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

eco brand: studio kimaya, building a community

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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.

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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.”

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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 boutique} centre commercial: a shop + a movement

a new way to shop means reducing consumption, and when it's time to invest, choosing quality items that will become like true blue friends; well kept + the longer you have them the more you like them.

check out centre commercial in paris, 10eme. owners sebastian kopp + francois morillion, the gentlemen who bring us the venerated veja shoes, "mix fashion with a sustainable and socially based approach" to create a venue full of local + fair trade treasures. get ready for a new kind of movement:

all slow fashion brands have been carefully vetted here, so you'll find top eco labels like roseanna {refined negligence at its best}, humanoid {for new wave + punk inspiration} + naked and famous {simple denim jeans made in quebec}, all offering sophisticated tailoring in hardworking fabrics. i picked up an oversized, gender neutral top from basserange + some vegan lotion from the centre's selection of lifestyle products.

you can expect a nonconforming selection of men's + women's apparel + accessories, jewelry + footwear, blended with some traditional pieces: casual tees + unisex t-shirts, jean jackets + members-only jackets, sweatshirts, pants, joggers, baseball caps + messenger bags. all items are made under fair labor standards using organic + recycled textiles.

kopp + morillion share unequivocally, "it's not a store, it's a movement." i happen to think it's both a solid store + a form of social activism as well, where fashion + politics blend seamlessly. check out the pool of perfect slow fashion goods here.

until next time, stay green dear hearts! ♥

{an eco guide to feminine care products} 4 truly liberating girl products

okay eco boys + girls, today we're celebrating the female body + the "intricate ecosystem" within that brings us new life. here's a little secret i've shared with very few people: i love being a woman. i really do.

marilyn monroe once reflected, "one of the best things that ever happened to me is that i'm a woman." the fact that women can create a human being is truly magnificent, and the only way that can happen is by way of our monthly menstrual cycle. those close to me know that i hold no subject up so that it becomes unmentionable or taboo. so today we tour the feminine hygiene space + the many options available to care for her body via organic and resuable personal care products that are created sans pesticides, insecticides and dioxins: to keep her healthy, confident + empowered. 

healthy bodies + sound minds are entwined with daily decisions that we make + products that we buy. some female products, including tampons + pads, support us in our efforts to remain strong + healthy, while many of the conventional female products lining the shelves of pharmacies + stores contain endocrine disruptors linked to reproductive damage {including reduced sperm count}, cancer + developmental disorders. 

i'm bringing you four natural, nontoxic personal care products; each product is instrumental to remaining proactive in maintaining our reproductive  + neurological health. honestly, these products have simplified my life + given me so much peace of mind. let's explore the options: 

{a brief history, well, semi-brief}

"the female body is an intricate ecosystem. your vaginal tissue is delicate and absorbent—that’s why we regard a woman’s tampon choice as an essential health decision. but the feminine care industry lacks regulation. women don’t get the full picture on the products they use. both the materials and chemicals commonly found in most tampons—and their effects on women’s bodies—are largely hidden from consumers. that’s why women deserve better." molly hayward + morgan newman, cora co-founders

did you know that tampons are classified as "medical devices" by the fda, and as such there are no labeling requirements for ingredients? allergens + chemicals linked to cancer and toxity can be avoided if we know what our options are. *as women, we arm ourselves with information + we make healthy choices. here's the info + here are our choices.

dioxin

dioxin is a harmful by-product of the chlorine-bleaching process used in the wood pulp industry which includes the manufacture of feminine hygiene products such as pads, panty liners and tampons made from rayon or rayon/cotton blends. evidence is growing that even low levels of dioxin exposure may be linked to cancer {including breast cancer}, endometriosis, low sperm counts + immune system suppression. rayon + dioxin exposure over a lifetime of use increases chances of disease.

tampons

for centuries, women around the world have fashioned their own versions of tampons. ancient egyptian women created tampons from papyrus; while in rome, wool was used; in japan, paper; and in parts of africa, rolls of grass. the tampon that is similar to today's product was developed by a male doctor in denver, colorado, in the 1930's. it was composed of 100% cotton. today conventional cotton is grown using pesticides, insecticides + herbicides; exposure to tampon ingredients such as dioxins + furans {from the chlorine bleaching process} as well as pesticide/insecticide residue have a cumulative effect when absorbed by a highly permeable part of a woman's body.

pads + liners

up until the 1920's, external pads were made from cloth + laundered for reuse. nurses using surgical dressings made from a wood pulp derivative called alpha cellulose began using it, and eventually it came to be used to make feminine hygiene pads. disposable pads began to be manufactured to replace the homemade varieties. again, the developments and modifications in pads + liners may not have been in the best interest of the consumer. modern brands use a "dry weave cover" which is actually apertured plastic. women are generally unaware of this fact and are therefore compromising their health via continual exposure over a lifetime {plus, there's the environmental factor of disposing of used pads}.

"we believe every woman on the planet has the right to period products that perform without harming her body" molly + morgan, cora

rayon + dioxin

rayon is a wood pulp derivative that is commonly chlorine bleached and is more absorbent than cotton. dioxin, a byproduct of the bleaching process found in rayon + a toxic chemical compound, collects in the fatty tissues of animals including humans {dioxin is an unintentional byproduct of industrial processes such as waste incineration + fuel combustion; it can also be found in cigarette smoke + car exhaust}. bioaccumulation is a risk factor: considering a woman may use as many 11,000 tampons in her lifetime, she subjects herself to dioxin exposure. *

toxic shock syndrome

rayon itself may pose another risk. results of a study recently published in infectious diseases in obstetrics + gynecology* suggest that the use of all-cotton tampons may reduce the risk of toxic shock syndrome when compared with rayon + rayon-blend tampons. the study included 20 varieties of tampons, a polyurethane contraceptive sponge, a latex diaphragm + a polymer menstrual collection cup. all-cotton tampons did not produce the dangerous tss toxin, staphylococcus aureus, while all other varieties of tampons containing rayon amplified production of the toxin tss=t1.

additives

surfactants are used in tampons to increase absorbency. surfactants are also used in consumer + industrial detergents and are considered pollutants. these surfactants, as well as synthetic fragrances, may pose additional health risks, although these additives are commonly used in feminine hygiene products. presently, manufacturers are not required by the fda to list ingredients; consequently, women may not be aware that they are using products containing rayon + other ingredients. 

four healthy alternatives to conventional feminine products:

hesta

honestly, this is where it all changed for me. these are my favorite! remember, forests are being toppled daily to make pads + liners; in a society that embraces disposable products, this is where we can bend our thinking. these super absorbent, organic cotton pads are reusable washable. that means you launder them, then hang them to dry, and then you do it all over again next month. i've not invested in disposable pads since the discovery of these soft, light + breathable options. starter sets + cute travel pouches available on hesta's site too.

natracare

natracare uses chlorine-free, organic cotton for their pads, shields + tampons and sources their raw materials from managed, scandanavian forests {conventional products are still being produced using wood harvested from endangered forests}. leaders in the world of feminine care, this ethical company saw a void in the natural feminine care market in 1989 + decided to create a solution: they offer products that are eco-friendly, biodegradable + provide protection sans irritation. available across the globe.

thinx

thinx are period-proof underwear made with technology built into the underwear that absorbs flow and wicks away moisture from your body, so you feel clean + so comfortable you might actually forget you have your cycle. now that's a great product. these undies are reusable: that means you wash them + keep them for next month {and save lots of money while you're doing so; invest in more than one to make life easier}. my bestie sent me a pair of these underoos for my birthday, and it is one of my fave eco gifts. make your gal pal smile, too: get her her very own pair. learn more about the work thinx does to educate + bring feminine care products to girls around the world here. 

 

cora

cora's aim is to offer women the safest, purest tampons without sacrificing performance. they want every woman + girl on the planet to have a safe + effective way to manage her period. i first learned of the global period crisis at cora's website, where i came to understand that 100 million girls across the world drop out of school when they reach puberty simply because they lack access to adequate menstrual products {with a large number represented in india + africa}. for every month's supply of cora you receive, cora gives a month's supply of sustainable pads to a girl in a developing country. what better way to empower another woman, than by aiding in the completion of her education? i've said it before, and i'll say it again: knowledge is power + education is liberation.

{don't forget the tip} some of you may be wondering: where's the cup?! i've actually never used a menstrual cup, but one of my best gal pal swears by them, so i'll be sure to try + add to the list if all goes well!

until next time, stay green, dear hearts!

{eco travel} a cool capsule wardrobe for the eco traveler

“reduction is the least observed of the three r’s of environmentalism {reduce, reuse, recycle} but it’s probably the most important. reuse and recycling are sensible measures in an over-productive society, but why not neutralise the problem of overproduction at the source? instead of choosing to act efficiently at the end of a product’s life cycle by reusing or recycling it, we should stop said product from being made in the first place by eliminating consumer demand for it." robert wringham

what exactly is a capsule wardrobe? really, it's the idea of a minimalist closet: it means subscribing to the idea of less purchases + investing in pieces that withstand seasonal trends. it means purchasing slow fashion items in colors + styles that play nice {aka can be worn together}, with the end goal of keeping + caring for those items for years to come {and wearing + re-wearing those items}, as was done once upon a time.

essentially, it's like having a monogamous relationship with your wardrobe. but if dating + meeting new people thrills you more than settling down with a s/o, and the idea of committing to a capsule wardrobe sounds less than exciting {yawn, snore, snooooze}, well, stay with me here {head up off the keyboard!}. a capsule wardrobe is the ryan gosling of wardrobes. instead of buying a new frock each time a celebration or special event pops up {new dress = new date}, you take ryan {committed relationship = capsule wardrobe}. that is, you wear what you have, and what you have you really, really like}.

a capsule wardrobe is adopting the notion of quality over quantity. in the end, it means investing in a set number of wardrobe pieces* {many pieces you will already own} and spending less time in department stores, which equals more time with family + friends and yes, more money for travel adventures if your heart so desires {because when it's time to shop, you're going to pop into your very own closet + select a playful piece from your own wardrobe instead of heading to the mall to purchase another bargain bin item}.

traveling challenges me to whittle down my choices even further. i own a total of 48 pieces of apparel {that's my entire wardrobe}, and like russian stacking dolls, there's an even tinier version of my wardrobe lying in wait!

here for you today, 14 ethically-produced items including shoes {and not including my hefty books} for day to night outings so you can travel unfettered + free.

from chicago to new york to paris, and then to sunny marseille, i've been a busy girl. there are many things i profess to love about traveling: the planning + packing, the humming airports + the teeming terminals {meeting riveting humans like the two sexagenarian missionaries + their three-legged dog named trinity: where else could i encounter such a diverse + dynamic set?}; i even love the in-flight magazines. 

and i love to travel light.

no check-ins, no hassle, just me + the weight of my over-sized poetry books or novels {which i can't seem to live without} and a few clothing items to stay cozy + comfortable while looking contemporary + cool.

so here's an easy guide for creating a simple, capsule wardrobe; 14 modern basics in a monochromatic palette + simple silhouettes for mixing and matching galore {all fair trade, organic, animal-friendly + ready to roll}:

1  s k i r t

the midi skirt. i love this little number. i own a vintage, pleated diaphanous skirt that gets along swimmingly with everything in my wardrobe. depending on your style + body type, you might prefer a pencil skirt or an a-line skirt. search the racks at your fave charity shop or vintage retailer. if you're stateside, check out my absolute fave collective of vintage dealers at beehive chicago + if you're in paris, check out vintage system, 3e.

1  s c a r f

the knit scarf. mine is a thrifted version from vintage boutique chine machine in paris, 10e + 18e. if you're in america, try crossroads trading co. kaight shop in new york carries this handsome, handmade windowpane check scarf as well as this singular kantha knit scarf woven from 100% khadi cotton, by indigo handloom {crafted by hand using zero elecricity!}.

2  j a c k e t s

the trusty denim jacket. a goes-with-everything deep indigo version from patagonia. i wear mine solo on warmer days + layered under my moto jacket on crisp days. check your local thrift shop for a fine vintage model with lots of character: pop into buffalo exchange in the usa, or mad vintage in paris, 4e for the best selections. 

the moto jacket. you know how i feel about the moto jacket: simplify your life by choosing your perfect mate here. wear it independently or over the denim jacket on cooler days.

2  j e a n s

the long-lasting pair. a woman's best friends are not diamonds, it's denim. the most durable jeans i own are by nudie. and i wear them frequently. by frequently, i mean i depend on these jeans weekly.

the enduring pair. i also own + wear big star jeans. they move, they stretch, they retain their shape. eternally youthful, these jeans don't fray + won't age. i'm a mover + shaker, and boy can they keep up.

3  t o p s

the perfect layering tank from miakoda. or the fitted tank from groceries apparel

the cool graphic tank from beetxbeet. or a striped version from threads for thought.

the multitasking chambray top from loomstate. wear it over tanks or under jumpers.

3  p u l l o v e r s

the cropped pullover from theo the label. or the cropped sweater from know the origin.

the oversized boyfriend sweatshirt from baserange. or the deep v jumper from bon label.

the long-sleeved, funnel-neck top from signe. or the cropped turtleneck from reformation.

2  p a i r s  o f  s h o e s

perfect for the happy nomad + the fearless wanderer: the white trainer by wills  + black oxfords from bourgeois boheme. both are equally comfy. 

to see how my boy-meets-girl looks come together, follow along on instagram, where you'll see the mixing + matching magic happening. 

let us not forget books, glorious books. i like to choose my travel partners carefully; sometimes i select j.d. salinger, other times i pick f. scott fitzgerald. for my most recent travels i chose  literary iconoclast e.e. cummings as my companion; his complete book of poetry enthralls me. now, i didn't include socks on the list above, but i've long considered myself an eco sock connoisseur, and have a list of ethically produced + animal friendly options here. and of course, there's the perfect little weekender bag to pack your life into and head out for the next adventure.

{don't forget the tip}*capsule wardrobes can include 35-45 items of clothing, but there's no set rule. a helpful tip for creating a flexible + fluid capsule wardrobe is to choose a color palette from the start: colors that work well together. i love monochromatic hues, so my closet is a sea of black, gray and white. i'll add a splash of red wine {a deep, dark red hue intermingles nicely} or olive green. if you lean towards pastels, choose light tones: items that can be integrated into your closet easily. try to lean away from trends; if you like patterns, stay close to classic, enduring patterns like stripes + checks. really, it's deeply satisfying + quite fun to see how many different ensembles can come together from your capsule wardrobe. and all that time + extra funds on your hands, well the world is at your fingertips, my friends!

while i was packing light for cooler weather, my friend + fellow sustainable living blogger, holly at leotie lovely, has been showing us how to put together a warm-weather vacation capsule wardrobe for those traveling to tropical climes. see how she does it from head {headphones} to toe {fuzzy socks, that is} right over here.

until next time, stay green dear hearts!

{eco mode: wearing vintage denim jacket under thrifted faux leather moto jacket + jeans by big star denim; gloves by krochet kids}