eco fashion: ethical basics, briefs + bloomers

Nature thrives when there is balance in what we consume and contribute.
— Founders of Liass

even the birds + the bees wear ‘em! actually, it’s the boys + the girls that are wearing them. well most of us do, and if you’re looking for a pair of eco, ethically-produced + vegan underwear, consider yourself covered. get it?

here we have ten fab sustainable lingerie + underwear labels offering sweet, stylish + sexy choices: with fabrics chosen based on their environmental footprint, durability + longevity. each eco company has vetted and chosen factories that ensure their workplace is free of child labor + forced labor, their workers are in a safe working space, and each worker is paid a living wage.

why should you choose organic cotton and textiles? cotton is a pesticide laden crop. “approximately $2 billion worth of chemicals are sprayed on cotton crops worldwide every year, half of which are designated toxic by the world heath organization.” with these finished fabrics placed directly next to our most sensitive body parts + directly on our skin {the body’s largest organ}, our bodies absorb these chemicals. there are lots of good reasons to choose organic. and ladies looking for safe hygiene products, this one’s for you.

check out the bottom of this post for more information about why it’s important to create a greener, cleaner wardrobe that keeps you and your loved ones, farmers and the garment workers safe and healthy.

alright frisky friends, check out your new favorite basics!

1. amaella lingerie // uk

from co-founders lara + julie: amaella is made by people we know and care about using the finest quality gots organic cotton and free from toxic chemicals. at amaella, we are about carefully crafting timeless classics that you will love for ever. we are proud to be running a social enterprise with the mission of encouraging ethical practices in the fashion industry by making our clothes using sustainable and ethical sources. we want to bring some patience into our impatient world – a world in which customers see clothes as disposable.

materials: organic cotton // designed in the u.k., made in the u.k. + portugal

2. baserange // denmark + france

from co-founders marie-louise + blandine: founded in 2012, baserange is a line of modern basics with an emphasis on clean lines and easy silhouettes. the company utilizes both natural fibers and recycled content. baserange believes that a commitment to clean production will minimize environmental impact and benefit both the producer and the user.

materials: bamboo + organic cotton // designed in toulouse + copenhagen, made in porto + odemis

3. liass // new york

from founder emelie: growing up in scandinavia, nature, and sustainability has always been close to home. it’s important for us to create with nature and our future in mind. we strive to leave as little impact on nature as possible and encourage our customers to do the same. we have thoughtfully sourced our fabrics from u.s.-based suppliers with similar values to our own.

materials: organic cotton, soy fibers derived froom production waste {made from soybean hulls} + recycled polyester // designed in nyc, made in new york in a women-owned factory

4. olly lingerie // france

from co-founders clémentine + mathilde: an eco-conscious underwear line inspired by a simplified and mindful every day. we imagined the lingerie of our dreams: pretty, comfortable and above all, eco-responsible. at olly, we are convinced that every woman has the right to wear lingerie that takes care of her body. olly uses gots certified organic cotton and nontoxic oeko-tex certified dyes.

materials: organic cotton // designed in france, made in hungary

5. people tree // uk

from founder safia: a pioneer in sustainable fair trade fashion, our story started in 1991. we launched our first fashion range to meet the global organic textile standard certified by the soil association and were the first fashion company to be awarded the world fair trade organisation product label. these certifications guarantee people tree’s dedication and compliance to the principles of fair trade, covering fair wages, good working conditions, transparency, environmental best practice and gender equality. {editors’s note: be sure to read safia minney’s slow fashion books slave to fashion + naked fashion}

materials: organic cotton // designed + made in the u.k.

6. pico // uk

from founders phoebe + isobel: pico produces essential, everyday goods, which can be traced right back to the source. we began with the first things to be put on in the morning - super soft and simple, everyday underwear. we work directly with a small fairtrade factory in southern india, using organic cotton sourced from fairtrade farmers’ cooperatives. underwear for men & women.

materials: organic cotton // designed in the u.k., made in india

7. underprotection // denmark

from stephan + sunniva: we love women, all kinds, all sizes and our goal is to make you feel as beautiful and comfortable as possible. We use sustainable materials and support fair working conditions as fair wage is a human right. we have set out to challenge the conception of what sustainable fashion can be, and each season we will prove to you that it really can be everything we wish for! We want to make a difference by giving our customers the possibility to combine ethics and aesthetics when shopping.

materials: banana leaf fiber, recycled polyester, lyocell and organic cotton // designed in denmark, made in india

8. organic basics // denmark

from alexander, mads f.r., cristoffer, mads h.r.: our number one rule for making clothes is to design everything to last. that means investing in quality fabrics and workmanship - but it also means designing with simplicity and function in mind. we only work with trusted, certified factory partners - these are the good guys. they have the same sustainable vision as us - and follow it through by continuously reducing their environmental footprint. underwear for men + women.

materials: organic cotton, recycled nylon + silvertech // designed in denmark, made in turkey, portugal, austria + italy

9. woron // denmark

from sustainable sister duo arina + anya: vegan underwear and fashion favorites that will stay in your wardrobe season after season. our aim is to create the lingerie pieces that will be the first thing you want to put on and the last thing you take off! it is comfort without sacrificing feminine shaping, fashion or style - and style without sacrificing sustainability. we are very passionate about our work and it is very important for us to feel good about every step we take. we are sustainably conscious from the crafting, to the handling of each product and finally to the timeless design that can stay in your wardrobe season after season - year after year.

materials: organic cotton + modal // designed in copenhagen, produced in hungary

10. pansy // california

from laura + rachel: pansy is an organic cotton underwear company. born from a need for comfy dreamy ethical undies, their organic cotton is grown and milled domestically and their underwear are designed and sewn locally. our products are made entirely of organically grown natural fibers and sewn in california without a sweatshop in sight. they are dyed without the use of toxins and made with lots and lots of love.

materials: organic cotton // designed + made in the usa


wear fair, wear organic

{don’t forget the tip} “farmers’ exposure to herbicides, fertilizers, pesticides, and growth regulators have caused occupational illnesses and pesticide poisonings that amount to 3 million cases per year, resulting in twenty thousand poisoning deaths. not only to the workers and the farmers directly exposed to these chemicals suffer, but the land also accumulates these toxins.

“the result is soil toxicity, which makes growing crops harder and releases chemical run-off into our waterways. in addition, the textile industry affects the quality of the soil, as farmers try to keep up with demand and plant the same crop season after season, depleting biodiversity and natural crop rotation integral to soil health.”* land is a precious resource that we, as citizens, need to protect.

our demand for more goods equals a greater strain on our earth, depleting a precious resource and poisoning both water + air. remember, eco boys + girls, our everyday choices, decisions + buying habits have lasting effects. if you don’t need it, don’t buy it. and if you’re ready to buy, buy clean, green options like those listed here today.

looking for more options? here are two great eco roundups from my green closet + curiously conscious.

until next time, stay green dear hearts!

eco round up: white hot, ethical style

fashion revolution week is upon us, and today, i’ve compiled eight ethereal pieces in ivory + pale hues. creamy delights for all of you sustainable style lovers. i’ve used pics from my summer trips through the south of france as the romantic backdrop, so you can travel through marseilles + frolic in the mediterranean sea while perusing delicious ethical brands. check out wednesday’s post in which i’ve shared seven simple steps to join the fashion revolution for citizens + activists interested in protecting planet earth + all of its inhabitants.

1/ mara hoffman organic cotton dress, local eclectic shell earrings, indego africa straw bag, nae vegan slingbacks

2/ sezane open back dress made in bulgaria

3/ harley jae linen top + skirt and top handmade in canada

4/ tribe alive organic linen romper handmade in india

5/ all the wild roses boho dress handmade from remnant cotton in vietnam

6/ maison de mode billowing skirt handmade in ghana

7/ reformation tencel scoop neck dress made in los angeles

8/ by the sea organic cotton seaside dress handmade in india

{don't forget the tip} conventional products + clothing carry toxins that are absorbed through our skin and can negatively impact our health + the health of the workers producing the goods {the chemicals in coloring dyes, scouring agents + industrial detergents have been linked to skin rashes, hormone disruption + cancer}. choose sustainable apparel from responsible fashion labels whenever possible, and ask your favorite retailers whether their apparel is made using natural, non-toxic textiles + dyes.

remember eco boys + girls, ethical fashion is about voting with your dollars as a conscious citizen + consumer. only shop when you need to, and shop your closet first. oh, and if you’re feeling adventurous, pop into a vintage shop or thrift shop. there are always treasures to be found!

images via eco, ethical co’s

ethical fashion: join the fashion revolution

who made my clothes 2.jpg

remembering rana plaza

today we commemorate the 1,134 garment workers who lost their lives on april 24, 2013 when the rana plaza factory in bangladesh collapsed. thousands more were maimed + injured. nervous workers had stepped out on this day after cracks in the building were detected, but they were ordered back into the building by management despite structural neglect of the building + safety hazards. why? for the production of low cost clothing: to meet the demand for fast fashion.

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

today, workers still toil long hours in unsafe working conditions around the world to make clothes, shoes + accessories. put your activism pants on + let the world know you will be a voice for those who can’t be heard. here are six simple steps to join the fashion revolution:

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?" use hashtags #whomademyclothes #transparency #livingwage #fashionrevolution #peopleoverprofits

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. remember: loved clothes last. 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. fashion revolution encourages 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. to contact your government leaders in the u.s.a., simply enter your zip code here for state rep’s or here for state senators, then click on the “contact” page and write from your heart.

4. ask

one of my fave clean fashion advocates is livia firth. livia has an informative instagram account, and she + her staff answer questions about the world of sustainable living + ethical fashion to help you on your journey to greener, kinder living. to learn more, follow slave to fashion by safia minney, a pioneer in fair trade fashion + labor rights activist; labour behind the label, an organization that campaigns for workers’ rights in the clothing industry; and clean clothes campaign, a global alliance dedicated to improving working conditions + empowering garment factory workers.

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.

elizabeth cline is the author of overdressed: the shockingly high cost of cheap fashion. this is an engrossing + edifying read, and she just published her second book, the conscious closet, which you can pre-order now.

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.

7. watch

each year, i recommend the documentary true cost by director andrew morgan. this film is about “the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the fashion industry is having on our world.” this movie introduces the hearts + hands that stitch our clothes, and it will forever change the way you think about your purchases as a citizen.

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. your voice matters. policy makers + fast fashion companies must know that low wages, environmental degradation, unsafe working conditions + factory disasters are unacceptable in the work places where fast fashion companies offshore the manufacturing of their products. demand transparency + let your voice be heard.

{image via fashion revolution}

eco brand: studio kimaya, building a community

DSC_2240.jpg

sophie planet is an eco entrepreneur with an alacritous mind + a charming french accent, and she’s telling me about her steamy morning hike through the lush woods of auroville, located in south india. sophie has moved to this small village, where she lives between serenity beach + sadhana forest.

hers is an unconventional story: this is the story of sophie’s serendipitous journey to a life of wellness, balance + ethical entrepreneurship.

auroville is an experimental town + utopian village that provides a milieu for material and spiritual awakening. and this is where sophie planet has come to live, and where she has built her ethical apparel brand kimaya from seed to sustainable garment.

sophie is recounting her first trip to india, a city that spoke to her in gray. she recalls stepping into the blistering heat + conspicuous pollution. she remembers thinking she couldn’t live here, but 15 years later, life spilled sophie right into india.

DSC_2243.jpg
The universe put me [in India] to push me away from my comfort zone - I’m grateful for that. Life pushes you beyond your limits every time there is a challenge.

sophie shares her youthful wow moments before creating her own eco fashion label kimaya: working for luxury fashion label burberry, having financial security, early morning walks to work through the metropolis + sunbeams of paris. at this time she wasn’t traveling much, at the horizon of her life stood her lone office work building.

sophie knew from a young age that she wanted to be a fashion designer. she would go on to study english literature before attending fashion school in paris. soon, she was working alongside her designer cousin, growing her small fashion brand, a brand built from scratch.

eventually sophie went on to work for other fashion labels; these big machines offered a life of structure, but she had the irksome feeling that there was no human connection, the focus was on money. this thought seemed perennially perched on her shoulders.

It’s really important to be connected, to foster good relationships. I know the names of the children of each worker, where they go to holiday: it’s really a collaboration, a co-creation.

and then one fateful day, while helping a friend tend to her paris bookshop, she found herself surrounded by shelves plump with spiritual books + a solicitous client who highly recommended a masseuse. the masseuse highly recommended a trip to pondicherry, india. and before long, sophie was on a plane headed to the seaside city in india. there she stepped wittingly into an ashram to meditate, and this is where she had the distinct feeling that she was home. she traveled further south, and upon her arrival to auroville, she thought, “what do i have to do to live here?”

she then wondered, “why am i asking this question?” she was quite happy in paris. but on the flight home, she found herself crying. back in france, she soon understood the tear shed. while at reike, she learned that these were cleansing tears, tears allowing her to shed the old + welcome the new, “i had something to do. the reason was because i was saying goodbye to my old life and a new life was coming. change was coming.”

KIMAYA.jpg

it was like a bottle had washed up on the shore of sophie’s life, and inside was the answer to her own spiritual awakening. how do we listen to our intuition when it seems to be guiding us into the unknown, a new direction, yet speaking to us so clearly?

sophie tells her story easily, as if narrating the unfolding of her favorite rom-com. it makes me believe that we are all capable of sculpting our lives exactly as we imagine in the far recesses of our mind.

a determined sophie booked a return flight to india, “the idea was to see that i didn't feel the same way, but i felt exactly the same and it was even stronger, it was home. i had to follow my intuition because i have very strong intuition. my intent was not just to live but to enjoy the present moment.”

after making the decision to move her life to auroville, and taking time to settle in, she eventually knew it was the right time to start her own ethical fashion brand. “every step is important. i have met wonderful people who were the right people [to start this eco business]: the right weavers, the right pattern makers.”

It’ important to take pleasure and love what we are doing. Then everything flows. Gratitude changes the energy around you. You feel it in you and in the product.

kimaya now employs 12-15 people, all locals, including sewers + batik dyers. sophie has created a community that envelopes her workers. “i know everyone by name. i want to empower the workers. i want to recreate something like a family.” 

kimaya uses local textiles from regional farms, “humane fabrics” including organic cotton, banana fibers + bamboo, and all clothing tags are made by an ashram in pondicherry using recycled t-shirts. sophie herself designs classic, feminine jumpers; wide-legged pants in calming hues; liquid tops, soft + flowing like the energy she speaks of. she shares emphatically, “design is so important, if it's not beautiful, men + women won't be moved to change their habits towards clean fashion.” 

“it’s important to do things with consciousness. it’s important to take care of the planet and its resources as well as the people with whom we are working. gratitude changes the energy around you. you feel it in you and in the product. it’s all about co-creation and connection to people.”

by the end of our conversation, i’m a bit mesmerized by sophie, much the way she was spellbound while sitting in the ashram, years ago, in india for the first time. i ask her how she balances it all: life, a burgeoning business, self care?

“meditation every day helps me to be grounded and connected to life and people. i also take a walk in the forest every morning and evening. it’s important because it gives love to my body and it gives me energy.”  

it seems to make perfect sense that sophie has come to live in auroville, on the outskirts of sadhana forest; sadhana means you are using everything as a tool for your well being. and i think this is exactly what sophie is doing, putting her energy into her community + its people, and giving the world products prepared with love, care + positive energy.


eco mode: wearing gifted kimaya organic cotton top with vintage skirt and thrifted jacket. check out my instagram to see how i style the fab banana silk shorts + this wear-with-anything top.

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

5/ people tree: the sweater a fair fashion brand offering everything to keep you comfy + warm on chilly days from head to toe including organic cotton, knit jumpers because it's time to bundle. armed angels also brings us ultra cool, cozy jumpers with lots of style. 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 and the feeling of being cocooned in one super versatile pices that mixes + matches with your pants, skirts + overalls is a good one. baserange also carries a sensual 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.

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!