, fairly made in Madagascar)
Sunnies (by Sunskis)
Boots (by Fortress of Inca, handmade in Peru)
Top (an old top from my Mom's closet, I cut the sleeves off)
Jewelry (by Mermaid by Hand, handmade in San Diego, USA)
photos by Drewfoto
Alex & Linda are the mother/daughter duo behind Twig and Stone designs. With a desire to harness their creative energy in a fun and unique way, they started their company with a focus on one-of-a-kind headpieces and accessories.
Twig and Stone creates custom festival, bridal, and specialty headpieces for any occasion, all handmade in Los Angeles, CA. They are currently expanding into home decor as well, and will soon be launching several pieces developed from faux florals and succulents.
Matt of Be Kind Vibes is back to bring us another edition of Subtextiles, this time it's all about HEMP.
Hemp is by far my favorite textile to work with. The versatility and low environmental footprint of this super fiber is why hemp is the go to fabric for Be Kind Vibes.
Hemp has been grown for the last 12,000 years for fiber and food. Amazing! It has a long and rich history here in the United Sates. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp. Jefferson also drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper. Throughout the 1800's and early 1900's, hemp was a required crop for farmers to grow for its strength and versatility as a fiber.
Currently, hemp is still illegal to grow in the United States on a federal level. In the late 1930s, hemp was clumped into the Marijuana Tax Law, banning farmers from growing the once staple crop. Recognizing the many uses and high yield of hemp, certain states such as Kentucky and Washington have started small scale hemp farming, despite it still being categorized as an illegal crop by the federal government.
As a textile, annually, 1 acre of hemp will produce as much as 2 to 3 acres of cotton. It requires no pesticides or herbicides to grow, and uses very little water. It is durable, repels UV rays, and naturally whisks away moisture, making it the perfect fabric to have on your back for conscious adventures!
Cheers AWEAR World! I hope you enjoyed this edition of Subtextiles!
Hey! It's Drew here again, spearheading the Wordsmithing column on AWEAR World. For me, the ocean is kind of like my second home. So, this week we're taking a look at a word from the swimwear world.
One of the most fascinating garments around - the bikini - conjures up images of beach days and pool parties. Did you know that the bikini was named after the Bikini Atoll, a stretch of islands in the Pacific, where they ran nuclear tests in the 1940s?
An automobile engineer by trade, Louis Reard created the bikini while running his mom’s lingerie shop in Paris. It was advertised as the “smallest bathing suit in the world.” Everyone was shocked by the display of skin and curves.
When it first came around, the bikini was banned from many countries, beaches, and public places. Today, the bikini has become a big time industry, with revenues reaching at least US$800 million annually. While they may skimp on fabric, the financial fabric of the bikini just keeps on rolling.
Fashion influencer Samata is a growing force on both the British and international fashion scene. Her work as a campaign director, author, speaker and designer has spanned across London, New York, Los Angeles and beyond, where she engages with brands, style arbiters, students and aspirers.
Samata moved to London to study her Bachelor of Science in Economics, Finance and Management at Queen Mary & Westfield University. She currently runs Oscars design campaign Red Carpet Green Dress for Suzy Amis Cameron and James Cameron, working between Los Angeles and London.
Shoes (by Fashion for Freedom, fairly made in Vietnam)
Necklace (purchased at Portobello Market, London)
Wool Jumpsuit (by Twins Diverse, a Brick Lane boutique in London)
Hand Ornament (by Other Stories, made responsibly)
photo by James Blite
Hello AWEAR World! This is Matthew from Be Kind Vibes, and I'm here with the first installment of Subtextiles - a series where we look into the subtext of today's textiles. For this first week, we're going to look at cotton: 'the fabric of our lives'.
The use of cotton dates as far back as prehistoric times. Today, cotton is the most widely used natural fiber in clothing, with annual production reaching as much as 25 million tonnes.
There are two distinct types of cotton farming and production, conventional and organic. Currently, organic cotton only makes up a fraction of the annual production of the fiber. The high cost for farmers (which eventually trickles down to the consumer) is a leading cause for low organic production numbers.
While the low cost of conventional cotton is appealing to the masses, the process for its growth and production have a high cost for our environment. In the early 1990's, just here in California alone, conventional cotton crops were sprayed with 6.9 million pounds of chemicals for the use of seed and soil preparation, as well as weed control. These chemicals leek into the soil, water, and eventually end up on the finished product.
The alternative, while more time consuming and expensive, is organic cotton. Its growth and production uses no chemicals for preparation or weed control, and instead, uses crop rotation for healthier soil and water retention, as well as natural forms of weed and insect control. Organic cotton farming supports a healthy ecosystem, and will often use less water then conventional cotton methods.
While organic cotton has much less of an environmental impact than conventional, unfortunately, it still has an impact. Nothing in the apparel industry can be 100% sustainable. What we can do is all work to lessen our footprints by making more conscious decisions about what we buy.
Thanks for reading, and lets chat again next week!
Sofie is the founder of Anekdot, an upcycled underwear line that individually designs and hand-crafts their pieces in Berlin.
Anekdot upcycles, but lucky for you - that doesn't mean you're wearing somebody else's old undies. Instead, Anekdot sources their fabrics from production leftovers, end of lines, off-cuts, deadstock and vintage trimmings, turning these otherwise thrown away materials into something meaningful for you to wear.
Her own boss now, Anekdot designs based on what they have. This does not hinder their abilities, but instead provides a framework for inspiration and creation.
Each of their products has an extra special story awaiting you.
Transparent Dress (made by Sofie of upcycled materials)
Red Dress (vintage Firenze)
Cardigan (made by Sofie of upcycled materials)
Jacket (vintage, made in the 60s by a tailor from Sofie's hometown & she removed the collar)
Necklace (metallic piece found on Portobello market, Sofie made it into a necklace)
Paola has always been passionate about making a positive influence on people’s lives. After working in several African countries, in 2008 Paola established the Mayamiko Trust, a charity which taught valuable skills to vulnerable women in Malawi who could go on to use them in their own right. After a few years of running the charity, Paola noticed that many of the graduates, despite having acquired valuable skills, were still not able to put them to good commercial use to earn a decent living for themselves and their families.
Paola then realized that if she could provide an ethical and sustainable market for the products being made in Africa -- basically to export them -- tailors and artisans could genuinely use their skills to support their livelihoods and create positive change. The focus was shifted to increasing the quality of the products in order to break out of the ‘charity’ purchase mentality.
In 2011, Paola founded Mayamiko The Label, acting as an ethical sourcing and production workshop to create other brands' designs, and in 2013 the first Mayamiko collection was born, featuring very simple accessories.
Today, Mayamiko is a diverse fashion label consisting of exclusive individual designs in limited edition prints for women who love style, quality and love to know the story and people behind the label. Paola plans to help build the business into a recognized and loved contemporary fashion label, replicating the model in other countries and amplifying the impact on the people behind the label.
“For me it was all a bit of an experiment – my end game is to empower people and help create opportunities for a better life for them, but I also strongly believe that fashion offers a massive opportunity, and there is space to produce beautifully designed and cut pieces that are on trend and desirable by global audiences. I have big ambitions and I’d love to touch as many lives as possible in a positive, if tiny, way.”
Emma, the Mayamiko Lab Malawi Operations Manager is wearing:
Custom Made Batik Cape (by Mayamiko, hand dyed, cut and sewn in their workshop in Malawi)
For the next 6 weeks, my guy (and often the photographer for AWEAR World) Drew McGill has elected himself to examine words that can help us be more aware of what we're wearing. Some terms have interesting history and some relate directly to what we do in our daily lives without even thinking about it. We look forward to hearing what you all think!
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First off, we examine the word HIP. To be hip is to be aware, in the know. To be hip is ever changing.
While the actual entomology of the word is quite disputed, a few good stories exist. Hip as we know it today first started appearing in the early 1900s. It was changed from "hep" to "hip" largely by the early Jazz scene. During that time, both words were used interchangeably.
The first recorded use of hip was to describe someone as very fashionable, and from there, it became far more popular. It became an identity by 1930 when the "Hipster" arrived; from there, the 50s brought the "Hippie" and in the early 80’s, hip-hop ruffled the music scene's feather. All these notable identifications came from that hip little word.
Turns out, these hips don't lie. Being AWEAR was hip before we even knew it.
Pants by Matter
"I'm an adventurous woman, creative and proactive. I'm always aware of my social responsibility."
Maya understands that every artist should receive a fair price for the work they create. That's what led her to create Ketzali - an accessory line based in her home country of Guatemala.
"I hope to one day see that all of Guatemala's artisans have the opportunity to receive a fair compensation for their work."
Ketzali collaborates with local artisans (women & men), who are able to improve their environmental and living standards by creating unique products. Maya designs, develops, produces, and distributes high quality scarves, ponchos, kimonos, bags, and bracelets that are all made under fair trade working conditions.
Ketzali not only emboldens artisans to create products with exceptional quality, but also encourages them to explore their own creativity as well as learn new techniques.
"The weavers who collaborate with me have become my main inspiration, as I've seen their effort and determination to get ahead in life."
Scarf (by Ketzali, fairly made by Cooperativa Palopó in Guatemala)
A new year, a new start, a new opportunity. I'm using 2016 as a catapult to refresh some of what you're seeing on AWEAR World.
Starting today, I'll be bringing you my favorite outfits of the week, in a series called Frock On. I'll tell you what I'm wearing and what's going on in my head this week. So here goes. And please feel free to let me know what you want more of and what you want less of this year!
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“Shoemaking is an inheritance that's handed down to us. It's who we are and what we care about. The passion comes from our fathers and runs through our veins. From designing the model, cutting the leather, and forming the shoe, it's an art form." -Willan, Nisolo Master Shoemaker
There is an undeniable beauty in the art of shoemaking. The work and attention to detail that comes from a human's hands frame this craft in a magical light. It's always the hands that get me - the results that can come from something an individual molds, shapes and directs with the special touch of their palms and fingertips can have such unique and distinguished character.
These boots by Nisolo are exceptionally crafted pieces of art, made by hand in Peru. They've become a staple piece in my wandering wardrobe. They boast exceptional comfort, travel well, and pair perfectly with a lot of my current pieces.
Most importantly, every time I slip my feet into their bed and tie their laces, I think of the human who created these stunning shoes - a connection that reminds me of the importance of all of those involved in the AWEAR community.
These intimate stories have the power to help us all share the importance of being more conscious in our clothing. The more fun and exciting tales we can tell about what we wear, the more we can spark important and meaningful conversations. What's your favorite story to tell about something in your closet?
Shoes (by Nisolo, fairly made in Peru)
Meghan is a textile artist living in Detroit, MI. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a BS in Textile Development and is passionate about environmental sustainability and textiles. A Wool Story fuses these passions together with her minimalist aesthetics.
The concept for A Wool Story was born from Meghan's passion for all things handmade and sustainable. "The more I learned about the harm to the environment that the fashion and textile industry is responsible for, the more I wanted to lead by example and raise the question: can there be another way?"
By using recycled wool from reclaimed sweaters, A Wool Story provides limited-edition, handknit pieces that create no harmful environmental impact. Each piece is unique due to the limited quantity of yarn from each sweater, as well as the natural variations that arise from the process of dyeing it by hand.
Sustainability is taken into consideration in every step along the way, from the domestically sourced organic cotton sewn in labels, to the hand stamped recycled kraft paper hang tags, to the recycled paper mailers in which each order is sent out. Customers can feel good in A Wool Story knowing their piece was hand knit with love in a sustainable way.
As Meghan tells us, "unraveling sweaters to recycle yarn requires more work and preparation than just purchasing yarn from a store, but it’s a labor of love and provides the challenge to be more creative with the materials."
Ann and Jessica are the co-founders of Enrou, an online store that features unique and meaningful products handmade by artisans in developing communities around the world. Every purchase from Enrou creates opportunity for its makers and community through dignified work and community development initiatives.
Ann studied International Development Studies at UCLA and previously worked with social activism organizations. She combined her passion for social activism with the business skills she learned growing up as the daughter of an entrepreneur to found Enrou.
Jessica earned a Communication Studies degree from UCLA and has a background in fashion editorial, public relations, and retail. Through her editorial and retail experiences, she learned that despite people's growing concern for how their purchases impact others, there were few options for them shop responsibly.
Jessica joined Ann to cofound Enrou to bring socially conscious buying to consumers who want to make a difference when they shop, but don't know how.
Jessica is wearing:
Lounge Pants (by Sudara, fairly made in India)
Hat (by Greenpacha, fairly made in Ecuador)
Necklace (by The Brave Collection, fairly made in Cambodia)
Leather Bag (by Hiptipico, fairly made in Guatemala)
Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, Arina and Anya have a strong background in the fashion and eco-friendly beauty industry. Inspired by their own search for the perfect & most comfortable underwear - the kind you don't want to take off at the end of the day - the sisters founded WORON making sure sustainability was at the heart of their business.
Anya’s fashion interest lies in everything essential. Trend comes in second to durability and timeless design - she loves a versatile piece that she can style with ease in the morning.
"I’m very passionate about fashion, following latest trends and seeing how the world of fashion keeps inspiring us. The most important for me though, is that one doesn’t design for only a small closed universe but that a product is accessible; that it’s something that people can use, that they will feel good about and that can stay in their wardrobe for a long time."
This mentality is at the core of the sisters' underwear brand WORON. Being Scandinavian, Arina and Anya's taste lies in simplicity, femininity and clean lines.
"We find it fascinating that something so simple can be so attractive, at least in our eyes. Especially with intimate clothing like underwear, we believe that it’s important to ask the ‘how, what, where’ of the products, as this is what you put closest to your skin."
Finding the right sustainable and stylish intimates can be daunting. Check out WORON and the way that Arina and Anya are pushing boundaries on what sustainable lingerie looks like.
Arina is wearing:
Jacket (her own design made out of recycled leather)
Top (by WORON, made of modal)
Shoes (by Chloé, handmade in Italy)
Bracelets (purchased from local markets while traveling in India)
Anya is wearing:
Cardigan (made of superfine merino wool, organically produced in Italy.)
Top (by WORON, made of modal)
Jeans (vintage, purchased in one of her favorite local boutiques in Copenhagen)
Jewelry (by local designer Kinz Kanaan, fair trade)
A graduate form the London College of Fashion, Giovanna has been working in various roles within the fashion industry for over 9 years. She was inspired to start Ethical Collection during her time living in the slums of Rio De Janeiro.
Giovanna and her mother started a charity called Ephemeral Brazil to help teach young women to make and sell bags from recycled materials. She saw first hand the direct effect this had on the women, their families, and their communities. The work enabled the women to pay for their children to go to school and gave them a sense of pride in their work, while benefiting the environment.
Since this experience, Giovanna has been seeking the perfect opportunity to promote artisans working ethically around the world. Most importantly, she wanted to give consumers access to the most beautiful products and to give them a choice - a choice between fashion with a conscience and our usual fast fashion habits.
Ethical Collection London is an online eco-luxury contemporary fashion boutique based in Notting Hill.
Scarf (via Ethical Collection, handmade in India using traditional textile dying, made from 100% crepe silk)
Clutch (via Ethical Collection, by Cuero & Mor, vegetable-tanned leather, brass hardware)
Shirt (via Ethical Collection, made from 100% organic cotton in New York City)
For the last seven years, Johanna has worked as a human rights activist focused on anti-trafficking and justice issues. But fashion has always been a passion for her as well.
Recently, Johanna started Conscious Closets as a way to tie her two passions together: fighting human rights abuses in supply chains through making conscious fashion choices. The focus of Conscious Closets is to help both women and men curate a fashionable closet that cares more about people than it does about stuff.
Johanna believes that as we become more aware of the supply chain issues surrounding fast fashion and consumerism, they will begin to make more educated buying choices that will force companies into greater transparency and protection of people working in supply chains producing the goods and services we buy.
For the past year, Johanna has made the choice to only buy clothing that is made consciously. "I love wearing clothes that empower everyone along the supply chain journey and that’s exactly what these pieces do."
Wide Leg Pants (by Sudara Goods, fairly made in India, give back to empower women who are working to remain free from sex slavery)
Necklace (by Enrou, handcrafted, supports artisans in West Africa)
Top (by TwentyTwo|FortyFour, handmade of 45% Hemp/45% Organic Cotton/10% Wool Tweed, 22% of the proceeds from each piece sold is donated to an organization fighting human trafficking)
Clutch (by Hayden Harnett, made in New York City)
Elizabeth fell in love with fashion after trying on her first gown she borrowed from her beloved grandmother, a former fashion model. This gown happened to be about three feet too long, but Elizabeth immediately understood it was special, and that it made her feel beautiful.
That moment was the spark that led Elizabeth to a life-long interest in fashion and design. She taught herself how to sew, attended design school, and worked amongst top designers in America and Europe. Her label, Cocoon, was born out of a frustration for the lack of attention to detail, quality, and fit in the clothing that was readily available to the modern woman.
Elizabeth saw firsthand that products designed for the runway frequently did not translate into what real women would want to wear, so she built a company focused on pairing modern styles with the perfect fit and luxurious fabrics.
"Cocoon is designed for women who may not walk on red carpets, but who live beautiful, satisfying, and most importantly, real lives."
"I love wearing Rag & Bone, their pieces fit really well with my aesthetic, and they bring a casual element to Cocoon’s more sophisticated side. I also love Rag & Bone because they are dedicated to the “Made in America” movement!"
Jess is the face behind Stela 9, a sustainable clothing and accessories brand located in Antigua, Guatemala.
Before launching Stela 9, Jess spent 3 years visiting Guatemala and working as an archaeologist on the Pacific Coast. During this time, with fashion always on her mind, she created invaluable contacts and learned about the cultural traditions behind her favorite artisan crafts produced in the country.
After finishing up her research and degree in Anthropology with a concentration in Mesoamerican Archeology, Jess decided to put in two years of travel and volunteer work. About a year into the trip on a quiet day in Melbourne, Stela 9 was born.
Jess continued to travel while running the company on Etsy and taking photos on the side for a travel blog focused on Latin America. The time finally came to put the adventure on hold and move back to Los Angeles to make things with Stela 9 official.
Jess then managed a Free People boutique in LA to help re-introduce herself to the world of retail and fashion marketing. In October 2013, after about two years of building the business in the states and having a production team in Guatemala, Jess was finally in a position to relocate the headquarters to Guatemala, which had always been part of the dream.
Stela 9 was and continues to be inspired by a need to preserve vanishing trades and fill a void in the market for journey influenced accessories and apparel. All of Stela 9’s goods are handmade locally, providing jobs for Guatemalan craftsmen who would otherwise be at risk to losing their jobs to manufacturing technologies.
The business model of Stela 9 is based on fair wages, fair trade and sustainability which includes a meticulous process of sourcing precious stones, sustainably woven fabrics, recycled textiles and locally sourced leather.
With the purchase of Stela 9 items, you're helping to create invaluable jobs and provide a sustainable income for the beautiful, hardworking people of Guatemala.
Jacket (by Stela 9, OOAK denim jacket)
Top (by Reformation, made in LA, USA)
Shorts (vintage Levis)
Bag (by Stela 9, Quixote bucket bag)
Necklace (vintage squash blossom)
Dog (Grunes is an ex-street dog, who was adopted from a local shelter)
photos by Tim Shephard
“Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.” -Anne Sweeney
Meet Michael, the man behind the camera for many of the photo stories we feature of Bianca. A San Francisco native, Michael has been a life-long environmentalist and holistic entrepreneur. He and Bianca are the dynamic duo behind Conscious Living TV.
Bianca snapped these photos during one of their daily "relationship walks". For these two, taking an hour a day to walk, talk and connect has been a powerful way to stay on the same page and listen to each others thoughts, ideas, concerns and dreams.
Bianca loves that Michael is comfortable with his inner fashionista. "From the basic military-inspired cargo jacket look to all of his funky accessories, he proves that guys can be ethical fashion icons too. It's fun to know that I'm not the only one who's so passionate about the clothes I'm wearing."
This look is comprised of a collection of vintage, ethical or repurposed pieces, ideal for the season. Many of them were thrifted or scored at a clothing swap. As Bianca says, "We love a good treasure hunt!"
Cotton Cargo Jacket (thrifted from Buffalo Exchange)
Cotton Pants (vintage)
Polyester Vest (vintage)
Camo Tee (reused)
Scarf (by Indigenous, 100% organic fair trade cotton with natural dyes)
Shoes (by Converse, reused)
All-Natural Prayer Beads (from Self-Realization Fellowship)
Necklace (by Hearts, made of recycled bullet casings, fair trade)
Necklace (by Scorpion Sisters, made of recycled chain & rose quartz)
photos by Bianca Alexander
Jessi is the founder of Provenance, a London-based venture building a platform to share the stories behind the people, places and raw materials that are attached to a product's journey.
Provenance is revolutionizing supply chain transparency and product trust using a new technology called the blockchain. Working with suppliers, brands and certifiers, Provenance aims to enable every product comes with an open, secure record of its journey.
Jessi is an Art and Science hybrid, with a Master’s in Engineering from Cambridge University and Design from the Royal College of Art. She has worked across the US and Europe on technology strategy with brands including Adidas, The Four Seasons, The Guggenheim Museum, British Airways and Will.I.Am. She is an associate researcher at the Intel Institute for Sustainable Cities and a regular speaker on technology and social business.
Dress (designed & made by Kelly Shaw, manufactured in Tottenham, London, made of silk)
Jennie is a writer, musician, stylist, amateur seamstress, expert kale salad maker and vintage enthusiast from North Carolina.
After graduating in 2014 with an undergraduate degree in classical piano performance, Jessie knew she was interested in fashion, but at the time, it seemed impossible for her to break into the scene post-college with very little experience in the industry.
Founder of Eenvoid, Jesse Syswerda :: an AWEAR changemaker herself :: suggested that Jennie start a style blog of her own. The Garbage Pile soon followed, and Jennie has been piling on the amazing content since then.
As Jennie says, her blog is a place for "slow fashion, not minds," where ethical and sustainable style at any price point truly is the name of her game.
Kimono (vintage from Buffalo Exchange in Austin, TX)
Top (by Free People, thrifted from the same Buffalo Exchange in Austin)
Pants (by Michael Kors, thrifted for fifty cents from a tiny thrift shop in Jennie's North Carolina home town)
Earrings and Bracelet (by Canned Goods; all of their products are re-purposed from tin cans and with every purchase, they donate a can of food to a reputable charity)
Shoes (purchased way back when Jennie was in high school - those are some shoes with longevity!)
photos by Steve Ingenito of Country Sleep Photography
Natalie is a bicoastal personal stylist, lifestyle correspondent and soon-to-be holistic health and life coach. Nicknamed a "hippie in heels", this California girl brings a New York style to healthful and mindful living through her blog: Natty Style.
Natalie's writing always brings an accessible edge to sustainable living, or what she calls a "natty lifestyle". She helps private clients build their self confidence through their image, and plans to soon offer "Inside Out Makeovers" to help individuals address nutrition and wellness.
Jumper (by Cienne, handwoven in Ethiopia of 85% cotton, 15% poly)
Blazer (by Cienne, handwoven in Ethiopia of 85% cotton, 15% poly)
Cotton Top (from Reve en Vert)
Mini Backpack (by Loeffler Randall, made of vachetta which is vegetable-tanned leather)
Wild Is The Wind Fragrance (by Atelier de Geste, made of natural, sustainably sourced and toxin free ingredients)
The women of Two Neighbors are driving their own peace process. Miriam and Rehan - an Israeli fashion designer & a Palestinian embroidery artist - have created together a business partnership that defies politics, and what they believe instead favors "beauty, common sense, and shared economic benefit."
Two Neighbors is a social business that not only strives to build peace and become profitable, but also is designed to improve the social conditions of those involved in the process. "We empower women now to improve their economic condition, hoping to have better lives for their children's future."
Two Neighbors pay all their women employees by fair wage standards, and when additional profits are earned, they are returned to the women’s cooperatives to help improve basic standards of living. A portion is retained to grow the company and repay the investors.
"As women working within their communities, we are demonstrating working at an equal level and focusing on our shared humanities. Our vision is to inspire the people around us to seek peace in any way possible. We aim that the message of peace, is reflected in our garments. "
Miriam, a young Israeli fashion designer, was born in Jerusalem. She attended Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, followed by Dupere University in Paris, where she received an MA in Fashion Studies. After returning to Israel, she worked as a personal assistant at Dorin Frankfurt's studio. During that time she established Shalosh, her own womenswear brand. In 2013, Miriam joined the Two Neighbors team as the Head Designer of the brand.
Rehan, a Palestinian from the south Hebron hills has completed her secondary education. Embroidery is important to her because it is a way to preserve Palestinian culture and pass it on from generation to generation. Two Neighbors has given her the opportunity to use her talents in embroidery by training other women in the art of embroidery and by actually designing embroidery patterns.
As Two Neighbors puts it: "Together we create Peace through the Eye of a Needle."
To obtain equality and balance, Two Neighbors uses friends and presenters who support them in our vision. The photos of their new collection are featured on Laticia Eido, a french actress.
Lia is an environment student and singer/songwriter at McGill University. Before her final year at McGill, she embarked on an epic trip across Europe to learn about what it means to be an organic farmer through the WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) volunteering network.
WWOOF connects experience-hungry volunteers with farms that could use an extra hand (or four). "My best friend and I stayed a week at a time on organic farms ranging from beef production to jam-making in Ireland, Holland and Austria – truly learning the ins and outs of where our food comes from and how much thought and energy it takes to get it from field to table."
Lia's dream is to pursue a musical career similar to activist artists like Jack Johnson and John Butler &/or to work on urban sustainability projects – in particular with food systems. Her passion continues to grow each day, as she is currently involved in research surrounding urban agriculture initiatives in Montreal.
"After two years in my environmental science program, I now have a hard time buying things new and throwing things out, given what I’ve learned. Much of my closet consists of hand-me-downs, thrift store finds, U.S. manufactured items and McGill Clothing Exchange gems. The McGill Clothing exchange – a network of McGill students looking to buy, sell and give away unwanted clothes and accessories – has been my vice in terms of finding trendy items without buying into over-consumption."
Bandeau (McGill Clothing Exchange, a clothing exchange group at McGill University)
Pants (McGill Clothing Exchange)
Kina and Lele are the brains and beauty behind Siblings Army. Originally from the Canary Islands, the two sisters ventured to Peru and were drawn to move their lives there to create a slow fashion brand. Siblings Army creates one of a kind handmade clothing and accessories for men and women.
"We fell in love with the crafts and colors of the Cusco region and as we started to learn about the handmade process of the beautiful aguayos (mantas), we decided to develop our first collection. In the following ones, we found inspiration in the leather work that is used in the hand engraving Peruvian horse saddle, and our soon to be released pieces are designed with the technique of using a backstrap loom."
"We loved being around experienced artisans which continue to work as they did a long time ago. Pieces that are handmade with patience, passion and time. Not only do we produce and design pieces made with love, but we also care about the materials we use: sourcing all of our materials locally, finding the best quality for each single piece we create, and using sustainable leather and dead stocks or recycled materials for our linings. We want to move away from the mass produced world that we live in today, so we create limited edition collections."
Siblings Army helps preserve the skills of artisans, and Kina and Lele hope that these traditions will not disappear and that the rest of the world will value them.
Kina is wearing:
Shorts (thrifted from a second hand shop)
T-shirt (by Weekday, fairly made)
Shoes (handmade in Spain)
Bag (by Siblings Army, handmade in Peru, handknit material dyed with natural products, such as seeds and roots and combine with recycled canvas)
Phone Accessory (by Siblings Army, handmade with recycled leather in Peru)
Lele is wearing:
T-Shirt (by H&M, organic cotton)
Bag (by Siblings Army, handmade in Peru, handknit material dyed with natural products, such as seeds and roots and combined with sustainable leather that uses lower-impact dyeing methods)
Hat (by Siblings Army, handmade in Peru)
"Ever since I was a little girl, I've always loved horses. They are beautiful, mystical creatures, so full of grace, wisdom and intuition."
On a recent trip to California's Central Carmel Valley, Bianca took a moment to chill at Tassajara for an eco-friendly zen meditation retreat. On her road trip back, she had the opportunity to connect with these stunning creatures. As she tells us, she was overwhelmed with good vibes and had a hard time parting from her new wild and beautiful horse friends.
Dress (by Mata Traders, made of organic cotton and natural dyes, fair trade)
Necklace (by Fanta Celah, handmade in USA)
Shoes (by Birkenstock)
Ring (by Tammy Kohl Jewelry, made of recycled gold & diamonds)
photos by Michael Alexander
I'm almost wordless as I begin this post. A project that has been in the works for over four months is suddenly coming full circle.
Surfing had always been a far off dream for me...until recently. Growing up in the Midwest along the Mississippi River, I always crave having the water nearby, but I was never really familiar with the waves from the sea.
I've been fortunate lately to have the opportunity to dive into the ocean with a board, to be beaten down, freaked out to my core, challenged mentally and physically, and overwhelmingly satisfied by tiny wins that have given me a glimpse of that pure magic surfers embrace.
I was blessed to have the opportunity to connect with Marc of Reeco Surfboards to plan the process of shaping my first ever custom board. At Reeco, they take old surfboards, strip them down to the foam below and repurpose that foam into a new shape. Sometimes they even piece multiple pieces of foam together into an entirely new base. Then, they re-glass them using a bio resin.
The evolution for my board began with an old 9 foot longboard. My boyfriend Drew salvaged this beast from a dumpster originally and enjoyed it under his feet for over 4 years. That 9 foot board has now been converted into my new 7'4" piece of art. A local San Diego eco-friendly screenprinter hand pressed the AWEAR logo onto a rice paper laminate, which now graces the board.
After Izzo of Alchemy Archives built out those screens, I was so blown away by the beauty and uniqueness of the AWEAR falcon in action. Designed by a lifelong amigo Ian Kearns, it truly captures a lot of my personal essence.
In the end, I wanted to place that powerful AWEAR image onto something others could wear so even more stories could be shared. We had a small run of tees screenprinted by Izzo using water-based inks. Made in the USA using organic cotton, these tees will soon be available in limited quantities on the site.
Stay tuned for more bits from the story, and a video outlining the entire process, launching soon. <3 Kestrel
Rachel has an adventurous spirit that literally emanates from her. A research assistant at Scripps Institution of Oceanography UCSD, she has also worked as the development coordinator for the ocean conservation non-profit, Sylvia Earle Alliance Mission Blue.
After growing up in Montreal, Canada, Rachel earned her biology degree from McGill University and a Master’s in ecology degree from Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil. She's a quadrilingual and has lived in Panama, Barbados, Italy, Philippines, and Brazil, volunteering and studying tropical ecology. She's about to embark on the journey of a lifetime, as she shares with us:
"In December of 2015, 13 adventurous women from around the globe and I will sail for 19 days to make the unseen seen, from the toxics in our bodies to the toxics in our seas. Our mission is to explore the issue of plastics, chemicals, endocrine disruptors and carcinogens in our personal and global environment that can cause disease. We aim to engage women in scientific narratives relating to the consumer choices they make, and their long-term health impacts on themselves and our environment."
To learn more about the eXXpedition project, and to help support Rachel in her upcoming adventure from Ascension Island to Brazil, take a look at her campaign on Instrumentl >
Bikini (by Odina Surf, made of 85% recycled plastic bottles)
Cement Backpack (by PureThai Designs)
Insulated Reusable Bottle (by Klean Kanteen)
Food Canister with Lid (by Klean Kanteen)
Bamboo Straw (by Brush with Bamboo)
Sunscreen (by Badger Balm)
photos by Drew McGill
Colette is the designer and founder of La Fille Colette, a slow fashion brand based out of Boston. Colette creates for a feminine and strong woman who seeks versatile, polished pieces to take her from day to night.
In her designs, Colette draws inspiration from art movements. Her latest craze has involved an exploration of op art. This intrigue with geometric shapes, the play of intersecting lines, and the pairing of unexpected colors is visible through her graphic collection.
From a young age, Colette has been studying fine art as well as designing dresses. As a toddler, she was already dreaming up decadent princess ball gowns rendered in crayon; later, she moved on to sketch stage outfits for her childhood sartorial icons, the Spice Girls.
At university, Colette was able to merge fine art and fashion in much of her work. She graduated from Tufts University, and was dual-enrolled at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she was awarded a grant to paint in the French Riviera. For Colette, fashion and art have always been inextricable.
La Fille Colette's garments are produced on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and they proudly prioritize socially and environmentally responsible practices.
The Tripty Project began with inspiration to take the heritage and skill of Bangladesh and rework the way those attributes fit into the garment supply chain model. Co-founders Luke and Brooke wanted to create a fashion brand that benefits communities, culture and environment and rethinks the way international products are created in developing countries.
Brooke traveled to Bangladesh from Florida with the intention of making the garment industry less wasteful and, after years of work, has created a sustainability department in a major export factory as well as overseen the design and production of thousands of upcycled pieces.
Luke is an Environmental Scientist from a small town in Washington state. It was his passion for conservation that brought him to work in Climate Change in Bangladesh. After working in the field, Luke quickly switched his focus to climate justice and sustainable development.
Together, Luke, Brooke and their team have recently launched their Kickstarter. Head over to their project to help support it here >
Tin Tin Backpacks (by Tripty, made of organic cotton handspun on drop spindles, naturally dyed, and woven on back strap looms; the backpack straps and base are made from a pineapple leave blend that is naturally dyed and they are lined with upcycled sari material)
Jacket (by Tripty, handwoven on back strap looms using a traditional inlay tecnique, lined with upcycled sari fabric, made in Bangladesh)
"Creating excellence, longevity, and usefulness is what I am passionate about."
Anna is a serial entrepreneur who believes in investing in the future. An expert in artisan product development and supply chain management around the world, she founded Les Lunes in 2010.
Born of Paris and San Francisco, Les Lunes is a concept fashion house inspired by and created for charismatic people. From first cut of the fabric, to the hand of the customer, Anna maintains full vertical integration of the brand, with a dedication to balancing ethical commerce with a healthy lifestyle.
The French designs are tailored using ultra-soft fabrics sourced from Bamboo, with styles crafted to last. “...inspired by people with an enthusiasm and zest for life.” Anna believes sustainable fashion includes uplifting the mood of the wearer, as feeling confident manifests beauty.
Aiming to promote positive body image and showcase a realistic ideal to the world, Anna invites her muses to model the Les Lunes collections. Les Lunes' collections are ethically made in their company managed LL. Atelier in Shanghai.
"Wanderlust consumed her; foreign hearts and exotic minds compelled her. She had a gypsy soul and a vibrant hope for the unknown." -D.M. Syke
Hannah is an athletic trainer at the US Olympic Training Center. A Minnesota native, she's been living the California dream for a few years. An avid yogi and a lover of the sunshine, Hannah is a beauty with an overflowing creative mind.
These photos were taken in upstate New York at a secluded cabin - sunrise on a vacant lake never looked so good or so brilliantly golden.
Turban (by Hera by Day, handmade in San Diego, CA, USA)
Rings (by Mermaid by Hand, handmade in San Diego, CA, USA)
Watch (by Pandeia, made in Hawaii, USA)
Mug (by Redwing, made in USA)
Blanket (by Pendleton, made in USA)
photos by Dave Phelps
"We travel not to escape life, but for life to not escape us."
Wild Tussah's bag was the perfect travel companion for a wander south of the border into Baja Mexico. If you haven't yet, check out Danica's bags - they're super wearable, useful and carry an incredible story.
photos by my new endeavor Falcon Related
Monique and Gabriela are the founders of Below Waters :: a recently launched swimwear label based in New York City. The two grew up extremely active on the summer beaches of New York and noticed there weren’t many swimsuits that complimented their personalities and New York savvy lifestyles. They discovered that there were few choices that merged a sexy Brazilian cut, a classic all American brand, and a vintage-inspired swimsuit.
They dreamt for years about creating an American swimwear brand for women that would combine the sexy contemporary, the sophisticated classic feel, and a certain vintage flare, taking in their mixed homeland cultures of European and Latin American coastal lines. "We wanted to make bathing suits that we could wear and feel sexy, comfortable and confidant in, whether here or abroad."
Monique and Gabriela don't believe that you have to have a perfect bikini body in order to wear a bikini. They remember telling themselves: “why couldn’t we find bathing suits that fit as comfortable as our underwear?” So they spent many hours fitting and making sure their swimsuits are not tight and uncomfortable.
"We believe you can find a swimsuit for just about anyone’s personality and body type within our line. Our motto is “There is a suit for every body!"
Monique and Gabriela believe in being (semi) reckless and never looking back, and when they wear one of their bathing suits, they want to be reminded of all of the places they've been, the people they love, and the moments they don't want to forget.
Made in USA with locally-sourced materials, Below Waters has captured a unique aesthetic and launched an exciting and distinct approach to swimwear.
Gabby is wearing:
Braided Bonnie Bikini (by Below Waters, made from milliskin spandex lycra, fabric is locally sourced in New York City and bikini is made in New York City)
Monique is wearing:
Flouncy Señorita Bikini (by Below Waters, made from milliskin nylon spandex and ribbed navy nylon spandex, fabric is locally sourced in New York City, and bikini is made in New York City)