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 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!

eco brands: 7 joggers to live in this winter season

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joggers, the modern classic, with their soft fabrics, tapered legs + elastic, ever-so-forgiving waistbands, who can ask for anything more? this fall and winter, stay warm + cozy in the year’s most enduring + endearing pants: the jogger. here are seven eco fashion labels bringing us fair trade, ethically made + organic textiles to create the trousers that keep on giving.

amour vert

this los angeles based eco fashion label brings us affordable, black ribbed joggers, made of modal, for easy breezy style. wear ‘em with sneakers or wear ‘em with heels, but you’ll definitely be wearing them for comfort + style.

baserange

this paris designed natural brand with a commitment to clean production brings us simple, sexy garments including joggers in white, nude + black. oh, and if your heart desires tangerine or canary yellow velour joggers, well, velour joggers you may have, right at your fingertips.

krochet kids

this organic cotton jogger comes from the ethical fashion label, krochet kids, founded by the infamous male trio creating jobs around the world and bringing us those fab hand-knit beanies. here, these beautiful joggers are hand sewn in peru and come in a happy shade of blue, for those of you missing your jeans, but still drawn to the undeniable allure of the jogger.

jan n june

from hamburg, with love, the dymanic female duo behind jan n june bring us one of my fave designs: a slim, relaxed fit jogger with the most flattering cut, and yes, pockets. organic cotton, in nude + black.

miakoda

new york based sustainable label offers yoga apparel, atheisure wear and gorgeous everyday basics in organic cotton + bamboo including high-waisted trousers and these fabulous, i-dream-of-genie slouchy joggers.

people tree

this u.k. fair trade brand offers organic cotton trousers {in black + navy} with a weighty feel which adds a sense of luxe to the essential day wear piece.  for girls who want comfort + style from their trousers.

theo the label

this independent australian clothing label offers hand-crafted cotton joggers with the most fantastic pockets in the world. oh, the places we will go and the things we will carry in our perfect pockets!

until next time, stay green dear hearts!

eco brand: kindom, recyled fashion never looked so good

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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. 

green crush: meet klara of just easy nice

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meet klara | just nice easy

location | germany

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, we meet the creative + daring blogger with the jane birkin locks + a passion for animal activism. this is klara from just easy nice, an animal rights activist + sustainable fashion maven who shows us that vegan style is limitless.

live

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

klara: Love and respect yourself so that you can love and respect others. And let every single choice you make come from a place of deep respect for the lives of all living beings. You lose nothing in the process––meanwhile they gain everything.

love

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

klara: I’m glad I’ve always loved myself, which is why I’m deeply empathetic and protective of others’ lives, justice, and freedom. I’m lucky I’ve always been an independent thinker, and one who’s had clarity, consciousness, and self-awareness from a young age––because of that, my beliefs and values have remained consistent from the time I was very young. I’m also glad that I’m silly, and love to have fun. Simply put, I wouldn’t change that I’m empathetic, clear-minded, and fun-loving.

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?

As a fashion-conscious person, I realized how easy it was for me to maintain all of my style preferences while being vegan, and I decided that might be something worth sharing with others.

klara: Being vegetarian at an early age wasn’t a decision I made, it was more like a realization. After that, I instinctively went food-vegan, without outside influence or prompting. It was logical, and I didn’t think ingesting another animal’s milk meant for her babies made any sense at all. The first animal rights organization I supported financially was the American Society for the Prevention of the Cruelty to Animals, because I adored pit bulls so much (still do) after spending time with one, and I was horrified at the way they were often being abused. After that, I didn’t feel like it was enough for me to simply not support animal cruelty through my consumer choices; with the amount of suffering that was going on in factory farms and in all forms of animal agriculture [widely disseminated videos show the inner workings of factory farms today**warning: graphic content], I realized I had to speak for all the sweet animals trapped inside cruel human-derived systems. That’s when I really became an activist. After that, I went full ‘fashion-vegan’, in 2012.

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I started blogging about vegan fashion to show how easy it was for me, and hopefully to inspire others.

The sight and smell of animal leather and idea of wool was making me feel ill; I couldn’t support that cruel industry anymore. At that point, I had canceled all of my fashion magazine subscriptions because the sight of fur on their pages literally sent chills up and down my spine. I started blogging about vegan fashion to show how easy it was for me, and hopefully to inspire others. Then I created Just Easy Nice. My passion for vegan fashion and style is why I continue to talk about it. For those who want to go vegan, I’ve always recommended Cowspiracy. I supported Cowspiracy as a Kickstarter project, and by now, it has had an enormous global impact on people, businesses––even policy. It should be required viewing for anyone living on this planet, and it’s been an incredibly effective and crucial part of the vegan movement.

work it 

ev: you create weekly content for your website and for social media; it takes a lot of time + dedication to sustain your own blog. what motivates you to do so? 

klara: Sometimes, I feel like there’s too much content everywhere. This is an era of content overload, and it starts to feel like a lot of noise. I don’t want to add more noise to our day-to-day world. But I always go back to wanting to be one more voice for the animals, and I hope what I add to the conversation can feel like music instead of noise.

wear it

ev: describe your favorite outfit from head to toe including any favorite vegan fashion brands.

klara: My favorite outfit is a button-down blouse I’ve had for years worn with my off-white flared jean trousers, and my ‘Beatle-esque’ Ana EcoStone heel boots by Bourgoise Boheme. That outfit captures my style. Whatever the season, I love wearing flared jeans/trousers with a button down or a T-shirt.

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into the calm

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

klara: I love listening to feel-good music––i.e., soft rock and easy listening songs from the 1970s. Listening to Steely Dan always makes me smile. More than anything, I love hanging out with my tabby twin kitty girls and my husband, my three best friends. We have a lot of fun hanging out together. Watching silly movies, or soaps (like the Dynasty reboot:)) is also a favorite way to relax and unwind.

get happy

We should each take the very best care of our own vessels that we possibly can. We are stewards of these vessels––just as we are here to care for our loved ones, all other living beings, the planet. Taking good care of our selves is an ideal start.

ev: share four things that make you really happy.

klara: My husband and the twin kitty girls, coffee, blue skies, and karaoke.

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

ev: if you could invite three people to a private dinner party, who would they be?

klara: I’d love to invite [French film director] Eric Rohmer, [American musician, photographer + animal rights activist] Linda McCartney, and [English actor, Sir Bond] Roger Moore. **Side note from editor: I would really like to be at this dinner. 

ev: if you had one superpower, what would it be?

klara: My one superpower would be to make every single person in the world nice. That’s the most impressive power I can imagine.

a beautiful mind

ev: how do you define beauty? 

klara: Beauty comes from taking care of ourselves––our bodies, our minds, our spirits. We should each take the very best care of our own vessels that we possibly can. We are stewards of these vessels––just as we are here to care for our loved ones, all other living beings, the planet. Taking good care of our selves is an ideal start. We have to do what we can, whatever the situation. Stephen Hawking took the best care of his mind and spirit, and look how long his body was maintained because of that self-care. And that’s beautiful. The more one takes care of oneself, the more one can have a positive and beautiful impact on others. The cruelest people are those who do not take care of their own inner needs. True beauty comes from deep, inner self-care. Some people do that instinctively. I wish others could learn to do that.

say anything

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

klara: My motto for the past several years has been Animals are not fabric and Please have respect for all species. My lifelong motto is have fun and enjoy yourself without hurting anyone else in the process.

images c/o just easy nice

find klara here: website | instagram | facebook | twitter