ethical fashion: good on you, the slow fashion app

when i was studying at the school of the art institute of chicago, i learned not to lionize or demonize any one brand or company. i learned that what we don't want as a society + as consumers is to have profitable or successful brands fail, but rather, we want them to continue to exist as a sustainable entity, as an ethical business, as a socially responsible organization.

as consumers, we want transparency, we don't want to be greenwashed; we want companies to continue to create unique + utilitarian goods, always with the health of the planet + the health of workers in mind.

when a family member in the u.s.a. recently asked me how to find out whether a brand or label is sustainable + ethically produced, i recommended good on you app. i've been waiting for an app like this to come along. this is a free + easy-to-use app for those seeking to vote with their dollars and invest in companies that are producing wares with respect to its workers, to our ecosystem, and to animals. this is good on you:

currently the app is available in america + australia. how the app works:

1/ you can check how a brand rates {currently there are over 1,000 brands listed from fast fashion labels to slow fashion brands}. not sure where to start? search by category {gloves, hats, etc.}

2/ if there's a brand you love {for example, j.crew or madewell} and you'd like to search for an ethical alternative, you can find options with the tap of a finger with the "similar brand" button

3/ the app has built in a correspondence feature which allows you to communicate to brands that you'd like to see change, to ask a question or to offer positive feedback

4/ there's also a blog with great round-up posts sharing helpful information about the eco brands listed on the app

the rating system works like this:

if you're seeking guidance on your journey to conscious consumerism, this a good place to start. craving more great green apps? check out this list of 5 sustainable living apps by sam at fair + fierce.

until next time, stay green dear hearts!


{eco boutique} uncommon goods: the new way to gift

to date, i have stood up in exactly twelve weddings. think four weddings + a funeral, only, multiply by three and subtract one funeral. and yes, i'm both hugh grant + charlotte  coleman here.

this means exactly what you think: 12 bridesmaid dresses, 12 fabulous ceremonies, and shopping for twelve tokens of my love {aka gifts} for the happy couples, and eventually, it means gifts for the wee ones as well.

over the last four years, while writing for finny + dill, i've been searching for gifts that mirror my values, gifts that are made with environmentally-friendly materials + are made by individuals or companies with opaque supply chains. and of course we all want gifts that shine.

where do we find the kind of toys that tickle a baby's brain, promote language skills + keep her universe free from harmful chemicals, like lead-based paint + bpa plastics that have plagued the toy industry? today we're taking a peek into the world of uncommon goods, an online eco boutique based out of brooklyn, offering imaginative, handmade gifts + old fashioned toys for the little dumplings in your life, including meal time essentials, books + apparel to keep you + your sweet potatoes engaged, safe + healthy.

here comes the bride: 

i admit i've been a bit adrift in the world of gift giving when it comes to weddings + the little ones. i've been turning over stones looking for special gifts for the holy union as well as ethical children's gifts that are made with natural materials + are just plain cute. ask, and ye shall receive. uncommon goods, i discovered, has stylish, sustainable wedding gifts + the perfect eco presents for the babies + toddlers, too.

at one point in four weddings, charles, hugh's character, walks into a luxury boutique + inquires about the gift registry. he's directed to a bevvy of impractical + costly options including a life-sized pygmy sculpture. none of my friends have made any such appeals for frivolity, which leaves room for a universe of functional, yet fashionable gifts.

with wedding season upon us +  baby buns baking away, here's a place where you can find memorable, personalized gifts for the starry-eyed couple {yes to the sea of love artwork + sleek, wooden wine glasses} by object makers around the globe.

be kind, rewind:

let's rewind to 1999: founder dave bolotsky had a bright idea; he wanted to pull up gift giving by the roots by creating an online marketplace to connect makers from every corner of the country with individuals looking for beautiful design + unique gifts. remember what year this was, friends. this was a mighty lofty goal.

dave inaugurated this tiny enterprise from his apartment; the company grew, weathering the storm of economic uncertainty, taking a few steps back + some giant leaps forward. today it is a successful business employing 100+ workers in new york + artisans across the world, offering fair wages + a positive working environment {and the opportunity for makers to do what they love + for buyers like me to snag their wares}.

let's talk toys: 

vetting the market for items made with love by sewers, knitters, painters, woodworkers, metal smiths and myriad other artists + crafters, ug has gathered

a collection of perfect gifts for the lil peanuts in your life

including plush toys made with organic textiles + wooden toys colored with natural dyes.

there's been quite an evolution in the world of baby toys, from simple wooden building blocks to electronic items that light up like times square + erupt in robotic jangling. while we want toys to provide hours of entertainment + to positively impact development, we also want toys that are made with organic + natural materials.

i was happy to find handcrafted toys that i imagine even geppetto would admire {behold the world's cutest booties + the coolest selection of building blocks: there are 118 elements on the periodic table; i know this because of ug's novel baby blocks for little nuggets + not because of my phenomenal memory for all things chemistry}.

more good news:

with every purchase you make at uncommon goods, customers have the option to donate $1 to a nonprofit at checkout via their better to give program {to date, ug has donated over $1,000,000}. giving gifts + giving back is easy as pie at this online market.

wedding season + stork delivery? you know what to do.

until next time, stay green dear hearts!

{this is collaborative post sponsored by the good folks at uncommon goods //

images c/o uncommon goods // artwork by ev} 

{fashion revolution} take action: ask "who made my clothes?"

today marks the beginning of fashion revolution week, which brings people together from all over the world to use the power of fashion to change the story for the 75 million garment workers who toil in the apparel industry every day in perilous + unsafe working conditions

Fashion revolution is a movement towards transparency, ethics and sustainability in the world of fast fashion.

fashion revolution seeks to inspire people to think differently about the clothes they buy + wear. they ask citizens + consumers to explore the cause + effect relationship between our purchasing habits and the lives of those who make our clothes. fashion revolution encourages each of us to use our money and our voices to transform the fashion industry into a force for good. 

today we commemorate the 1,134 workers who lost their lives when a garment factory in bangladesh collapsed. thousands more were injured. nervous workers had stepped out on this day after cracks in the building were detected, but were ordered back into the building by management. why? for the production of low cost clothing.

here's what you can do to become a part of the solution

put your activism pants on + let the world know you will be a voice for those who cannot speak. here are six simple steps:

1. take a pic

take a picture of yourself wearing one of your favorite items of clothing turned inside out, with the label in full view. hop on social media and post the pic asking fashion labels "who made my clothes?"

2. abstain

an important way to contribute involves what not to do. over consumption feeds the demand for apparel manufacture, with shoe + clothing companies racing to meet customer demand and forcing factory workers to labor for long hours in dangerous conditions to meet production deadlines. so this, my friends, is the moment to embrace quality over quantity. shop less + shop your own closet.

3. act

beyond conscious consumerism, learn how to engage decision makers by calling representatives and sending emails to government officials. this provocative + clear-eyed article by alden wicker of eco cult urges us to take immediate action in the political sphere + to become active citizens in the campaign towards policy + legislative change. 

become more politically involved by thinking beyond ethical purchases.

4. ask

one of my fave eco heroes + clean fashion advocates is kate black. kate has a column on her blog magnifeco "ask kate" in which you can send questions about the world of sustainable style + ethical fashion. she provides honest + practical advice for compassionate living.

5. read

the most seminal book i've read since embarking on this sustainable living + ethical fashion journey is to die for: is fashion wearing out the world? by journalist, environmentalist + slow fashion activist lucy siegle. each chapter changed the way i think about my consumer habits and how i choose to spend my money, time + energy. knowledge is the start to making thoughtful decisions as an active citizen.

6. research

remember to look for fair trade labels to ensure decent working conditions + fair terms of trade for farmers and workers. if you can't find a label, be sure to ask a manager or customer service representative. when you walk into a restaurant, you are able to ask about the ingredients in your menu offering. in the same way, you should be able to walk into a shop {or browse online} and find out more about the clothes you may invest your money in. if a retailer doesn't respond to my email inquiries, then i shop at those companies where transparency is a part of their mission.

learn more about the families + brave survivors of the rana plaza disaster. financial donations to fashion revolution can be made here to continue the work of disseminating information + spreading awareness.

{artwork by ev / image via fashion revolution}