eco brand: cossac, the transeasonal pieces every girl needs


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. take a pic

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

2. abstain

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

3. act

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

become more politically involved by thinking beyond ethical purchases.

4. ask

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

5. read

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

6. research

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

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

{artwork by ev / image via fashion revolution}

{eco brand} armed angels: messengers of good

at armed angels, they're delivering messages of organic + eco goodness. and much more.

ethical fashion was born of the need for clothes that are made responsibly. but what was wrong with the way clothes were being manufactured in the first place? we'll rewind to the triangle shirtwaist factory fire of 1909 in new york city, before diving into today's ethical label, armed angels, based out of germany, a brand that believes fairness is never out of fashion.

how have armed angels created their own remarkable brand of fair fashion for over ten years? take a peek at their sunny pieces + learn how they came to be made by happy hands of materials that consider + protect the earth's natural resources; then meet two inspiring women who survived the factory fire of 1909 + went on to become impassioned labor rights activists:

if you're just tuning in, i'll share just a bit of history to bring you up to speed on the world of ethical fashion + garment production. march of 2017 marked the 106th anniversary of the triangle shirtwaist factory fire of 1911.

on a blustery day on march 25th in new york city, a fire broke out in a cramped factory where garment workers sewed blouses. 146 workers perished or jumped to their death within 30 minutes.

workers, mostly immigrant women, were trapped by flames, and an exit was illegally locked from the outside to keep workers at their sewing machines + to reduce the perceived threat of theft, a common practice still used today at garment factories throughout the world.

sewers worked 12-hour days, and were paid $3 per week. the international ladies garment workers union organized a strike in 1909, but were subject to police brutality + imprisonment.

the owners did not install sprinkler systems or invest in any other safety measures that might have protected the lives of its young, immigrant workers {most of whom were of italian + jewish european decent}.

while the owners were acquitted of manslaughter, never being held responsible, the industrial tragedy led to some of the first city, state + federal laws dealing with workers' safety, including the sullivan-hoey fire prevention law {requiring water sprinklers to be installed in all new york factories}.

a series of laws + regulations came into effect that better protected the safety + health of factory workers, including higher pay, shorter hours + eventually the wagner act was signed into law {the national labor relations act which guaranteed basic rights to employees to form + join unions, and it obligated employers to bargain collectively with these unions}.

today, the rights of american + european workers are better protected from egregious human rights violations, but offshoring has become standard company practice for large corporations taking advantage of lower manufacturing costs overseas to maximize profits {at factories lacking basic safety oversight}. today 97% of apparel in the usa is made abroad.

but some companies are leaders in the world of ethical fashion, protecting both its workers + the planet; ensuring the prohibition of forced labor + discrimination, while securing workers' rights to assembly + collective bargaining. the leader of the pack? slow fashion brand, armed angels.

we're reminded by the good folks at armed angels that it takes "a lot of sweat + time to produce clothes as many people are involved in this long process. it is our responsibility to make sure that every single one of them works under fair conditions." they share, "we just want to do the right thing. step by step, every day. organisations like fair trade or fair wear foundation help us to implement our high standards."

armed angels doesn't use cotton grown with pesticides, which negatively impacts the health of cotton growers + pickers, instead vying to use organic cotton + organic linen, along with recycled polyester as well as lenzing modal + tencel.

the talented young designers at armed angels are making real clothes for boys + girls, like you + me. breezy dresses + easy separates, the pieces are wearable, affordable + current.

most of us have a sense for what works best for our bodies + our wardrobes, and armed angels' cuts + color palettes have broad appeal: you can't go wrong with a classic pair of jeans + a breton striped pullover.

sylish + flattering basics that allow you to shine through, right this way.

{don't forget the tip} interested in learning more about the real angels + brave survivors of the triangle shirtwaist factory fire who went on to become fierce labor reform activists? read about rose freedman, who, throughout her life, spoke passionately for labor rights and all while wearing heels - even as a centenarian. and bessie cohen, who advocated for worker safety + never forgot the event that changed her life forever. rose had these words of wisdom to share before her death: "to me, 106 is a number. i lived that long, not only on account of my genes, but on account of my attitude. you've got to stand up for yourself. am i right?''

and we have the opportunity to stand up for others, too! that's the way to effect positive change in the world. stay tuned for more ways you can become a modern day fashion revolutionary as april 24 approaches, and with it, the commemoration of the rana plaza disaster.

until next time, stay green dear hearts ♥

{images via armed angels // artwork by ev}

{fashion revolution } take action: show your label

while fashion is a creative industry + a highly sophisticated industry, it is not always a clean or safe industry. this week marks the beginning of fashion revolution week, which brings people together from all over the world to use the power of fashion to change the story for the workers who toil in the apparel industry in perilous + unsafe working conditions.

here's what you can do: simply take a picture of yourself showing the label of one of your favorite items of clothing, post the pic to social media and ask the brand #whomademyclothes. remember to look for fair trade labels when shopping for clothes to ensure decent working conditions + fair terms of trade for farmers + workers. interested in learning more? watch this video or read this article "this girl walked through fire so we could get jeans for $9".

remember, green hearts, together we are stronger.

{ artwork by ev / top image via fashion revolution }