Sustainable and Soft Closet Essentials from Alternative

Sustainable and Soft Closet Essentials from Alternative

Part of the appeal of fashion is how crazy creative some designers get. It’s an art form, after all, and oftentimes I like window shopping as much as adding pieces to my closet, just to enjoy the artistry. But no matter where the latest trends and looks might take you, there’s nothing better than timeless pieces that will go with anything and keep you comfortable. If they are sustainable, they’re even better, of course! Alternative has been a longtime favorite of mine and I honestly don’t know what took me so long to write a full post about them. I’ve worn items from them in various reviews! My absolute favorite is a lightweight black cardigan wrap with a long cowl neck in the back that can be put over the head, and long sleeves for a super cozy fit (you can see it featured in a post here). I love shopping closet essentials from Alternative because as stylish as I like to be most of the time, I still just have those days where all I want is to be comfy first. Don’t get me wrong though! This brand definitely has some super cute pieces! Sometimes, less is more.

Alternative’s mission is to provide “that soft, lived‑in look and feel of our favorite vintage tee,” and they’ve lived by that motto since 1995. The brand creates amazing, timeless everyday basics with a real, worn-in feel. Sometimes with everything there is out there, it can be tough to cut through the noise and find some wardrobe staples that are worth the money. You can definitely shop with confidence with this brand as everything is created with the finest fabrics for softness and durability. But the most important to me is that you can also shop guilt free, since over 80% of Alternative’s products are either organic or made from recycled materials, and everything is made with sustainable processes and fair labor. Apparel manufacturing is inherently dirty and wasteful. Using a G2 wash, Alternative uses 60% less water, and they also use non-toxic, low impact dies. Social responsibility has also always been important to the brand. They keep high standards of fair and safe workplace conditions for all their factories around the world, which are in accordance with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) Workplace Code of Conduct. Many are also certified by Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP).

I wish more companies were like Alternative! Here are just a few of the awesome products this company has to offer.

“More than a name, Alternative is who we are.”

“By purchasing from a fabric-first company, you aren’t just getting a finished product. You’re investing in every stage of its life cycle, including the materials and processes we use to make it. Our commitment to sustainability is defined by creating products responsibly. We make over 80% of our garments with sustainable materials and processes.”

“Innovating from thread to finish. We make timeless, authentically worn-in styles that people want to wear today and tomorrow.”

“Working on a global scale, we respect and value the rights of workers in all countries and believe in the right to fair and safe workplace conditions. Our factories…are in accordance with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) Workplace Code of Conduct. Additionally, many of the factories we work with are certified by Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), an independent, non-profit team of global social compliance experts.”

“Offering the best in everyday basics, Alternative creates wardrobe staples with modern silhouettes, balancing simplicity and style.”

“Our design is rooted in sustainable and eco-friendly practices. We source the finest fabrics for softness and durability, and incorporate organic and recycled materials wherever possible.”

Learn more about, and shop, Alternative here.

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.

Five Sustainable or Ethical Designer Brands on Shopbop

The designer fashion world is often seen as self-serving, shallow, snooty and of course, gosh darn expensive…and I don’t often write about it because I know it’s a bit beyond my, and most people’s, reach. However, I do admire the creativity that goes into many of these brands, and I also like getting to the bottom of truth. Not all high end brands recklessly pursue the almighty dollar—there are definitely a lot to give shoutouts to. Some brands started off with sustainability or other ethical initiatives in mind, and some make the switch later as awareness grows and they become more mindful of their footprint on this planet. No matter the price point, I like to give coverage to a brand that realizes resources are finite, or that human rights are important. If you happen to be one that adorns your closet with designer goods but are looking to shop a little more guilt-free, then this post is perfect for you!

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The Nomads Hemp Wear Spring and Summer 2017 Collection

Hello all! So I’m back from Lucidity Festival, and I gotta say it’s ridiculously tough to get back into the swing of things after that. I feel so refreshed, relaxed, and pretty inspired in a few other creative avenues I’ve been curious about exploring! One of which is apparel, thanks to all of the beautiful, unique, independent clothing vendors I shopped at the festival (right up my alley and a common subject on my blog). So, I think it’s only fitting I slowly rev back up my blog momentum with a post within that subject!

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The New Sustainable Unisex Denim Line by H&M

The New Sustainable Unisex Denim Line by H&M

Image: H&M

The cool thing about fashion and style is it has always been known to blur lines and break barriers ever since its inception. It continues to grow, evolve and remake itself along with changes in politics, pop culture, and popular tastes. Fashion naturally is meant to ignore all the rules on its own, but you can’t say it’s not often influenced by changing trends within target demographics, of course. Lately, awareness of the wastefulness of fast fashion has spread amongst style-conscious shoppers everywhere, while millenials are rising up against personal labels, boundaries, exclusivity and judgement. Whether or not you like to think of fashion’s ever-changing climate as being politically influenced, it’s always been about freedom of individual expression.

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Help Provide Meals for Children with FEED Bags

While I absolutely love discovering new brands with a charitable program to give back to those in need, it’s also great to see the well-established, tried-and-true and well-loved brands evolving and still staying strong to their respectable initiatives. FEED is one of them. Founded in 2007 by Lauren Bush, after witnessing hunger (which affects about 795 million people around the world) after a trip to Cambodia, Chad and Guatemala. She saw children not receiving adequate nutrition in the form of school meals, and founded FEED to help change that. Every bag purchased has a number stamped inside that signifies how many meals or micronutrient packets will be provided to someone in need. FEED’s mission is to “connect customers to the cause, one bag at a time.” FEED works closely with The World Food Programme (WFP), Unicef, and Feeding America to help combat malnutrition globally. So far, there have been 95,619,215 meals provided to date!

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Innovative and Eco Friendly Hemp Bags by Kahush

Innovative and Eco Friendly Hemp Bags by Kahush

Image: Kahush. The Asa backpack.

Of all the renewable materials around, hemp is definitely the strongest and most versatile. It’s tougher than cotton, and has natural antimicrobial properties. It’s also a fast growing plant, making it extremely sustainable. It can be used for paper, clothing, construction materials, biofuel, plastic composites, bath & body care and so many more, and it’s really unfortunate that it’s not quite reached industrial use yet. However, many companies are working on that by promoting its use, such as Hemp Blue, Nomads Hemp Wear, The Body Shop and several others. It’s always exciting to me to see so many startups working to change the world in terms of sustainability, and I’ve got another one to share with you today: Kahush.

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Shop Sustainable Brands through ASOS Eco Edit

I’ve had a lot of favorite online shopping destinations throughout the years, but lately I’ve made a conscious effort to shop primarily through independent Etsy artists or sustainable brands I discover through my digging around for quality posts to share with all of you. I don’t really frequent many of the popular powerhouses, like Tobi, ASOS, H&M or Zara (I definitely stay away from fast fashion). However, it’s been nice to hear lately that H&M has actually been working towards more sustainable practices, and Zara released a sustainable collection last year. Just recently, while researching the next cool item to write about, I realized that all this time, ASOS has had their own eco-friendly collection as well, along with a fair-trade line. How on earth did I miss this?

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Sustainable Vegan Bags by Eve Cork

Sustainable Vegan Bags by Eve Cork

Image: Eve Cork

When I’m shopping for a pair of shoes or a bag, I usually gravitate towards leather goods in a desire for something that will last me more than just a few months. I know leather is a byproduct that would otherwise be thrown out, but I also know that the meat industry can be pretty bad for our environment. It’s a bit of a trade-off that sometimes I decide to settle with, since I know buying quality leads to less purchases, and thus less waste overall. However, I’ve been surprised lately by some vegan brands that have come out of the woodwork and proven to me that faux leather CAN be just as durable! Brands like Matt & Nat, MeDusa and BLANKNYC have been my favorites in that realm so far, and I might just add a fourth with Eve Cork!

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Empowering Women and Local Artisans with Nanette Lepore

I’m not usually all that into designer goods…unless you count premium denim and super talented yet small-scale independent artists off Etsy or elsewhere…I guess technically that’s all classified as “designer” goods since it’s all higher quality with more attention to detail and less mass-production (and much of it is sustainable). However, traditional designer goods, although beautiful to look at, aren’t always all that practical for my wallet or lifestyle. I kind of see it like high couture: beautiful art pieces to admire and ooh and ahhh at, even though I might never own a piece (but who knows, right?). I don’t abhor prices, as I know what often goes into creating most of these brands. Every now and then though, a popular designer pops out to me as something special, whether it’s the designs or ethical practices. One in particular is Nanette Lepore.

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