eco gift guide: 11 perfect cold weather essentials for him + her

you know what to expect here at eco voyage: kind finds for all the kind souls in your life. kind finds are gifts made with respect to farmers + factory workers; made with respect to the earth and its delicate ecosystems; and made with respect to animals. this season, find top ethical fashion pieces, perfect presents for him, her and you, all sustainably produced, made of organic and innovative eco textiles, and always cruelty-free:

embassy of brick and logs

1/ embassy of brick and logs: the coat embassy has eco coats for every season. wait, the puffier the better, you say? check out their puffer coats, free of down, full of cool. another fab animal-friendly and earth-friendly brand making perfect parkas is wuxly. one more transparent company making eco outerwear is hoodlamb. these brands are all fur free, feather free + leather free, so you + the all the furry critters of the world can be free.

jan n june

2/ jan n june: the beanie every year i lose something, a beanie or a glove, no matter how hard i try not to, no matter how vigilant i may be. jan n june has these toasty little fellas for your head. i personally love gray, but if monochromatic makes you sleepy, wuxly also has some dynamite choices for a punch of color.

mara hoffman

3/ mara hoffman: the two piece mademoiselle hoffman knows how to design fun. add a splash of eco + a dash of color to your wardrobe with some sophisticated separates or playful frocks.

reformation

4/ reformation: the trousers this brand is in the running to win the eco sexy award for gals who like a high-waisted jean, vintage-inspired trousers or swingy little dresses that flatter and move. get your velvet on for the holidays here.

people tree + armed angels

5/ armed angels: the sweater pullovers, well, i am a summer girl through and through, but come wintertime, it's time to bundle. there are ways to do so in style! the pioneers of responsible fashion manufacturing bring us warm, cozy jumpers with style. the rad fair fashion brand people tree offers everything to keep you comfy on chilly days from head to toe including orhanic cotton, knit jumpers. people tree + armed angels are renowned in the ethical fashion industry as one captains of the eco ship.

hfs collective

6/ hfs collective: the belt bag do you bum bag? as a gal who has never really followed trends, i have not been especially drawn to these seemingly wonderful little life organizers, but lately the fanny force has been strong. can you imagine having your hands free to do as you wish? someone strap a belt bag on me, stat.

swedish stockings

7/ swedish stocking: the hosiery i do a fishnet stocking love. now, give a girl a stocking made out of recycled textiles, in a sun-powered facility, with zero-waste production, and it’s a match made in eco heaven.

signe

8/ signe: the turtleneck i discovered turtlenecks at a young age, and i’ve never looked back since. i’m not sure why these high-necked tops make me so happy, but you’ll find the soft organic cotton so cozy. baserange also carries a diaphanous version for your holiday soirees or a ribbed version here.

nae

9/ nae: the boots gold boots, black boots, chunky boots, however you take your kicks, nae has got you covered for the holiday with vegan variety galore. also on tap with cool picks are beyond skin and bourgeois boheme with something for the punk in your circle and something for the sophisticate too. i wear my editor boots from bhava pretty much day + night, but if you’re like dolly parton who has a wig for every day of the year, and you crave just a lil variety in your life, you might want to switch out your kicks with this winter flair from bhava. you’ve got plenty of choices, boys+ girls!

hoodlamb

10/ hoodlamb: the scarf it’s a cold, cold world. dear fair fashion brands: i’ll take all your soft, cozy hemp + organic cotton scarves! jan n june also has an extra big, blanket-like scarf for those of you seeking a lenny kravitz moment.

soko + saya

11/ saya: the hair accessory what’s a boy or girl to do when the goal is to unearth something truly unique, something that can’t be found just anywhere? how about hand crafted baubles from my favorite shiny treasure maker soko: the artisan jeweler or a singular hand carved hair pin from reclaimed wood that is both one of a kind + quite utilitarian from saya. gift them or wear them when you’re feeling like reaching for a little handmade magic. made with pride + made with love.

don’t forget the tip: remember boys + girls, if you don’t need it, don’t buy it. and with the holiday season upon us, think of gifting experiences like tickets to movies, museums or plays or fun outings! and if you’re up for a fun treasure hunt, peek into you nearest vintage shop or secondhand shop for preloved goodness and recycled fashion that can look just as spectacular as what you might find in big box shops! if you’re going to shop, shop small!

until next time, stay green dear hearts!

eco brand: kindom, recyled fashion never looked so good

kindom.jpg

there's an expression i like to use + i use it often: "until kingdom come" - i use it when i know there will be a long wait for something - like my favorite vegan chocolate bar to be restocked or when i'm rushing to meet a friend, but the dryer at the laverie is in super slow mo and won't release my favorite trousers from its jaws. i was happy to discover the eco brand kindom this summer because this is exactly the kind of ethical label that i love to wear. 

i'd been searching for a fresh summer dress for my capsule wardrobe, something easy, something singular with a little urban edge: i had to laugh when i found this sustainable frock as it occurred to me that "kindom" has finally come, and the wait is over {yes, you know i love a clever play on words}.  

here is a transparent slow fashion label that produces apparel with respect to the environment + its workers and seeks to create employment opportunities for indigenous people to preserve ancient traditions of handicraft as well. how does one fashion brand make this happen? by producing a perfectly willowy column dress for the minimalists of the world; a demure, celestial dress adorned with planets and stars for moon-gazers like me; and boho graphic tees for girls with sustainability + style on the mind. 

let's start with the ingredients: sometimes we want a simple garment to do all the work for us, especially on a hot summer day or a sultry night. light, breathable fibers do a happy eco girl make. kindom uses organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, and tencel to craft their designs. they also use discarded stock inventory that would otherwise end up in a landfill. 

the designs are made with active girls in mind, with comfort clearly a priority. i've strolled the streets of chicago in this fun, cosmic dress; i've investigated new york city's vegan scene in it; and i've explored paris farmers markets while wearing this easy, breezy number and it's quite chameleonic - fitting into any milieu with its modern cut + an unexpected print. 

this frock is the kind of design that people stop + ask me about. it's with feverish excitement that i share fashion notes: this dress was made by happy hands from recycled textiles!

those of you that know me here at eco voyage or follow me on instagram know that i like my looks to be fuss-free, but i do love a plucky piece with personality, and a design with a little something special is always welcome in my closet. as i hop from daytime outings to evening soirees, i always look for pieces that can keep up + wear well. 

i'll be easing out of summer and into cool-weather months by wearing this dress over a black turtleneck and pairing it with my faux leather moto jacket + vegan booties, because this is one piece that will see many wears on this green gal's slow fashion journey.

check out kindom and their newest line of brilliant bags hand dyed by artisans and hand-embroidered by the t'boli tribal people. this is the future of fashion, boys + girls.

this post was written in collaboration with kindom. all views are honest + my own. 

eco brands: 7 ethical labels offer the perfect white tee

tees_IMG_20180610_204901779_2v1.jpg

previously, we explored the world of statement tees, for those who do care, and yes, there are many that believe what we wear does reflect our values of love and compassion. today, we meet the quiet, quintessential wardrobe staple, the little white tee: think of her as the statement tee's shy, self-assured little sis.

the plain white tee is a modest, versatile piece that has been worn by our favorite impassioned artists, activists, musicians and literary figures throughout history. the perfect blank canvas, the white tee is a closet staple that allows us to create daily ensembles that mirror our moods + allow our inner selves to shine out. my inner artist revels at the endless possibilities of constructing a visual that reflects and translates my personality to the world.

my favorite author truman capote, who penned breakfast at tiffany's, wore them. james dean and marlon brando famously wore them. and the inimitable fashion icon + humanitarian audrey hepburn wore them. whether you choose to pair your breezy tee with a well-worn pair of jeans, high-waisted culottes, relaxed shorts or your best secondhand skirts, it's a low-key yet highly functional addition to any wardrobe.

here are seven brands bringing us the best in eco cool white tees, made with love under fair trade standards + made with organic cotton:

1. amour vert

a sustainable fashion brand in sunny california that makes classic staples from organic textiles. casual t-shirts and feminine tanks + camisoles in multitasking colors. the perfect ballet tee with scoop back. 

2. by signe

a danish fashion label making sustainable + feminine easywear. scandinavian minimalistic womenswear made from organic fabrics. the perfect fitted tee with round neck line.

3. de smet

from the heart of new york city, a slow fashion brand defining relaxed refinement and placing the utmost importance on longevity in construction and silhouette. an update to the basic t-shirt, designs are made to order + handcrafted with upmost care. the perfect mock neck tee.

4. freeset

handmade by survivors of sex trafficking in west begnal, india, freeset provides stable, dignified employment, as well as access to healthcare, literacy education, and other key social services –transforming lives, families, and communities. the perfect boxy boyfriend tee that every girl needs in her closet. 

5. groceries apparel

eco-friendly california-based fashion apparel brand. sexy, casual + comfortable tees made with organic fabrics and non-toxic dyes. the perfect deep v, flax linen tee. 

6. know the origin

fairtrade and organic ethical fashion brand from the u.k. offering full transparency. committed to a 100% transparent production process. the perfect crop pocket tee. 

7. wildlife works

fair trade organic cotton fashion made by a kenyan eco factory which employs local workers who now have a sustainable means to live without poaching. the perfect boxy, oversized tee. 

people tree*

*bonus: people tree is the mother of all ethical + environmentally sustainable fashion brands, established in 1991, and based out of london and tokyo. the fair trade fashion pioneer and online garment retailer constructs clothes from environmentally-friendly materials including organic cotton. the perfect daily essential tee. 

the little white tee allows us to shape a personal exhibition of our inner selves via our sartorial choices; sometimes it's a bit modern and sleek, a little bit cubist; other times it's our inner rebel that shines through, a little dadaesque; and still sometimes we choose a more traditional path to our daily ensembles: a little realism for our daily encounters + tasks. looking for the perfect graphic tees? statement tees right this way!


eco mode: top by de smet / vintage pants from depaul thrift shop / shoes secondhand / vintage straw purse from chicago beehive / artisan jewelry from soko

eco brand: cossac, the transeasonal pieces every girl needs

DSC_0975v2.jpg

some of us watched the 80's dance-romance movie flashdance, starring jennifer beals as alex owens, with eyes wide open and thought: with those moves, of course she belongs in the dance repertory! others thought that is the perfect mane of corkscrew curls, hair hardly afflicted by the realities of a heavy welding helmet. sometimes big dreams and big hair go hand in hand! still others admired her sexy, borrowed-from-the-boys sartorial ensembles: those off-the-shoulder, slouchy tees + sweatshirts were casually cool. if you were me, you marveled at all of the above. 

i'm sure if alex owens came to life today, she'd be wearing u.k. based sustainable fashion label cossac, a fair fashion brand offering redefined basics, sporty oversized joggers + sweatshirts,  slip dresses and feminine bodysuits at affordable prices. she'd ignore those snarky looks from the prima ballerinas and remind us to buy less, and buy better because quality does matter. then she'd breakdance right down the road. well, that's my version, at least! 

the clothes i reach for each morning are the clothes i can dance in which are the same clothes i can work in. my favorite closet staple is always a cozy, crop top that moves fluidly from one outfit to another and from one season to the next: i like to mix my capsule wardrobe pieces together, swapping out my vintage culottes for a thrifted midi skirt and then for a pair of high-waisted jeans: all with one deliciously dexterous top. cossac is a go-to eco brand for sassy gals who like ease in their clothes + stylish options that take them from day to play.

Sustainably designed and ethically produced, each quality garment is intended to be transeasonal, with the aim of minimising wastefulness and maximising usefulness.

on warm summer days in paris, there's usually a little rain that leaves the air feeling clean and fresh. on these particular days, the mornings start out with just a touch of cool mist, and on these days i like to layer a light pullover on top of a tee, like this polished white version from cossac. the classic cuts from cossac provide a modern + hip alternative to fast fashion brands as each garment is made to last and every design is constructed with high quality, earth friendly fabrics including organic cotton and tencel.

the founder + designer agatka kozak confesses that her infatuation with fashion led to a design career that took her from poland to spain for studies in fashion at esdi, then to istanbul to attend mimar sinan and eventually to london. kozak wanted to do things diffrently though, and she launched her own slow fashion brand in 2014, branding it as exactly what it is: eco-hot. you'll find sexy little dresses, on-trend jumpsuits and off-the-shoulder bodysuits, everything you need to build a sound capsule wardrobe. 

ethically produced, each piece adheres to kozak's mission of aesthetics with ethics, rejecting the tenets of fast fashion industry which produce cheap, low-quality and disposable items. kozak works exclusively with small factories who provide safe working milieus for production workers. check out cossac's eco designs, where you'll find the perfect pieces to flashdance in, work in, lounge in and pursue your passions in - welding helmet and legwarmers not included.


eco mode: top by cossac /  vintage pants thrifted / shoes secondhand from paris flea market

eco brand: wilo, passport to style

wilo vegan bag mc.jpg

bright idea, bold move

sitting across from marine chapon is a sensory experience, a little bit like sitting across from a woodland; you're captivated by the inherent beauty and you're simultaneously aware that there's so much more that lies beyond the surface. marine + i fell into a beautifully tangled dialogue about our mutual respect for animals, our passion for traveling to far-flung locales, and opting for vegan + ethically produced fashion that allows us to live a life according to our values. today we explore the world of wilo, a french unisex + vegan handbag line, from the fecund mind of marine chapon.

women's accessories have been called "an almighty force" in the annals of fashion; in many ways they allow us to go about the important business of living while keeping us pulled together. when we leave our homes each day, we organize a small, portable part of our lives into our bags and purses: keys, phones, notebooks, cameras, writing utensils, snacks and the mysterious items that have made their way to the bottom, cavernous parts of our purses. wilo brings us perfectly polished, animal-free designs, to help keep it all together. 

ambitious new directions

the fashion landscape is changing, and marine's bold + ambitious new direction takes us into the world of animal-friendly fashion, vying for a leather alternative + organic cotton to create sophisticated, eco-friendly options for the modern gal + guy. wilo is the new, cruelty-free + carbon neutral brand on the paris fashion scene giving us minimalist designs made with respect to the earth's ecosystems. at the heart of wilo's mission is allowing an ever-growing conscious culture of citizens + consumers to dress and travel in accordance with their beliefs of compassion. wilo can be included in the oeuvre of eco-friendly designers like stella mccartney whose fetching designs shatter myths, informing us that faux leather can be sculpted into sophisticated, long-lasting + durable products. 

animal welfare and respect for the workers manufacturing the products are an integral part of wilo's approach. visits to manufacturing plants have allowed marine + her business partner to meet the workers who construct each of the designs. the preparation of parcels is carried out by an association working with men + women in social reintegration. 

wilo I.jpg

seeds of change

marine is a brilliant photographer, a clever business woman + a talented designer: having worked in the luxury fashion industry, she understands the appeal of a poetic piece, a piece so beautifully crafted that it almost sings to you. beyond the ballads of her beguiling designs, marine has paid careful attention to every step of production via her company's ecological footprint, both in the choice of materials, the manufacture of products and the distribution channel.

your purchase will arrive in recycled packaging, and recycled paper tags are embedded with flower seeds so that they may be planted. the handbags are pvc-free; marine hopes to expand the use of plant-based textiles, as an advocate of the democratization of ecological and plant-strong synthetic materials. she shares, "we have set up a carbon accounting + emission compensation system linked to our activity, taking into account the complete life cycle of our products, from the extraction of materials necessary for manufacture, to their end of life, in order to present carbon neutral balance from our creation."

a songbird among handbags, take a peek at wilo's new designs here.

the way forward

{don't forget the tip} leather is not a mere bi-product of the meat industry; today, cows are farmed to fuel the leather industry to keep up with consumer demand for coats, handbags + shoes. lucy siegle, author of to die for, reminds consumers, "every time you make a purchasing decision, you're also making a production decision. nearly half of the global leather trade is carried out in developing countries – from ethiopia to cambodia and vietnam – where, despite a backdrop of exploitation of animals and humans and the extraordinary level of pollution caused by unregulated tanneries and processors, the pressure is on to produce more. this shouldn’t just perturb vegans, but anyone with a passing regard for the planet. we know that raising livestock in increasing numbers is unsustainable, purely from crunching the numbers around greenhouse gas emissions. but in 2009 a seminal greenpeace report, slaughtering the amazon, made a direct connection between leather and the environment. researchers used satellite imagery to show how the brazilian cattle industry (with around 200m head of cattle) was responsible for 14% of the world’s annual deforestation. moreover, associate products, including leather and tallow made in deforested rainforest, were finding their way into the supply chain of major brands." explore the many charming, vegan options available here.

images by marine chapon