Creative and Personal Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas from Etsy

I cracked up. I hope you did too! I love getting my little curated newsletters from Etsy…especially around major holidays. Two years ago (I skipped last year) I featured a Valentine’s Day gift guide from Revolve, but this year I’m enjoying all of the creative and personal Valentine’s Day gift ideas from Etsy! In fact, I should probably feature these more often! Significant others can be notoriously difficult to shop for, especially around Valentine’s Day when everyone’s expecting chocolate, fancy dinners and gemstones. Well, maybe not everyone, but it can be tough to find the perfect non-cliche, personalized gifts every time a holiday centered around love, family or friendship rolls around when our lives are as busy as they are. Rushing out to a fancy dinner also means dealing with packed restaurants, difficult-to-come-by reservations and slower service, and chocolate or jewelry often just seems so thoughtless or forced. Some people opt for DIY gifts, but why not go for something unique and thoughtful crafted by someone who specializes in such a thing, when our creative juices, time and energy are fried by our daily grinds…especially when there are adorably convenient options for personal customization?

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Dark Alternative Clothing with a Conscience by Helvak

Not all black clothes are alike..at least, if the designers really know what they are doing and have a strong creative license. Just like with jeans, I like seeing all the amazing creative things you can do with something that most people see as “bland” or “simple.” As someone who isn’t a fan of bright colorful clothing (just on myself, I love watching other people be as colorful as they desire), I appreciate all the amazing independent apparel brands I’ve discovered that know how to make dark clothing anything but basic. It can be tough to run across these, so I get pretty excited every time I find one. From Marigold Shadows to Marcellamoda to Siskatank and even styles from Carbon38, these are some of my favorite types of shops on the internet. Most are overseas in Europe, but when I find one here in the states, it’s a special treat to me. This time, I’ve run into Helvak, a vegan brand self-labeled as “stealthwear with a conscious.”

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Earth Friendly Swimwear by Free Bella

Earth Friendly Swimwear by Free Bella

Image: Free Bella. Pictured: The Raquel Top

I know it’s still cold out there…but just wait, summer will be here before you know it! If you’ve been hitting the gym or pavement with new resolutions in mind for the new year, you’re probably already anticipating it. One of the best ways to keep yourself accountable is to start your shopping early for your new favorite swimsuit! Either way, it’s always fun to stock up on new swimwear every year, but sometimes it’s hard to know just which brand to shop for. Swimwear can be expensive, and if you’re me, you’d prefer those dollars to run the extra mile in the sustainability department. Introducing: Earth friendly swimwear by Free Bella.

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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!

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Mitscoots Outfitters Launches Blankets and Pillows for the Homeless

Mitscoots Outfitters Launches Blankets and Pillows for the Homeless

Image: Mitscoots

All of the charitable brands I’ve written about here have warmed my heart. In a crazy world full of anger and hate, it’s so nice to focus on the good of humanity from time to time. Among my favorites of all the charities I’ve discovered while running this blog is Mitscoots, an Austin-based brand born in 2012 after its founders witnessed first hand the fundamental needs of the homeless while on volunteer work in the city, in 2008. Quality gear and a clean pair of socks were the most requested items, and with that in mind, the Mitscoots brand began. Mitscoots works with local and national charities to send an equal pair of one of their high quality socks, beanies, tees and more to someone in need with every purchase. The brand also employs the transitioning homeless to help package up and ship your purchased items to you! This helps develop confidence, skills, motivation and network building for these individuals to began building better lives. Everything Mitscoots creates is also manufactured in the United States.

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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.

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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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Cutting Edge Unisex Festival Apparel by Eternal Mode

Alright, enough about jeans again for a bit, and time to share more from the incredible Global Eclipse Gathering I attended in August! I can’t believe it’s already been two months. As with all transformational festivals, I love perusing all of the amazing art among the vendor area. This event was larger than all the other events of its type I’ve been to, so I collected quite a bit to share here! I probably have enough to last me another year or so. One of the apparel vendors that caught my eye the most was Eternal Mode, a Los Angeles-based brand that creates some pretty impressive tribal-inspired unisex apparel for festivals, yoga and beyond. Their booth was one that I didn’t want to peel myself away from, every time I happened to walk by!

Eternal Mode’s mission is to “create everlasting, instantly recognizable designs, and to provide high quality, one-of-a-kind items.” Through their designs, they express their beliefs in “the oneness of all people and our inherent connectedness to each other.” This brand is a prime example of “slow fashion,” creating small batches of each item in order to give the highest attention to quality and durability as possible, and through environmentally-friendly practices. You can definitely see the unique appeal of these pieces, especially in person! There’s nothing like touching and feeling pieces in person that were created with love and with natural materials. At their booth, they definitely had a lot more pieces available (as you can see in the bottom-most photo) than what’s currently available on their website—festival season is just about over, so I’m excited to see what new designs this brand will come up with for the next year!

“Eternal Mode represents a unisex style with a cutting-edge appearance. Our intention is to create everlasting, instantly recognizable designs, and to provide high quality, one-of-a-kind items. Through the art of fashion we express our belief in the oneness of all people and our inherent connectedness to each other.”

“Our instantly recognizable style is the result of combining progressive design with expert craftsmanship. We rely on personal relationships with our artesian producers to ensure excellence and consistency in all our work.”

“Utilizing small-batch production methods and environmentally friendly techniques, we ensure that our products have a low impact on the environment and high benefit to the local community. Our team gives personal attention to the quality and details of each piece. All of our materials are 100% natural and are hand selected by our designers to ensure that only the best quality product reaches our customers.”

Shop Eternal Mode on Etsy here, or on their website here, and keep checking back for new releases! If you also frequent music festivals of the transformational type (think: Burning Man), keep your eyes out for these guys!

Limited Edition Artist Tees by Alternative and Atlanta Artists

Limited Edition Artist Tees by Alternative and Atlanta Artists - Tee

Image: Alternative.
ArtsATL Artist Series Limited Edition Graphics T-Shirt featuring the art of Caomin Xie.

When it comes to fashion, sometimes less is more. That’s why I’ve been a fan of Alternative for quite some time. This well known Atlanta-based brand has excelled at creating some of the most soft wardrobe essentials in the industry. Their mission of providing “that soft, lived‑in look and feel of our favorite vintage tee” has helped them land themselves on numerous celebrities and influencers alike, as well as style and comfort-conscious folks like you and me. But of course, it definitely helps that they are also one of the most well known sustainable brands out there! Over 80% of their products are made with either recycled or organic materials, and everything is manufactured under sustainable and fair labor practices. They also have implemented a G2 wash, which allows them to use 60% less water, and non-toxic dyes are used for all of their vintage-inspired tints.

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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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