Holiday Break Recap and Favorite Remaining Sales

Holiday Break Recap and Favorite Remaining Sales - Joe's

Image: Joe’s Jeans. Shop through 9pm PST 11/29/2017.

I’m sure it was easy to gather I was M.I.A. because of this past holiday…I figured Thanksgiving would be a great time to take a bit of a break and focus on family and relaxation for a bit. While there were a ton of sales floating around that I usually enjoy posting about, I really didn’t feel much up to it this time. As much as I absolutely love supporting some of my favorite brands, especially the smaller ones, I feel we as a society have placed too much of an importance on holidays for the wrong reasons over the years. It’s funny as a blogger, trying to keep a healthy outlook on consumerism when sometimes it seems that’s all that a style blog is about. But as I’m sure you know by now, I have a true love for all of the amazing advancements in denim as well as the hard-working independent brands that strive to create a more sustainable future and live off their creative passions. Family and time off is also incredibly important, and sometimes it can also be a challenge for me to keep a healthy balance. When I find the opportunity, I realize the need to take advantage of it, and I do!

My Thanksgiving week definitely was a nice break. I only had to work my 9-5 on Monday and Tuesday, which is a blessing every year (we get even more time off for Christmas and New Years). My immediate family lives in the same town as me, so I am also so stoked I don’t have to deal with the stress of travel! We had family friends over for Turkey Day as we always do, and I enjoyed having a lot more free time to hit the gym and go for my jogs without having to worry about much of a schedule (the way I always dream for it to be). I didn’t even look at any Black Friday sales, even though I noticed they started that Monday of the week (I can’t even remember if it’s been that way before? Kind of crazy if you ask me), until Friday morning, and some here and there this last weekend and Monday, but only online. You won’t ever see me braving those brick & mortar store doorbusting hours! I will say it was nice to take care of a little Christmas shopping early (yes this is early for me).

To stick at least a little with my usual holiday plans with my blog, I figured I would collect some of my favorite brands that are offering extended Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales through this week and share them with all of you, in case you’re curious what I’m looking at or are still looking for some great deals. I started with good ol’ Joe’s Jeans at the top, which is one of the brands that’s been around the longest in the denim market! If you’re looking for jeans that fit amazingly over curvier shapes or a brand that’s put efforts into sustainability and eco-friendly fabrics, that’s definitely one to look at. Scroll on below for more brands, from both denim brands and beyond!

Holiday Break Recap and Favorite Remaining Sales - Oliberte

Image: Oliberté. Shop with free shipping through December 1st.

Oliberté is a fair trade company specializing in amazing quality footwear, employing artisans in sub-Saharan Africa. These shoes break in beautifully, and are rugged but casual enough to wear every day. I have one pair, but this deal was too good…I had to grab another, which I got for about $41 (usually $130) with the Cyber Monday discount, 10% additional discount, and free shipping! Score!

Holiday Break Recap and Favorite Remaining Sales - Aya Papaya

Image: Aya Papaya. Shop all week!

Aya Papaya is one of my favorite independent brands I find at transformational music festivals I attend. Everything is handmade in America, sustainable and the brand prides itself in supporting local communities and providing local jobs. Find anything you can wear to yoga practice, festivals, or out and about everyday!

I have not yet written about Sure Design T-Shirts, but they are always on my radar. I write a lot about how much I love shopping for cute, casual tee shirts to pair with my favorite jeans, and this shop, based in Thailand, has some of the coolest around. They also carry leggings, hoodies, bags and other items for women and men. I’ve also seen them at a festival or two! They are already so well priced, so this deal is a total steal.

Holiday Break Recap and Favorite Remaining Sales - Symbolika

Image: Symbolika.

I only just wrote about Symbolika this last September! Back to the topic of awesome tees to go with your best jeans, this is a great brand to turn to if you are partial to psychedelic designs. These are based off sacred geometry or tribal visionary artwork from some of the best artists around, and are also found at several music festivals.

Nothing needs to be said about True Religion, really. This iconic denim brand is more accessible than ever with some of these recent sales they’ve been having! The fits and styles are also nothing like they’ve been before, and I’m always happy to see what they are coming up with next.

Holiday Break Recap and Favorite Remaining Sales - DL1961

Image: DL1961

DL1961 has been around for several years already, and values both fits for all bodies as well as sustainable manufacturing practices. I’ve reviewed a few of these over the years and they’ve been one of my all time favorites! This deal is too good to let go if you’re looking for a new pair of premium jeans, enjoy half off everything until November 30th!

Did you have any favorite sales this past holiday? Feel free to share them in the comments! Happy Thanksgiving/Holidays/Shopping/whatever you celebrate. This is my favorite time of the year…even though it always seems to hit us so dang fast!

Natural Leather Tote Bags for Fall from Etsy

Just like shoes (or jeans, in my case), almost every girl loves to have an assortment of bags for every occasion. It’s hard for someone fashionably creative to settle on just one or two, right? However, as full as a wardrobe may get with bags of every color, style or even brand, one thing holds basically true: just about everyone desires that one solid, quality bag that lasts through years and years, and possibly even gets better with use. As fun as it is to go crazy with collecting multiple styles, sometimes going back to basics is a tasteful move. I personally have my everyday bag (with a few alternatives if I feel like switching it up), a few evening bags to fit different occasions or moods, and some that are best suited for day trips or outdoor adventures like hiking, festivals or the beach.

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New Dark and Modern Asymmetrical Artistry from Marcellamoda

During my college years, my tastes were changing so often that I experimented with style a lot, to the point where fast, cheap fashion was the focus of my shopping efforts. I think many of us go through this though, because we don’t really know better. We like cheap abundance during that time in our lives, rather than paying more for fewer, quality things. I shopped based on what I saw advertised or in shop windows (as long as I liked it of course), rather than hunting down unique designers online (which I usually couldn’t afford anyway). Nowadays, however, things have changed a lot, both in availability of unique pieces and knowledge of the value of searching them out. However, the only constant with my tastes then and now is that I never really liked heavily patterned items, and usually shopped items without patterns at all.

Two Februaries ago, I wrote about Marcellamoda, a beautiful, dark, modern, minimalistic designer on Etsy which focuses on edgy, clean, asymmetrical apparel for cocktail hour, work or the street. The brand has its roots in Bulgaria, opening in 2009 by sisters and best friends Siyana and Marta, who call themselves “Marcella.” This was the name of their grandmother, who was a famous Bulgarian designer. Both of them are heavily involved in the arts, which definitely shows in everything that Marcellamoda produces! The brand started off as a small family-run boutique, with everyone designing, sewing and modeling everything themselves. Now it’s grown into a team of talented seamstresses and other assistants in Europe! All designs are hand made and inspired by the urban streets of New York City, where the original founders live during most of the year.

Etsy is definitely one of the destinations that has made unique apparel more accessible, and this is one of the amazing brands I’ve had my eyes on for so many years now. These are the statement pieces for your wardrobe that you reach for when you aren’t necessarily trying to make a statement…I believe every closet needs effortless items that speak without being loud, that work for multiple occasions and go with just about anything! Spending a little more for a few quality, classic pieces like this is worth it, since they will last you for years and you tend to take better care of them, too. Marcellamoda is priced pretty well, however—quite a bit less than your typical designer brands!

Of course, I love it when fabulous brands such as Marcellamoda take things a step further into charity…The Marcella sisters grew up in a family that cared deeply about helping marginalized children, so 5% of all profits are donated to UNICEF!

Here are some of the newest and most eye catching pieces from Marcellamoda. I’m definitely drooling over that Tank Top below!

“Marcellamoda started as a small family boutique – designing, sewing, modeling our designs – and now includes our whole family and a great team of talented seamstresses and assistants in Europe.”

“Our grandmother was a famous Bulgarian designer and truly defined our sensibility for clean lines and beautiful fabrics. Although we’re self-taught designers, we have a combination of art, music, and business education that makes us aspire toward building a dream of beauty and aesthetics. “

“One of us, Marta, is an opera singer with a Master’s degree in Opera Performance from The Juilliard School, New York, with an ever-growing love for design. She is excited about the intricacies of making patterns, choosing fabrics, and trimmings, communicating with customers and doing everything possible to make everybody on the team smile with her awesome sense of humor!”

“Siyana is also passionate for design, but her strength is on the entrepreneurial side – the knits and bolts of making sure everything is run smoothly. With a MBA degree from Emory University and a 10-year career in finance in the U.S., Siyana decided that the world of art, design and entrepreneurship, mixed with social work is how she would truly make a difference.”

“How about our design and manufacturing processes? We care about how every garment is made – in the most ethical and conscious way!”

“After our designs and patterns are complete, our family and team of talented seamstresses in Europe start making your order with lots of love, care, and the utmost attention to detail and quality.”

“We care about our employees – we believe that if they are happy, you, our customer will be happier!”

“We grew up in a family that is passionate about helping marginalized kids and made us believe that people should strive to be better than themselves! This is why we selected UNICEF as the charity you can support through your purchases – 5% of all profits are donated to UNICEF.”

Shop all available items from Marcellamoda here.

Sustainable Wearable Art by Sacred Geometrix

I always say, for every favorite jean there’s a favorite tee to go with it! I love collecting graphic tees almost as much as I love collecting denim. Another one of my favorite vendors I found at the Global Eclipse Gathering was Sacred Geometrix, a brand that features beautiful designs based on sacred geometry, on tees that are made from bamboo, organic cotton, and/or recycled materials. Since we spent a lot on this trip, I held back on spending any money at the vendor area (a huge accomplishment for me, but then again I did splurge at Lucidity Festival earlier this year). However, I had to get one of their tees: the ‘Manta Rays‘ tee in grey (seen below in black). Too freaking cute! Also cute, were handmade organic cotton crop tops with geometric prints (such as this one) that are great for yoga or festivals, but I’m focusing this post on the beautiful screen printed tees (and scarves) featuring totally unique designs that I found at this vendor’s tent.

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Superior Unique Leather Boots with Attitude by A.S.98

Superior Unique Leather Boots with Attitude by A.S.98

Image: A.S. 98

OK, sorry again for my absence—I’m now back from long road trips and extensive work obligations for awhile…so now I can get back to posting on a decently regular basis again! Thanks for sticking with me. I still have so much from the Global Eclipse Gathering that I want to post, but I still have not yet had a chance to sort through everything I collected there that I intend to share with you all. All of this material will certainly last me awhile, so I like the idea of mixing in other brands that make me think of the nomadic, transformational festival environment (along with the usual denim and other notable things I run across) to draw it out as long as I can since really, eco-friendly and independent brands is part of the soul of my blog apart from denim. A little over a year ago, I posted about a new footwear line that a favorite sustainable retailer, Nomads Hemp Wear, was carrying. These shoes had been featured in photo shoots for the brand for quite some time, and after asking them where they were from, I was so happy to see them finally offer them for sale in their online store! A.S.98 is the name, handmade leather shoes and boots is their game—and I’ve been keeping my eyes on them ever since then.

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Ethnic Infused Street Style by Psylo

Ethnic Infused Street Style by Psylo

Image: Psylo

If you live in the western states right now, I’m sure you can agree that this heat wave we’ve been having has been quite unbearable! I have to admit that I haven’t worn a pair of jeans in weeks. It’s very hard for me to wear loose, light fabrics as bottoms because I feel like I’m wearing almost nothing—jeans give me a feeling of security. However, especially after the Global Eclipse Gathering two weeks ago, I’ve grown more comfortable wearing lighter fabrics in the heat. Even at work! Discovering all of the amazing apparel vendors at the event was great timing for me, as I found myself shopping and building wish lists with all of them more than I have the usual denim brands I love. I’m usually like this after any festival, but feeling a new sense of comfort and freedom in the heat (and year-round) with some of these designs has made them leave more of an impact in the direction I want this blog to go. I’ll always love denim, but independent and sustainable designers are such a huge passion of mine! Plus, it’s nice to break out of the usual jeans and a tee shirt rut.

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New Handcrafted Rugged Boots from Freebird by Steven

For most ladies it’s shoes. For me, obviously it’s jeans. However, I’ve started to see my focus sway a bit more into the shoes department again, especially ever since discovering the amazing rugged looking, vintage inspired collection by A.S.98 on various models at Nomad’s Hemp Wear. Although fast fashion still is alive and thriving, it seems there has been a slow but steady shift to more quality items as awareness grows and people start to understand how to take advantage of stretching the real value of the dollar. Handmade items tend to last longer, as they were most likely made with more love and attention to detail and quality. In addition, you can be sure to get that true, beautiful, well-worn, vintage appeal when things are made with the careful, creative touch of a true artisan.

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12 Stylish Alternatives to the Classic Fanny Pack

Love it or hate it, the ’90s (and even a few more decades past) are back. Thanks in part to music festivals, now we’ve once again got bright colors, high waisted shorts and jeans, overalls, embroidery, culottes and more. I find it interesting watching fashion evolve; it seems to have gotten more minimal over the current modern years, with clean embellishmenet-free designs, toned down neutral shades and timeless pieces that probably won’t ever go out of style. That still exists, but styles that once were “out” always revolve around and come back “in,” and in they’ve come. I’ve heard many people verbally roll their eyes at this new trend, but I welcome it with open arms. The ’70s, ’80s and ’90s were about having a great time, and with the growth of music festivals combined again with a bit of political turmoil, these modern years seem to have taken that turn once again as more and more people just wanna have fun.

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Fair Trade Bags for Summer by Tribe Azure

Just about everyone loves a nice, brand name handbag. I have a couple that I love (that I found cheaper and second hand on eBay of course), and I enjoy using them for special occasions or simply when the mood strikes. However, as much as I can appreciate nice things, I can’t help but always think of the little guys, the artisans, the ones with huge, blooming visions but smaller global reach or fewer resources. I love writing about the latter more than the former, and am always digging around for new ones to feature here to at least help make them a little better known. Fair trade goods are extremely important to me, and I regularly shop them as well! I believe i’s all about balance in life; enjoy the fruits of your labor…splurge here and there if you can, but don’t forget to support those who really need it.

As part of the music festival circuit, I’m always enamored by all the cute handmade hippie (I refuse to use the word “boho”) bags being carried around by some of the most creative people I’ve ever seen. I was just perusing around Amazon and discovered a whole slew of these, from a company called Tribe Azure. The company is basically a “global artisan movement,” which was born over 45 years ago by Bombdon Ngodup of India. She started her social entrepreneurship in the early 1960s in Northern India, which is a more rural area of the country. Ngodup came from an aristocratic Tibetan family that worked as day laborers in India, so she had a lot of experience working as a street vendor as a young girl. This all inspired her to work hard to create sustainable economic opportunities for artisans in developing countries of South and South East Asia. Tribe Azure is now a “global network of socially conscious entrepreneurs” which strive to create those opportunities. Tribe Azure connects people from communities and markets in developing countries where representation could be improved, and introduces it into the larger global retail markets. The brand would prefer to be seen as a way of empowerment rather than a charity, to help community transformation and eradicate poverty.

Summer is almost here, and these bags totally scream BEACH or POOL DAY, right? The best part is that these bags are not expensive at all, and affordable for just about everyone. The entire line ranges from $15 to $35 on Amazon, and I’m already eyeing a few! It’s so exciting to me to see such talent amongst all of the big names around the world…grab one of these beauties for yourself and help empower an artisan and their community.

Fair Trade Bags for Summer by Tribe Azure - Bags 5

Image: Tribe Azure. Shop | Bag 1 | Bag 2

“Tribe Azure seeks to change the world through creating person to person commerce from communities and markets where there is little to no representation and bringing it into the larger retail ecosystem.”

Fair Trade Bags for Summer by Tribe Azure - Bags 1

Image: Tribe Azure. Shop | Bag 1 | Bag 2

“Our vision is not to solicit charity, but one of empowering community transformation. Our goal is to eradicate poverty and transform communities through our unique innovative market based solution.”

Fair Trade Bags for Summer by Tribe Azure - Bags 2

Image: Tribe Azure. Shop | Bag 1 | Bag 2

“One artisan at a time. We aspire to create a vibrant ecosystem of unfiltered and authentic products from cultures around the world. Every product has a beautiful story to share.”

Fair Trade Bags for Summer by Tribe Azure - Bags 3

Image: Tribe Azure. Shop | Bag 1 | Bag 2

“Our long term vision is to connect artisans directly to consumers. We want to create a community where artisans from around the world can engage in open dialogue and communication with socially conscious consumers all over the world.”

Fair Trade Bags for Summer by Tribe Azure - Bags 4

Image: Tribe Azure. Shop | Bag 1 | Bag 2

“As of now, Tribe Azure is working on establishing a sustainable market for handmade products in North America through its retail partners and online web, and building long term buying relationships in places where skilled artisan partners lack opportunities for stable income. Product sales help pay for food, education, healthcare and housing for artisans who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed.”

Fair Trade Bags for Summer by Tribe Azure - Bags 6

Image: Tribe Azure. Shop | Bag 1 | Bag 2

Shop more Tribe Azure items at Amazon here, or read more about this wonderful brand at their website, here.

Custom Artisan Leather Footwear by Soul Path Shoes

I just love perusing through Etsy sometimes, and looking at the favorite shops and items of my favorite sellers…you never know what new awesomeness you might find! It just blows my mind how some of these amazing brands don’t get the recognition they deserve, but that, as I’m sure you know, is one main point of my blog. Every year after feeling fresh and inspired by the open and limitless creativity behind Lucidity Festival (and the vendors, especially), I’m always digging even deeper into the nooks and crannies of the internet to find even more independent artists to feature here or inspire me into any possible future creative ventures. There is some ridiculously impressive stuff out there!

One of my most recent finds is Soul Path Shoes, a Canadian brand run by artisan Nathan deBridge Bowes, who specializes in custom moccasins and sandals. I mean, these pieces speak for themselves…just look at the detailing! Long ago, Nathan was inspired by searching far and wide for the perfect handmade artisan footwear that was unique, comfortable and natural, to no avail. So, he was inspired to venture on his own path into creating his own, and mirrors genuine ancient practices and pours a ton of love, patience and skill into his work. From sharpening and maintaining his his tools (like tuning an instrument, as he says) to taking the risk of tedious custom fitting, Nathan stays true to his strong beliefs on the real value of old fashioned hard work, quality and customer satisfaction which is becoming more of a rarity these days.

Nathan uses supersoft 8-9 ounce buffalo leather for the main body and trim of his footwear which is 2-3 times thicker than regular leather. He also implements a traditional moccasin full leather outer sole with a Vibram rubber sole as an option, and a removable insole of wool felt and orthotic cushioning on a leather base. Every item comes with your choice of buttons (with several beautiful metal pieces to choose from) and main color, trim and heel cap colors. Other options include additional arch support, extra trim layers, added piping, leather or Arbutus wood buttons, cuffs, other custom artwork, and so much more! How gorgeous are these?! For the amount of work and custom options put into these, I’d say they are also priced incredibly well, at around $300-$600 before any custom options are included. Honestly, I’d just buy what I see right off the virtual racks.

Here are some of the moccasins and boots that catch my eyes the most from Soul Path Shoes! As usual with most of these talented artisans I discover, it was tough to narrow it down.

“For years I searched for real artisan footwear. I knew what I was looking for: A handmade leather sandal, shoe, boot or moccasin that was unique, natural, and comfortable; classic leather footwear with timeless beauty and functional elegance. Where did I find it? I found the heart of the craft in the pride of craftsmen of days gone by, I found ideas in the functional designs of ancient civilizations… But no one I could find was making what I longed to find. Or at least not yet… It was then I knew I was on the right path, a path of discovery and creation, and a path with Soul.”

“I love the work I have chosen to do… It is a pleasure for me to work with beautiful, soft leather, and to feel a good tool in my hands as I connect with an ancient tradition of sandal, boot, and moccasin making. I love old, quality tools, and handmade tools and knives the most, as they ring with quality and carry the energy of the maker.”

“It is a skill to learn to sharpen a blade for the task at hand; akin to tuning an instrument – it cultivates patience and presence of mind, and good work may be produced only once the tool is finely honed, as good music will only be produced once the instrument is finely tuned.”

“Making good footwear is difficult, and a custom fitting is more demanding still. One need not wonder for long why this trade and these skills have nearly disappeared – it is hard work, and risky in this day and age. So I am taking the risk of doing what I believe in because I know the value of real quality, and in this modern desert where people are beginning to feel the thirst for quality, some of us are creating an oasis.”

Take a look into the beautiful artistry that makes up Soul Path Shoes.

Shop Soul Path Shoes on Etsy here or the official website, here (where you can also read up a lot more about them).