Saturday, November 14, 2015

{eco brand of the week} jacob + esau: basic training

"elegance must be the right combination of distinction, naturalness, care and simplicity. of the four things i have mentioned above, the most important of all is care. care in choosing your clothes. care in wearing them. care in keeping them."
christian dior, the little dictionary of fashion 

meet joanne yu + esther kirwan, the beauty, brawn + brains behind the fair trade fashion label, jacob + esauthese gals are committed to fair wages + genuine relationships with garment workers. 

together joanne + esther co-founded an eco line of basics: easy tees, breezy frocks, comfy sweatshirts and relaxed shorts for men + women; apparel that is both cool, functional + responsibly made.

like so many consumers, joanne was looking for low-cost clothes that looked good. i think her words will resonate with most of us, "i was on a search for beautiful clothes, affordable clothes. $5 tops are really enticing, $10 dresses, the word 'sale,'" shares joanne. 

but she was searching for something more than a bargain. she was seeking clothes that "did not involve the unfair treatment of somebody."

cue esther, a friend with similar convictions. esther and joanne were friends with parallel values and a simple wish to dress well without negatively impacting the makers who piece together our clothes.

they met over coffee, and that same day jacob + esau took flight. joanne reminds us that with all new endeavors, there are risks involved, and it's going to get tough, "we were on this big adventure where we had no idea where the destination would be. to begin something or anything really, it takes a lot of courage."

well, they have arrived, and here stands a hungry market of eco fashionistas, ready to purchase + wear their stylish wares made with pride by kholil + wiwik in indonesia.

joanne expounds, "we realized we needed to stand up for [production workers'] rights and equality in the work place. we realized there was a great need for change, a need to provide wages for other people. [a living wage] they could thrive off of, not just survive off of.

together with [courage], you need full faith in what you're doing, you must know what you're doing, you must believe in what you're doing. and this assuredness in why you're doing what you're doing."

esther asks consumers, "do you believe you can bring change? i hope you do."

and how does one unspool a dream? esther offers, "we just had enough conviction to go ahead with this dream we had for making ethical labor the norm. shouldn't every business be under public scrutiny to be ethical + have ethical practices? our business is an extension of our personal values. it's what we're passionate about.

today might be the beginning of your journey, the beginning of when you start to see there are more options and lots of people are relying on you to make better choices so their lives can change.

it's very much about the small steps and doing something as opposed to nothing. take away demand and the supply will change."

over 80 billion garments are produced worldwide each year. fast fashion + bargain prices exploit the most vulnerable including the farmers, the washers + the sewers via low wages + hazardous working conditions. 

it is our responsibility to ask where these clothes are made and in what conditions. in an expose on the fashion industry "to die for: is fashion wearing out the world?" lucy siegle, one of britain's leading journalists on social + environmental justice wrote, "its never been more critical for us to consume with care and intelligence." 

okay, green hearts, to shop with a brand that truly cares, hop on over here or here! oh, and stay tuned for my next blog post on my move to paris and the 30 day challenge by livia firth that i happily accepted, wearing jacob + esau's foxy little sweater all over this city of light! 

{top image by christina pippin / bottom image via jacob + esau}

Saturday, September 19, 2015

{simple pleasures} botany + books

trust your heart if the seas catch fire,
live by love though the stars walk backward

e.e. cummings

{today's simple pleasures}

the beauty of botany: elizabeth cronin's local chicago flower shop, asrai garden is like something out of a dream. it smells heavenly + carries some rad handmade jewelry + natural skincare products. oh, and there's the explosion of aromatic flowers of course. i want to live here 

vintage books + chai tea: 50 poems by e.e. cummings. what joy a dusty poetry book can bring to my little heart

{images by christina pippin}

Friday, September 18, 2015

{eco boutique of the week} bead + reel: layers of good

most products travel through various parts of the world 
and through many hands before they reach us.

today there are a number of well-curated boutiques bringing green hearts the best in eco fashion. what sets these shops apart from one another are the diverse ethical labels as well as the impassioned individuals with varied backgrounds + unique narratives which feed their uncommon approaches to his or her small business enterprise. 

bead + reel was founded by sica schmitz, fervent social justice advocate, animal rights activist + inspired entrepreneur, who previously worked in costume design in film, television + theater. 

sica understands that our clothing tells a story, and as the tale unfurls, she wants consumers to know that there are many characters involved: from farm + tannery workers, to the needleworkers in garment factories, to consumers wearing textiles that affect their own health. 

if you peel back the layers of sica's story, you'll find more than a woman with a keen eye for design-led fashion, you'll also find someone with an abiding commitment to shedding light on industry issues such as forced + child labor, the exploitation of animals and the need for more transparent supply chain practices {follow her on fb}. 
in 2014 sica decided to spearhead her l.a.-based shop with the hope of telling a story of both style + compassion, "i didn't know where the things in my closet were made, or by who, or what chemicals may be in the fabrics or dyes on my skin. i didn't think about the true cost of what i was buying on the larger world around me. i realized i need to change my clothes, change my story. i started researching which brands, which fibers, which processes i wanted to include in my story...."

bead + reel stocks some of my fave ethical labels, inlcuding made-in-the-usa labels like amour vert, animal-friendly shoes + accessories by bhavaindosole + angela + roi and artisan-crafted jewelry by natalie frigo.  

when i first started writing about eco fashion, i did general google searches, held my breath + hoped for the best. but the days of aimless eco fashion wandering are gone thanks to miss schmitz. see what all the hype is about right here. 

bottom image via bead + reel}

Saturday, September 12, 2015

{simple pleasures} with sugar on top

{today's simple pleasures}

fritz pastry: doesn't take a lot to make this gal happy. one savory scone + one good read equals one happy girl. the math is simple. get your fritz fix of vegan delights including mouthwatering donuts + scones, cinnamon rolls + muffins

the artist's cafe: organic tea time at my favorite chicago haunt in my go-to eco uniform: ethically produced white tee + nudie jeans. legendary tv talk show host johnny carson frequented this charming cafe. crazy stuff

{top image by christina pippin; wearing cotton tee by everlane
bottom image by cats like scotch}

Friday, September 11, 2015

{eco beauty picks} dry shampoo: the secret to strong, silky strands

my friend lauren once pointed out that for someone who loves to read as much as i do, she couldn't understand why i never read recipes or the instructions for cooking + meal prep {hence minor mayhem + culinary calamities in the kitchen}. cooking instructions + recipes don't have compelling plots or clever characters: they're kind of like little laundry lists of things to do all at once in my mind's eye. 

although i heard that making your own dry shampoo was as easy as pie {a bit of water, a little cornstarch, a few drops of essential oil + a touch of witch hazel and voila!}, i admit, i was still not propelled to seek out a recipe + make a bantam bowl of it. 

i was, however, inspired to seek out the best natural, organic + vegan dry shampoos i could find. what i discovered were some pretty amazing makers + companies giving us water-free, nontoxic ways to keep hair looking healthy + lustrous, when wash+go days become, well, powder+go days. {not sure how to powder? scroll down for sprinkling tips}

here are four of my top choices, and one honorable mention {so much more than corn starch on these lists of eco ingredients}:
1/ one love organics: this dry shampoo has a sweet, sacchariferous scent + promises to soften, strengthen + nourish. it delivers on all counts. limp locks really come alive after a light dusting. plant-based fragrances yield a fresh + exhilarating bouquet {actually, as i write this post, i find myself sprinkling a touch to my already clean hair just for the scent}. they have a petite size which is perfect for this wayfaring gal who loves to travel light. made from georgia kaolin clay, organic rice starch, tapioca starch + bamboo extract. no chemicals, only the good stuff. 

2/ lulu organics: linda aldredge uses food-grade ingredients + no preservatives to craft her handmade, all organic hair powder. they say not to judge a book by its cover, but linda's vintage-inspired packaging is as lovely as her product is effective {i keep it on display in my bathroom}. this dry shampoo is made with love in minneapolis from organic corn starch, rice powder + horsetail powder, white clay + essential oils. there are four scents to choose from {including jasmine and vetiver + black pepper}. i use patchouli amber, and each time i do someone nosedives into my hair + asks about the amazing scent; this simultaneously startles me + puts a smile on my face. available in regular or travel size for gyspy souls. find it at sparrow here in chicago or at these fine establishments

3/ acure organics: argan stem cell + coq10 dry shampoo was my first, and they say you never forget your first. the truth is, this dry shampoo + i are still an item. this is a fast-acting product that absorbs excess oil + adds texture. with it's light, clean scent, it's still my fave for no-wash days since the odor doesn't clash with the aroma of perfumes i may choose to wear. made from non-gmo organic corn starch + french white clay and oat flour + slippery elm bark flour with lavender + chamomile essential oils. the bottle reads "save water! go dry!" and i say saving water can only be a good thing. paraben, phthalate + sulfate free.  

4/ skinny skinny: offers two invigorating scents: black pepper + rose and grapefruit + cardamom. i'm always drawn to the refreshing scent of grapefruit, so this was my pick. ss breaks it down for green hearts: The purpose of dry shampoo is to make it possible to go day/s without actually washing your hair. This helps to make sure that hair is healthier because excess washing strips the hair of natural oils and makes it dull and brittle. Many spray formulas are made from toxic ingredients like butane or propane and leave a visible residue in the hair. This unique formula was created to disappear completely in the hair. With exceptionally mild and effective ingredients like kaolin clay and organic orris root powder.

5/ moody sisters skincare: a jar with a twist cap for no spills, what a novel idea! sister duo, jess + whitney are handcrafting their dry shampoo in the beautiful state of washington. this handmade shampoo is the right price + great for travel. made with organic arrowroot powder, lemon peel powder + witch hazel.

frankly, i only had one concern when delving into the world of dry shampoos: would my head + hair smell fresh? i thought a product designed to absorb oils would dry out your hair, but these shampoos actually moisturize + add texture to limps locks. here's the trick to using ds: sprinkle dry shampoo on a powder brush, then blow as you would with foundation powder. separate hair + pat dry shampoo on roots of hair. use fingers or hairbrush to brush hair. ta da! 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

{simple pleasures} petals + peace

let us be good stewards of the earth we inherited.

kofi annan

{today's simple pleasures}

fair trade blooms: pale pink spray roses from whole foods market

this quote: by the brilliant, british anthropologist jane goodall via animal behavior
see her tour dates here {september 21 she is in new york for a speaking engagement in honor of the un's international day of peace}. road trip anyone? 

{top photo by f+d / bottom photo via animal behavior}

Friday, September 4, 2015

{eco brand of the week} animal behavior: follow your instincts

trust instinct to the end, even though you can give no reason.

ralph waldo emerson

my mother always told me to trust my instincts. over the years she applied this sage advice to prospective job opportunities, future travel plans, my love life, and yes, even wardrobe decisions. 

i learned that when i listened to my instincts, i was a happy girl. 

malanie linehan, founder of ethical fashion label animal behavior, followed her natural instincts in december of 2014 and they did not lead her astray. 

linehan married her eye for great design to her passion for animals and created a fashion label with visceral appeal. the premier collection is composed of perfectly tailored pieces in ivory + black {with small doses of color that can be found in her leopard-printed tops}. 

the cool, minimalist line includes easy-fitting blazers, perfect summer-to-fall topshigh-waisted shorts with a noir touch - a contrasting band, and a sleek, sandstone jumpsuit that is a showstopper {the object of my ardor is this jumper. wear it to work, wear it to play; ladies, wear it anywhere. available soon in black}. 

all garments are constructed of salvaged + sustainable textiles including surplus stock chiffon + tencel {this textile is of botanic origin as it comes from the pulp of eucalyptus trees}. every piece is made in sunny los angeles, california including zippers, buttons + labels {which makes ab part of the 2% of garment companies that manufacture their clothes in the usa; that's right, 98% of the clothing purchased in america is imported}. 

more good news: these high-style pieces are easy on the budget, and most importantly, 5% of all sales will be donated to {an organization dedicated to reversing the endangerment + extinction of the amur leopard + other big cats: with less than 40 amur leopards in existence, animal behavior both educates consumers + offers hope to a dwindling species}.

i'd like a peek inside melanie linehan's closet. i imagine her wardrobe to be a monochromatic sea of fitted contours + fine tailoring with a smattering of color + whimsy. animal behavior's crop of sculpted looks with clean cuts satiates a growing demand from conscious consumers. this eco brand offers more than chic clothes, but a reminder to make purchasing decisions that will positively affect our delicate ecosystem. it starts here: follow your instincts.

visit animal behavior for the good goods or follow them on ig, fb or pinterest.

{image via animal behavior}

Monday, August 17, 2015

{eco sale} reformation's wardrobe renewal

help me to help you, eco fashionistas. 

this is it. the sale you may have wished for, you might have hoped for. the reformation, the brand that makes the clothes we want to wear {killer clothes that don't kill the environment} is hosting their annual sale. prices. so. low.

we get by with a little help from our friends.

right here, ladies. 

{image via the reformation}

Monday, August 10, 2015

{eco boutique of the week} local eclectic: baubles, bangles + beads

baubles, bangles + beads is a song by frank sinatra that puts a smile across my face. sinatra croons, his voice velvety as ever, "baubles, bangles, bright shiny beads; sparkles, spangles, your heart will sing; you'll glitter and gleam so, you're gonna make somebody dream so..."

as a gal who's daily uniform consists of white + black tees worn with boyfriend jeans or oversized chinos, my tomboy style could at best be described as simple + unfussy {like a good relationship, ya know?}. i admit, my minimalist approach to dressing is a bit premeditated.

as an artist preps her canvas, so i am creating a backdrop.

i love to use my body as canvas for jewelry pieces that add impact. each morning i delight in small pleasures like donning my handmade rings + necklaces, remembering the artisans, their studios and the stories behind each creation. 

picking + choosing each piece is as much fun as wearing it, when you have found a meticulously curated site of indie designers like local eclectic.   
chicago-based entrepreneur alexis nido-russo is the founder of local eclectic. alexis has become an accomplished collectionneuse of the finest artisans, bringing together jewelry + fashion designers on her e-commerce site.

visitors have the opportunity to learn about each artist: which state they hale from, their journey as designers, and the motivation + inspiration that allowed each specific piece to come to fruition. 

i learned that my fave pyrite cuff by dea dia {pictured above + worn daily by yours truly} was the result of a serendipitous moment in jessica lawson's workroom. i like to say that in life there are no mistakes, just opportunities to learn + grow. here's a perfect example!

i also loved finding out that the inspo behind jessie yaeger's line i like it here is her grandfather, who started a club to boost morale of fellow pow's at a japanese pow camp during world war two. she tries to stay positive on a daily basis, and that's something on board with, not to mention her gorgeous sculptural pieces

designer brooke persich shares one of her fave quotes: "if i create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing." marc chagall

there's something timeless, something rather important about artfully crafted accessories; handmade pieces that will last a lifetime. online eco boutique, local eclectic offers irresistibly appealing jewelry + accessories that are indeed scene-stealers. so, head on over for some sparkle and oh, shipping, my friends, is always free. voilĂ !

{image via local eclectic}

Friday, May 15, 2015

{eco read} a green beauty: mara schiavetti's radical agenda

one of my best gal pals + i share a mutual love of movie previews. we really don't want to miss those clips + snips of what's to come. it's fun to see what's being made: the infinitely droll, the heart-stopping dramas, the life affirming documentaries.

in the same way, i love to leaf through magazines while waiting at check-out counters to see what is being created. i use these small scraps of time to explore the work of burgeoning editors, writers + artists. sometimes i put the publication back on its perch where it was neatly nestled, but other times i'm compelled to take the magazine home with me.

the latter happened with a green beauty magazine.

one can feel the passion flowing from the pages of a green beauty, an utterly edgy biannual publication focused on ethical + sustainable fashion and holistic health + beauty {and printed on 100% post consumer paper!}.

mara schiavetti is the founder and editor in chief of agb, and she has created a lavish visual experience for her readers. she brings together a collective of story makers + story lovers with a mutual respect + appreciation for the slow fashion movement + socially conscious living.

this publication faithfully delivers smart, soulful content, introducing the next generation of great designers + environmental stewards along with crisp fashion editorials + lush photography.

included on the back page of agbm is a guide to the sustainable practices implemented by the companies featured in the pages of their mag. the acronym "grow leavz" identifies each enterprise's social responsibility commitment: g} give back, r} recycle, o} organic, w} fair trade, l} local, e} ethical, a} artisan, v} vegan, z} zero waste, s} sustainable.

i loved spotting some of my fave cruelty-free, eco shoe labels, including vegetarian shoes, sydney brown + the people's movement on the list. i'm really looking forward to future editions of this inspired publication.

i do believe if mara schiavetti is not careful, she will have the whole world falling in love with ethical fashion.