It can be pretty hard to search out eco friendly apparel brands out there in the sea of fast fashion retailers, but it’s finally beginning to get easier. More and more well established brands, whether they have already staked their claim in the premium denim market or not, are realizing the importance of sustainability and environmentally friendly practices as awareness slowly but surely grows. Everlane is one brand I’ve had my eyes on for awhile, as a brand that provides modern, classic and mature wardrobe staples. Denim has never been part of their lineup, as denim is usually a very dirty industry. Creating those beautiful washes we love uses a lot of water, and often releases dangerous toxins into the environment. However, Everlane stayed true to their values and finally found a way to add a denim shop to their expansive collection of apparel for both women and men.
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.
OK guys, I’m back from vacation! As I’m sure you all know, we all often need a vacation from our vacation as it’s kind of tough to pick up the pace again after such a relaxing and memorable time, but the daily grind calls again as usual…as well as this poor blog I’ve been neglecting as other obligations took over and my much needed break finally arrived. For those who missed my last post, I was out for about two weeks on a trip up to Oregon for the week-long Global Eclipse Gathering to see the full solar eclipse, which was nothing short of spectacular! At the festival, I collected a ton of business cards for ethical and independent, handmade brands to feature here but it’s going to take me some time to sort through them all and gather material for a post. So, in the spirit of festival fashion I figured I would start things back up with one of the brands I am always so happy to feature, the Canadian-based Nomads Hemp Wear and their beautiful new Fall/Winter collection for 2017!
As time goes on in this journey of mine through sustainable, ethical, eco-friendly and cruelty-free style, I continue to grow impressed with the high quality variety of vegan options out there. I’m not vegan myself, although I do opt for vegan or vegetarian alternatives often when it comes to sustenance. Usually I prefer leather in the form of bags and shoes, usually because this material is known for its durability and ability to improve with age. However, I’ve been enlightened on multiple occasions with several brands! Angela Roi is one of them—they a luxury handbag brand that caught my eye almost two years ago, with their beautiful collection of bags made from vegan leather (EPUL, or Exquisite Polyurethane Leather). The second thing that kept my attention was the fact that each bag came in a color that corresponded to a certain charity, which a portion of that bag’s proceeds. The cherry on top is sweatshop-free manufacturing with fair wages as well as support for skilled artisans, who craft these beautiful bags. They are all set at a great price point too! Read my post from October 2015 on Angela Roi here!
Today, the brand still thrives and has released several new bags and wallets with the same gorgeous modern flare as the ones that came before them. All bags support humane animal shelters that help our furry friends with rehabilitation, food supplies and medical care. Angela Roi bags are made with quality fabrics and durable thread, and feature gold hardware, magnetic snap buttons, and durable zipper closures. The EPUL is even processed multiple times to attain a special smooth texture! In addition, they offer free returns and exchanges on all orders. Their latest release is the super cute Sunday Mini below, and like all other bags, it comes in an awesome variety of colors toned down enough to work with any outfit or occasion (and you know me, I’m not all about those bright shades). I still haven’t had the opportunity to check out one of these bags in person, but they’ve been on my radar long enough, and have received so much positive press…I may just have to cave at some point…starting with that Mini!
“At Angela Roi, the belief is that the goodness of people has the calibre to alter the world for the better. In addition to the grandeur of luxury, we hope to pave a path of altruism. With passion, creativity and innovation it is not only possible to progress as a brand but promisingly make our planet a kinder place.”
“Nothing breaks a warm loving heart like seeing a mistreated puppy. Love for animals may have been the spark for this venture but it definitely did not stop there. From humans to animals, we believe a happy planet is where everyone is safe and jubilant.”
“We believe in constant evolution. We believe in improving unceasingly, from the quality of our products to the wellness of our world. We believe that by nourishing the world we nurture ourselves.”
“We proudly stand against animal cruelty and do our best to support mistreated animals with our donations to local shelters. In the quest of making the world a kinder place for animals, we will continue supporting humane shelters which help animals with rehabilitation, emergency care and food supplies. We will keep working to convey that fashion doesn’t depend on cruelty.”
“We pay special attention to the fair practice setting. We strive for a great work environment and fair wage. We firmly stand against child labor. To ensure all of these criteria are met at the factories, our correspondents visit them quarterly to inspect the conditions. We aim to create a different kind luxury.”
As someone who basically prefers shopping for leather bags or shoes for their durability and ability to age beautifully, I rarely ever considered any vegan alternatives. Of course, as a young college student, I shopped for the cheapest items I could find…and eventually learned the true cost of that as pieces gradually fell apart! Now, I understand the value of investments, but I’ve also learned something else over the last few years: that leather doesn’t always have to be the only guarantee for a quality product. I’ve been impressed with such brands as BLANKNYC, American Eagle Outfitters, Matt & Nat and MeDusa for their incredibly sturdy vegan leather items, and although I am no vegan, and still love my hard-earned leather pieces at home (and still treat myself now and then), I’ve gradually moved towards more vegan products with a much more open mind. When I find one of true quality, I share it here with all of you! I’m giving MeDusa a revisit for this post, after I first wrote about them in 2015 (see that post here), as I’m so happy to see they’ve expanded their amazing product line with some brand new totes and backpacks!
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.
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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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!
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!
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.