It’s still pretty hard to find anything in the sustainable and/or ethical realm when shopping for premium apparel. Even though awareness has grown tremendously over the years, it still takes a little research to truly know what you are consuming. I am always writing a lot about independent, lesser-known (and very underrated) designers I find at music festivals or just while browsing the web (like ZhenNymph from my last post), but I try to keep things balanced and show options from the more mainstream market as well. Shopbop and Revolve are two of the most popular (if not THE most popular) shopping destinations online for premium contemporary apparel and accessories. I highlighted five sustainable or ethical brands found on the former last year, but sustainable brands tend to come and go, mostly because it’s still expensive to produce sustainably and unfortunately hard to get consumers on board with conscious spending in today’s fleeting fast-fashion market. One brand that has permeated the household name treshold to hold its longevity along with its other premium name counterparts is Mara Hoffman.
Being exposed to the “transformational” or “conscious” festival circuit has opened me up to such an incredibly awesome new world of independent style. Many people know they should be shopping more sustainably, but aren’t quite sure where to look…and browsing through (and getting to know) the vendors at many of these events has gotten me accustomed to the true benefit of supporting some of these hard working artists—supporting small is always good, but it’s also about the quality (you can tell when there’s real love put into someone’s work), ethical nature (no sweat shops), and unique appeal (the creativity always blows me away)! I’m sure you’ve seen me pouring out my love for plenty of these particular designers over the years, but apart from specifics, this newfound knowledge has been a very useful lead in finding others that I may not find at festivals. One of them being ZhenNymph, one of my absolute favorites!
I know it’s Thursday…and usually my posts have been publishing on Wednesdays lately, but the previous 3-day weekend and busy life kind of threw me off a bit! It sure is nice having a Monday off, even though it often means a lot of catch-up work back in the office. I was just too exhausted yesterday…so I guess today is my “Wednesday,” if you will (although hooray to a shorter week). We’ve been having some weird cold weather here in California, and we’re all feeling fairly sleepy…Summer can’t get here soon enough! Whether your summer prep includes hitting the gym a little more or planning for your upcoming vacation, I’m sure many of you are about to hit the swimwear market, if you haven’t already. Here’s a little tip if you have yet to shop around: if you didn’t already know, Patagonia has a wide range of stylish, quality swim gear for men and women…and it’s all sustainable and fair trade!
OK, time to get back to more denim! Lately, I’ve been so excited to see the great strides being made in the sustainable apparel world, especially in denim. It’s still not quite to the point of being mainstream, but it’s pretty impressive how many brands, old and new, have been working hard to make this a widespread reality. Awareness of the importance of moving towards a more sustainable society is growing among consumers, and although there is suspicion that many brands may simply be feeling the push to maintain a competitive status, I know there are also several who are right on board with those consumers.
I usually do not include exclamation marks in my post titles…I’m not all that into sensationalism (and they aren’t the best for search engine optimization). However, I’m such a huge fan of this brand—I don’t think there’s any other seasonal release from any other that I look forward to with such excitement! I can’t even remember how I discovered Nomads Hemp Wear, but it’s been a sweet, sweet relationship between them and my wardrobe for several years now. Eco-friendly and sustainable apparel can be more on the expensive side, but this Canadian brand has almost revolutionized that market by doing everything they could to keep prices down while keeping their entire production fair trade, and everything is made with such amazing attention to quality and comfort, as well as unique, intricate detailing and prints. Their tops have been in several of my older denim reviews, such as this one and this one, and outfit posts like this one. Several other pieces of theirs I also wear at festivals, so I love how versatile their creations are! From parties to casual moments to the office or out on the town, they’ve basically got you covered. About seven days ago, they released their Spring/Summer 2018 collection, and (no surprise) I’ve already placed an order (that Demure Tank below, hello)!
After all these posts I’ve been making pouring out my love for independent designers usually found at music festivals, I would be lying if I said I didn’t still peruse major retailers from time to time. Shopbop and Revolve are the top favorites, but because of being exposed to the little guys and the importance of more sustainable “slow fashion” efforts, I do my best to be conscious about what ethical brands might be available from those websites. Fortunately, there are several in the designer market that do care about humanitarian and earth-friendly practices. Last year I wrote about five sustainable brands found at Shopbop, one of them being Cleobella. I revisited this brand recently and figured it was worth highlighting them again!
So it’s been about a week and a half since my favorite event on the face of the planet: Lucidity Festival. For those just tuning in now, I am inspired so much by all of the independent apparel vendors at conscious festivals, especially this one! Since I started this blog writing about denim, it can be a difficult transition to mix a lot of these styles into my blog (although I’ll write about any of them that truly fit my style, as there are truly tons of great ones out there), but sometimes I find gems…handmade and sustainable brands that also use denim! One of these small businesses is one I saw last year at Lucidity and I was happy to see return to this year’s is Kinetic Couture.
When I look back at the Oregon Eclipse festival my husband and I attended last year, I not only think about how incredible that life-changing cosmic spectacle was…but also all of the amazing apparel vendors I discovered. I know I had mentioned I’d cover them all, but I haven’t even gotten close. I did highlight my favorites though! Eternal Mode, Symbolika, SoulCrafts and Psylo were four I hadn’t seen before that stood out to me, and it’s been fun watching these independent brands grow and come out with new designs. I am such a huge fan of earthy, boho, festival style that looks like it belongs in the desert or forest rather than bouncing around with my squad at Coachella (not that there’s anything wrong with that), because of the intricate and one of a kind creativity, attention to detail, and the importance placed on earth-friendly fabrics and processes. Plus, I always love supporting the little guys. I figured I’d revisit a favorite…I’m once again drooling at several new nomadic street style looks from Psylo!
I’m so happy to see the huge strides being made for sustainability in the denim market! Awareness is growing, both with consumers and brands themselves, about how important it is to reduce the toxicity and wastefulness that is inherent in garment manufacturing. Denim is a nasty process, from the pesticides used in the cotton to the toxic chemicals and water wasted in the wash process that makes those pretty fades we love when we shop for the perfect pair of jeans. G-Star RAW has been one of the leaders in the industry. They’ve worked with Pharrell Williams a few years ago to convert plastic floating around in our oceans to beautiful apparel, created a documentary with i-D illustrating the impact of plastics consumption on our oceans, and created a collection of jeans using only natural dyes. Continuing to plough forward full steam ahead, the brand has now unveiled a collection featuring their most sustainable jeans ever.
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.”