Saturday, April 25, 2015

{simple pleasures} we are all connected: rhinos included

{today's simple pleasures}
 
to know me is to know i love elephants, rhinos, + giraffes. they are spellbinding creatures that leave me awestruck. my goal is to some day travel to africa and see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.
 
after a recent trip to south africa, global ambassador for world wildlife fund jared leto shared the following: being that close to majestic creatures like rhinos and elephants reminds me of the deep connection and important responsibility we have to protect and shepherd these fragile species and their habitats. i’m committed and passionate about doing all i can to help ensure that these endangered animals survive. it can and—with a focused global effort—will be done.
 
from our hardworking friends at the world wwf: at the end of 2014, the south
african province of kwazulu-natal reported an exciting milestone: its black rhino population had grown to 500, up from 411 in 2004. south africa is home to more than 90% of the world’s approximately 20,000 white rhinos and 40% of the 5,000 black rhinos. but rhino poaching in the country has skyrocketed since 2008; in january 2015, south african officials announced that 1,215 rhinos were killed in poaching incidents during 2014—the highest number recorded in a decade.
 
 
to learn more about how you can get involved with the work of wwf, step right on over here
 
{top image via jewel + lotus / bottom image via wwf}

Friday, April 10, 2015

{eco boutiques} vintage affair: second hand news

i was standing, waiting for an elevator when the woman next to me swiveled round and declared that she loved my chiffon blouse.

"thank you! i've had this blouse for 15 years," i replied.

a gentleman waiting within earshot smiled and said, "that sounds like a variation of 'this ole thing?!'"

we all laughed. but 'tis true, most of my clothes i've chosen with longevity in mind. sometimes when routing through my closet, assembling an oufit for the day, i think: i've had this piece so long, this may be vintage! which is immediately followed by this thought: does this mean i'm vintage?

the truth is, i love thrifting + vintage shopping. i love plucking a rare, ripe find from a chaotic rack in just the right size, splashed with an unexpected color palette {mustard yellow + fuchsia, who knew?}. when fortuna smiles upon me with a fortuitous fashion encounter, i admit to being filled with a great sense of satisfaction.

if the item is missing a button or needs some tlc {aka a small, but reparable hole}, even better, since i enjoy sewing. while i mend, needle in hand, i think about the previous life of this garment: who wore it and when? my mind invents creative + romantic scenarios around each piece. thrifting is really the opportunity to give a quality garment a second chance.

living in the great city of chicago, there are a slew of options where you can find oldies, but goodies {including the suburbs of chicago}. read on to add a little vintage charm to your wardrobe or to add some sass to your home. here are five of my fave shops for thrifting:
1/ beehive chicago vintage collective {2950 w. carroll avenue / chicago}: one of my best gal pals with an impeccable sense of style took me to what looked like an abandoned loft building in garfield park on a saturday morning. "wait 'til you see what's inside," she said in her usual cool + calm demeanor, "you'll think you've died and gone to vintage heaven." i grew quiet. we were buzzed in through a heavy metal door. anticipation grew. we then made our way through a maze of brightly-lit, narrow walkways. and finally, we arrived. i saw the light: literally + figuratively: a sun-drenched, loft space {8,000 sq feet!} hosting ten stalls bursting with trappings from decades past. now, telling you that i have a fave stall feels like a mother telling you she has a favorite child, but i cannot tell a lie: poly golightly {get it?} is not only a clever little name, but this selection of frocks + tops  + bottoms is dynamite. the queen bee is robyn witt, sweet + shrewd, she heads the collective like the boss that she is. open saturdays only, 11am-5pm

2/ the economy shop {103 s. grove / oak park} this is a thrift shop like no other. housed in a three-story victorian home, this shop opened in 1919. founded by a group of entrepreneurial women savvy enough to weather the depression and recessions since. here's what to expect: three floors full of bargains; items are neatly sorted + priced by department and room {if you love books or scratchy records head to the basement; if your inner chef is seeking cooking utensils + kitchenware head upstairs; and if you're like me and the eco fashionista in you tingles from the mere thought of vintage finds for $1, hang a left after entering}. a dedicated army of volunteers maintain the shop, with proceeds from all sales benefiting seven charities including two of my favorite: the animal care league of oak park {where i adopted my sweet pup electron} and hepzibah center for children. as my college english professors stressed the importance of repetition as a literacy device, let us recap here: 1 shop, 16 departments, 7 charities. these are some good numbers, ladies + gents. open one thursday and two saturdays each month. make a daytrip of it. worth the trek. check here for dates + times.
3/ depaul thrift shop {1125 s. milwaukee / libertyville} the society of saint vincent depaul has three shops in the chicago land area, but the one i will take planes, trains + automobiles to get to is the libertyville shop. proceeds from sales benefit families in need by providing assistance with heat, electricity, food and rent {including victims of domestic violence}. as the folks at saint vincent remind us: whether you're shopping or donating, you're giving. when i made the decision to move to europe, i was on a strict budget, but i was going to invest in new luggage to carry the few, but precious belongings i had carefully selected to cross the pond with. a month before my trip, i dropped in to the spacious + refreshingly uncluttered store and chatted with the friendly staff who were charting the progress of my travel adventures; the gals working there pointed out that a set of like-new suitcases had arrived if i was interested. for $14. ring me up, scotty. find days of operation and hours here. free pick up available for furniture. 
4/ the brown elephant {5404 n. clark street / chicago + 217 harrison street / oak park} it would seem that all the stars align each time i walk into the brown elephant. if i am sans furniture or footware or if a harsh winter has swallowed up yet another pair of my gloves, this is the place i head to. revenue generated by donations + purchases funds services for clients at the howard brown center, serving the lgbtq community. living + working in chicago, i pass by many an alley chock full of beautiful furniture in its prime, heading straight to a land fill before its time. i've dragged home a number of pieces, but the brown elephant will come pick up your goods for free. so as my bestie likes to say: don't be a larry landfill. they're just a phone call away! days + hours right on over here. top notch customer service + nice, neat shelves: a magic combo.
5/ etsy {e-commerce} ah, etsy sweet etsy. the online marketplace for all things handmade + vintage: where folks from all across the world with discerning eyes do the rummaging and all you have to do is clickety click your way to a new, impeccably-made frock. it's like a little e-time capsule. craving a trinket or a one-of-a-kind treasure from the 1960's or any other decade that tickles your fancy? head on over yonder. a few standouts: dear golden / adVintagious / 86 vintage 86 / blossom vintage shop / moon and soda / sweet bee finds. hours + location: your place, my place, any ole space. and away we go!

*honorable mention to buffalo exchange {1478 n. milwaukee / chicago}, a consignment shop that will sell your gently used garments + footwear + baubles, including vintage items. shiny, happy people working here makes for good vibes. get cash or store credit for items you'd like to part with. hours right here.

ok, friends, thrifts shops are bursting with possibilities. now get out there and do some digging if you're feeling adventurous today!

oh, and i thought everybody loved vintage shopping, until i read this entertaining + enlightening post by sustainable style maven alden wicker. are you a hunter or a farmer? find out today!

{images by finny + dill | dress image via dear golden}

Friday, April 3, 2015

{eco brand of the week} monkee genes: they mean business

jeans. i'd wear them every day, all day, if i could.

now, i've heard denim horror stories: soggy bottoms + endless stretching, and the dreaded blow out. and while i've never had a blow out, i know this is a real occurrence, as a good friend had it happen in the middle of the green fest at navy pier. true story. i imagine it would be quite traumatizing, having one's derriere flapping in the wind.

so i need a hero. i was holding out for a hero 'til the morning light {yep, i just did that!}.

and then it happened: i found the hercules of denim.

these organic jeans look good, they wear well, and they do no harm to planet or people or furry friends.

monkee jeans, a u.k. based denim brand is leading the way in sustainable denim. founder phil wildbore {is it just me, or is that a really cool name?} has a simple motto attached to his ethical label: no slave labour, no child labour, no blood, no sweat, no tears. their ethos is to manufacture with conscience.

in this story, phil is the hero, my friends.

monkee genes is the first and only jeans label to have accreditations from the soil association and the global organic textile standards (gots). these fancy pants credentials hold businesses to high standards stipulating requirements throughout the supply chain for both ecology and labour conditions in textile and apparel manufacturing using organically produced raw materials. 

in other words: if it's not organic, there's a whole lot of hazardous chemicals going into our fave dungarees, ladies + gents, and then right into our waterways.

from our friends at monkee genes:
there are several reasons why organic textiles are kinder, cleaner and better:
• it benefits cotton producers and the environment in developing countries by avoiding the harmful effects of toxic pesticides, and the reduced cost of production improves social conditions.
• our organic textiles don’t contain allergenic, carcinogenic or toxic chemicals.
• animal welfare is at the heart of organic systems, so is better for animals growing our fibres.
• by contrast the non-organic cotton industry is a huge source of global environmental pollution, using almost one quarter of all the world’s insecticides and 10% of pesticides, social conditions for cotton growers can be poor, with poverty, health problems and suicide common, and thousands of chemicals are used to turn raw material into clothes, towels, bedding and other items that we put next to our skin every day.

according to greenpeace, mexico is one of the largest producers of denim in the world, and a major supplier to the american market. it is, therefore, an important country for textile manufacturing. as a developing country with many inequalities and inadequate regulations and enforcement, water resources in mexico are especially vulnerable. more than 70% of freshwater resources in mexico are affected by pollution from all sources. an investigation found textile manufacturing facilities in mexico are discharging a wide range of hazardous substances in wastewater.

curious about organic agriculture? a few bits + bobs from the soil association:
agriculture is one of humankind's most basic activities because all people need to nourish themselves daily. history, culture and community values are embedded in agriculture. the principles apply to agriculture in the broadest sense, including the way people tend soils, water, plants and animals in order to produce, prepare and distribute food and other goods. they concern the way people interact with living landscapes, relate to one another and shape the legacy of future generations. organic production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic, persistent pesticides and fertilizers.

coming up! more of my fave eco friendly denim brands. good for the planet, great for your buns!

{top image by f+d / bottom image by mg}

Friday, March 27, 2015

{eco flick} the true cost: behind the labels

it's true that i stopped buying clothes overnight the way i've heard some folks stop smoking cold turkey. just like that.

this is how my eco-fashion journey began:

three years ago i was working as a style columnist + blogger for a local, indie newspaper. in addition to a printed column, i wrote for their online platform three times per week. i had the bright idea that i should write about all things sustainable every friday. it seemed like a perfectly harmless task + a subject that i was anxious to dig into.

but then this happened:

i saw a photo.

in this photo, there was a river. the river ran red.

on this day, i read the accompanying article about the water + land pollution by textile manufacturing facilities that produce fast fashion.

linked to every textile + garment that we purchase from big box shops are toxic chemicals that contaminate air, water + land and are harmful to our health

i was left scratching my head. i read a little more, and there was also the issue of child labor and human rights violations related to the manufacture of apparel + shoes + accessories.

i was not aware that a seemingly innocuous decision to purchase a tee shirt, a pair of jeans or shoes was degrading the earth and depriving workers of basic rights.

and that was it. in the snap of a finger i stopped shopping.

i set out on a journey to find ethically-made apparel + footwear, accessories + personal care products that were stylish and allowed me to express myself creatively, sans harm to people, planet or animals. and now, when i buy, i buy from shops + labels that care just as much as i do: eco boutiques + slow fashion brands that are a part of the movement to make quality products for those who want to make mindful purchases.

and this is what's called a fashion revolution.

andrew morgan was also changed by a photograph. andrew is a director for commercial + film projects who believes in the power of storytelling "in the ongoing fight for human rights around the world." andrew and his team of filmmakers are now telling the story of the impact the fast fashion industry is having on our world in the documentary the true cost. hats off to this eco hero who's hoping to open eyes and hearts.

from director andrew morgan:
Growing up in America, I never gave much thought to where my clothes came from. But as I began learning more about the people and places behind the labels in my closet, I was shocked by what I found. Clothing is the most labor-dependent industry in the world, employing millions of the world’s poorest workers, many of which are women. Many of these women are paid less than a living wage, work in unsafe conditions, and are deprived of basic human rights. In addition to the human impact, fashion is now the number two most polluting industry on earth – second only to oil.

Today, we are outsourcing more, consuming more (in the US a 500% clothing consumption increase in the last two decades alone), using more resources, and paying less than we have at any previous time in history. At the same time, there are record high numbers of worker casualties in factories, and a fundamentally unsustainable growing toll on the environment.

What kind of world will we create now that we are beginning to see the cost of our actions? In a time where our impact on people and the world is measured in real time, will we choose to create new systems to alleviate this pressure?
 
These questions, and the grave implications of the answers, led me to direct The True Cost. A global documentary that explores the fashion industry around the world, examining where we are, how we got here, and how we can create a better future moving forward. For too long now, conversation around this topic has suffered from over-simplified blame games. Political and economic complexities have allowed us to miss what is unavoidably clear – that this is first and foremost a moral issue. There is consistent irresponsible care of the environment, and clear violations of the most basic human rights. But this is something we can and must change.

The eyes of the world are opening, and I believe history is giving us this moment to choose a better path. Human progress moves forward when those who have a voice use it on behalf of those who do not. It moves forward when a moment is seized rather than ignored. And it most certainly moves when we decide that the profit of some must never come from the exploitation of others. I hope with all my heart that this film serves as a needed step in that progress.

the true cost will be out may 29, 2015. to learn more, click on over here.

{image via the true cost}

Friday, March 20, 2015

{eco brand of the week} glass house shirt makers: real men wear eco

 
gender is a state of mind. -scott schuman, the sartorialist

to know me is to know i love crossing borders, and not just across continents. when it comes to my wardrobe, i zigzag across the men's and women's departments of online eco retailers and local boutiques to find what i'm looking for.


a tomboy at heart, i'm happiest in baggy boyfriend jeans or oversized chinos, and a well-tailored oxford is a staple in my wardrobe. i like to take these pieces and add my own personal touch: sky-high heels from olsen haus or a brassiere from stella mccartney for a boy-meets-girl effect. 

i've been on the lookout for an everyday button down that is also ethically produced {i have a long, slender build and sometimes finding an organic, fair trade shirt that also fits just right can be a challenge}.


when i read about the sustainable garments from glass house shirt makers, i was intrigued. i know it's a men's label, but i was never one for rules - in college a friend once told me i had a blatant disregard for the law - certainly untrue, but when it comes to fashion, i believe what the good folks at ghsm have to say: "expressing our authentic self is a gift and should be conveyed passionately."

from our friends at glass house shirt makers:
[O]ur long term goal, let’s say by 2020, is to have all of our fabrics grown, milled, spun, dyed, and woven right here in the United States. The fabrics we currently use are 100% organic cotton, hemp, lyocell, and blends of other sustainable fabrics. In addition, we use reclaimed fabrics that may be thrown away or take time to redistribute, so we buy them before they head to the landfill.

[E]ventually, we’d love to have our own manufacturing facility run on alternative energy like wind, solar & geothermal. We believe that providing a high quality of life for our employees, as well as providing premium shirts for you, are the key aspects of how this brand is run. Big goals with big impacts.

founder daniel bernardo has proven that real men wear eco. and daniel may not know it yet, but he's a bit of a design magician, making striking shirts of superior craftsmanship that not only flatter men, but entice women. so i think the real lesson we've learned here today, boys + girls, is: real men AND real women wear eco!

find these fine shirts at penelope's in chicago or scoot on over here for more options. want to stay at home + let your fingers do the shopping? click here.

{artwork by f+d | photography by wendy santeliz}

Friday, March 13, 2015

{eco brand of the week} studio 189: african + artisanal collections

this bouncy-colored, cotton circle skirt is from studio one eighty nine, the brand created by rosario dawson and abrima erwiah, proposing artisanal collections to help boost the financial independence of african communities.

studio one eighty nine was selected by vogue black and yoox.com for the second episode of their collaboration in support of fashion 4 development.

a beautiful hybrid of contemporary design + traditional craftsmanship; these pieces {which include oversized clutches + vibrant-hued handbags} incorporate african textiles with dynamic color schemes and are made entirely in africa. perfect.

peruse the collection at yoox.com or learn more about fashion 4 development
 
{image via yoox.com}

Friday, March 6, 2015

{eco beauty picks} the cure: better hair days straight ahead

over the years i've tried eco shampoos that are magical {tis true i've actually texted gal pals to say "i'm having a goooood hair day!"}, and other shampoos that prompt less jolly messages {"i can't stop scratching my head"}.
 
after routing out products that have given me days of country-star hair {think big: so much volume, it was distracting to coworkers whose wandering eyes pointed heavenwards towards my curious new coiffe} or limp hair, so lifeless, well, let's just say they were hair-up days, i've finally found the one. actually, i found six. lucky girl that i am.

here's a roundup of natural + nourishing hair care brands that are truly shine enhancing + gentle enough for everyday use: they're all eco-friendly + all cruelty-free. and this keeps my locks healthy + happy. oh, and if you have sensitive skin like me, look no further.

now let's open up some bubbly {shampoo suds, that is}:
1/ acure organics moroccan argan oil shampoo this is my numero uno. this shampoo is at the top of my list for several reasons: show me an organic + fair trade product and you have my attention. but as the folks at acure like to say, "it also has to work." does it perform? indeed it does. their shampoo + conditioner have earned a permanent place in my bath + beauty routine. acure strengthens follicles + illuminates dull hair, and i can't get enough of this scent. organic + fair trade certified. if you're looking for a dry shampoo or leave-in conditioner, their products are tops. made in the usa.

2/ avalon organics rosemary shampoo: good hair days start here. this cleanser vies for position as numero uno. a plant-derived cleanser with an invigorating scent; it doesn't strip away natural oils, but gets hair good and clean. the conditioner works like a charm, but a light hand is necessary to avoid weighing down your tresses. 70% of ingredients listed are organic. made in the usa.

3/ collective wellbeing citrus orchard shampoo: argan oil, ladies + gents. get some. good for the face, body + hair. this cleanser contains fair trade, organic argan oil + aloe vera, and it smells yummy. this product delivers as promised: it's both a delicate cleanser + a powerful revitalizer, strengthening weakened hair strands. conditioner restores natural luster; a little dab will do ya. made in the usa.  
 
4/ john masters organics lavender rosemary shampoo: the shampoo is light + super hydrating and the conditioner adds shine without adding weight. this cleanser smells heavenly {actually i think god would let me through the pearly gates just for the aromatic scent of my hair alone}. 17 organic + wild-crafted ingredients, 1 fab mission. a sustainable brand after my own heart. made in the usa.  

5/ intelligent nutrients harmonic shampoo: i love everything about this brand and what it represents. the antioxidant-rich, lightweight shampoo smells divine {fresh + minty} and adds a little shine before you ever get to the conditioner. founder horst m. rechelbacher, a commited activist + environmentalist believed in using only safe, pure ingredients in bath + beauty products {he was the founder of aveda, but left to create an even purer product. yep, you read that right}. nontoxic + organic. made in the usa.

6/ j.r. ligget's bar original formula shampoo: i admit, i was skeptical. i mean, really skeptical of a bar shampoo. there was that camping trip where i'd forgotten my shampoo + decided to use my soap bar instead. the result was disastrous: cotton candy hair for days. but this bar came highly recommended by a fashionista on no more dirty looks, and i admit i was impressed by the idea of a no-bottle shampoo. so i hopped on over to whole foods and picked up a bar. it works. it truly does. natural ingredients, but not organic. made in the usa.

{bonus} a mud mask masquerading as a hair cleanser
7/ morocco method int'l sea essence shampoo: this is a special one. it smells like someone packed the whole sea into this bottle, including sand + sun {note: like sand, the scent kind of sticks for a while}. the texture is rare + pudding-like, akin to a mud mask, which really + truly revitalizes limp locks. it is super concentrated {it says so right there on the bottle} so go easy. that's more bang for your buck. everything that could be good for your locks is packed into this little bottle including some snazzy ingredients like kelp, spirulina, algae, and marine proteins. ingredients are not listed as organic. made in the usa.

i rotate these hair care products on a regular basis throughout the seasons: a green arsenal of hydrating shampoos that are great for soft, shiny tresses and for all hair types + all seasons.

{eco note: our skin + scalp are an integral part of our immune system, so it's important to care for it. here's an easy peasy guide of ingredients to avoid in bath + beauty products. steer clear of these personal care culprits, my friends: sulfatesparabens, phthalates + synthetic fragrances}

{artwork by f+d | photography by wendy santeliz}

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

{eco reads} ethical fashion: a glimpse of the future

i believe we should stop thinking that ethical and aesthetic are two separate things.
what is beautiful must be good.

simonetta gianfelici, on the role of renowned fashion houses in the ethical fashion movement

{a great read}
meet a modern day fashion hero: simonetta gianfelici is making a difference in the world of ethical + fair trade fashion. something about magazine takes us through her journey from accomplished model  + muse to supporter of slow fashion + designers around the globe via the united nations ethical fashion initiative. article by janine leah bartels
 
{illustration by christy mccormick via aboutmag.com}

Friday, February 6, 2015

{eco knickers} ethica provides the perfect panty guide

years ago i watched elle mcpherson unveil her line of intimates for women on tv. the popular talk show host asked her, "why lingerie?" and elle answered confidently that a woman need not wear lingerie to impress a partner, but rather to embrace her own sensuality, sexuality + femininity.

i'm a gal who is deeply passionate about pretty underthings {for some it's shoes, for me it's knickers} and eco attire. i value and shop companies with a commitment to social responsibility. i love natural fabrics that are compatible with human health and rights, because frankly, boys + girls, agrochemicals {aka cancer-causing agents} in our underoos is not what the doctor ordered.  

organic cotton protects the farmers and workers who would otherwise come into contact with harmful pesticides, fungicides and insecticides used when conventional cotton is cultivated, processed + transformed. and let us not forget about that little thing we call earth, she benefits from crop rotation + soil defoliation versus a monocrop culture - and the use of low-impact pigments sans heavy metals eliminates air + waterway pollution.

slow fashion retailer, ethica, has compiled the definitive list of organic unmentionables, listing nine companies with beautifully ascetic designs, because these folks know eco fashion. from our friends at ethica:
Beyond Valentine’s Day: 9 Sustainable Lingerie Brands You'll Want to Wear Year-Round Corsetry, garters and mesh? Not this year. It’s time to give your underwear drawer a makeunder instead, with a focus on better-for-you, back-to-basics styles. From bra-and-panty sets in stark white to sporty tape bras paired with high-waisted briefs, the intimates we’re loving right now are luxuriously comfortable and beautifully minimalist–in other words, fit for real-world, everyday wear. Even better, these collections are made from natural and organic materials, meaning fewer pesticides and chemicals coming into contact with some of your body's most sensitive spots.
learn more about the positive impact organic agriculture is having on farmers at sustainable cotton or at textile exchange. if you're interested in getting your own paws on some of the good stuff {organic textiles} take a look here. are you all done reading? now go get some sweet, sustainable knickers.

{image via ethica}