ethical fashion: join the fashion revolution

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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 brands: 7 ethical labels offer the perfect white tee

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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

simple pleasures: réflexions

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Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many, not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
— Charles Dickens

i've crossed paths with this beautiful mirrored edifice many times, but i've never quite stopped to admire its beauty until recently. i love the reflection of haussmannian architecture + the ornate cathedral across the way: a lovely juxtaposition of diverse artforms in one place + space. 

eco brand: cossac, the transeasonal pieces every girl needs

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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

green crush: meet clara of the vashion blogg

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meet clara | the vashion blogg

location | sweden

eco voyage's green crush series showcases green living advocates who are committed to mindful lifestyles and dedicated to protecting both the environment + all those who inhabit planet earth.  today, in our first installment, we meet the intrepid + beautiful blogger with the platinum blonde bob + a heart of gold. this is clara from the vashion blogg, a passionate animal rights activist + slow fashion connoisseur who hails from sweden.  

live

ev: what is one small action you might encourage others to take to live a more compassionate, cruelty-free lifestyle?

clara: I find that the best way to get started and changing ones life towards a more compassionate one, is as simple as this: In every given moment, ask yourself, "What is the most compassionate and mindful choice I can make, right now?". Personally I am more strict and always refrain completely from animal products. But if that feels too hard, start by making the most friendly choice you can, be it [a vegan or vegetarian meal] at a restaurant or [eschewing animal products like leather, down or silk] when shopping for clothes.

learn

ev: how and why did you decide to go vegan and to pursue a green lifestyle? are there books/movies which you might recommend to others who are interested in learning more about the issues of animal rights and sustainability?

I am brave in the way that I don’t let my fears control me, and I speak up when I feel that something is wrong. I choose to believe that I am capable and deserve to be happy.

clara: I´ve always loved animals. The process started about 4 years ago when I stumbled over some information about the animal industry. Slowly I started to realize that I was taking part in the horrible abuse and killing of feeling individuals, as well as the destruction of the planet and my own body. I started to eat less meat, and then decided over night that I would try the vegan lifestyle. This was 3 years ago and I have never looked back since. I´d recommend anyone who wants to know more to start following their local (and international) animal rights organisations like Djurens Ratt and Djurrattsalliansen. The book Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows by Melanie Joy is a great read. Movies like Cowspiracy, Earthlings, What the Health and Forks Over Knives are super-inspiring and informatve, too.

love

ev: tell us one-three personal qualities about yourself that you would never change?

clara: I am brave in the way that I don´t let my fears control me, and I speak up when I feel that something is wrong. This can sometimes put me in challenging situations, but it is worth it. We cannot afford to live our lives in silence and submission. I also believe in myself and my own worth. Doubt can really get in the way between us and the things we want and need, and so I choose to believe that I am capable and deserve to be happy. This has been a game changer for me.

get happy

ev: share four things that make you really happy.

clara: Sunshine and warm weather. Being around animals. Connecting with nature. Deep and meaningful connections with other humans.

into the calm

ev: what do you do to decompress when you're feeling a little stressed?

clara: I tell myself that everything will be okay, that this too will pass. I also try to pinpoint what exactly is stressing me out, and decide whether or not it something I can control. I also remind myself that my thoughts are just thoughts, they are not reality, they are not the truth. I also make sure to meditate more.

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work it 

ev: in addition to blogging, you work full time. you create weekly content for your website and daily content for social media! it takes a lot of time + dedication to sustain your own blog. what motivates you to do so? 

clara: That I´m not doing this for myself - I´m doing it for the animals. I think that if it was merely an ego-trip, I would not be as dedicated. Every time I doubt the work that I do, or feel like just giving up, I remind myself that it has a bigger purpose. This gives me the energy to keep on hustling.

wear it

ev: describe your favorite outfit from head to toe including any favorite vegan fashion brands. what is one thing you never leave the house without? 
 

clara: This was a tricky question! I´m really in to the business chic look, so it would have to be somethig like this. A light blouse - I love my new black and white striped one, in recycled polyester, from Jan n´ June. [I like] dressed up pants or high waist jeans. I have a pair of beige pants in silky modal from Noumenon that are just amazing to wear at the office. Shoes with a heel, something that makes a statement. I just invested in a pair of red pumps from Matt and Nat that I absolutely adore. A chic bag that fits all my stuff - I have a nude colored bag from Marypoint that is a favourite of mine. I usually add a simple makeup with mascara, bronzer and lipstick. I´d never leave home without something that makes me feel chic. It can be a material, a specific clothing item, or makeup - I just find that my days are much more fun if I enjoy my appearance.

it's a bird, it's a plane, it's a superhero

ev: which person/s do you most admire and why?

clara: All amazing vegan entrepreneurs who show such bravery and dedication in a tough market. People running animal sanctuaries, that is such an act of pure love. [For a list of animal sanctuaries around the world to support or visit, click here.]

say anything

ev: do you have a favorite quote or motto that keeps you going?

clara: I love the quotes "Be the change you want to see in the world," and "Vote with your money!"

images c/o the vashion blogg

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find clara here: website | instagram | facebook | twitter