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I took a lot of notes at the DC Sustainable Fashion Collective 's Unveiling Fashion event in September. But those notes, in most ways, don't tell the story of what I actually learned. That's because the event, for me, was more about tangible energy, impressions , quiet conversations, and knowing applause. It was about occupying physical space. It was about living, breathing, tangible people. Ahhh! (That's a sigh of relief.) After years cooped up in my internet hole, I was finally set free at the dog park. When you're sitting in your robe and mismatched socks (ethical influencer Benita Robledo, who I met at the conference, calls it her "bird lady" outfit) gazing out at your overcrowded, paper strewn kitchen table in a moment of distraction between responding to emails and writing blog posts, it can be very easy to forget what it feels like to be a functioning human. Identity-building is traditionally about navigating your place in community, but whe...
I've been in conversation with a few representatives at Everlane over the past two weeks to answer your pressing questions about Everlane's ethical standards.  I was planning on posting this in a couple weeks once I have answers to my follow-up questions, but now it looks like they're launching a big, official question and answer session on Instagram (well played, Everlane), so it only makes sense to try to be "first to market" (not sure that actually applies in this case) and push this post out in tandem with this momentous occasion in Everlane's radical transparency journey, a journey that hasn't always been very transparent at all . As I noted a couple weeks ago , Everlane is a tough one to categorize when it comes to ethical fashion, both because they took a very corporate, tech-y approach to their business model from the outset - versus other ethics-forward companies that started as small, handmade businesses - and because their ethical clai...
Here's proof that ethical fashion is more than a temporary trend. The market has exploded and there are so many ways to dress ethically. Nowhere is that more obvious than in a side-by-side comparison of ethical dresses. From tailored and business appropriate to prim and proper to artisan chic, you can express yourself - and stay true to your lifestyle - without compromising on sustainability, cultural sensitivity, and labor rights. I hand selected brands and products for this sponsored post in an effort to offer the best firsthand information. All brands prioritize ethical labor practices, and items featured are made with sustainable, biodegradable fibers like tencel and cotton. In addition, 5 out of 6 companies are women owned. This post contains affiliate links. With results from the Reader Survey in mind, I specifically chose to feature dresses that cost at or less than $200. The 6 Best Places to Find Ethical Dresses Under $200 1 | Hackwith Design House The Story: ...
When I am helplessly sad, you may not notice. Because when the anxieties and dramas of life are manageable, believe me, I will tell you. There's a reason one of my nicknames growing up was Leah Whiner . But when things feel out of control - when I am grieving - I become stoic. You will see me laughing, but you will not see my tears, because I've buried them deep in my chest where they carve a deep gorge. Eventually I will break. This week was the breaking point. The tears unloosed, I am ready to speak. In early August, my Grandma Rosie died suddenly. Three weeks later my Grandma Howell died, too. I barely made it to Grandma Rosie's funeral because the men in the family insisted on rushing things. I couldn't make it to Grandma Howell's funeral because the men in the family ignored the pleas of my mother to delay it. Around the same time, my dad got a job in Florida and my parents began the process of selling their house in Ohio and moving back down. My gr...
Working at a thrift shop has been an education in clothing and textile history. There's the fun part - changing silhouettes, sizing, and color stories - and then there's the bleak part: today's clothing simply doesn't last. I discovered the curious and creative world of vintage clothing collecting in college when I first started crawling thrift shops for deals. From 1950s cotton day dresses to thick polyester '70s gowns to the sweet rayon florals of the the '90s, each garment told a story not just of fickle fashion trends but of new technologies, globalization, social progress, and changing lifestyles. This is an intimate tactile history that we can still partake in directly by continuing to appreciate and use garments that have held up for as many as 70 or 80 years. But what will our grandchildren and great grandchildren see when they enter a thrift shop decades from now? Ethical Details: No. 22 Dress in Blueberry Check - c/o Pyne & Smith Clot...
Akamai sent me products for review & this post contains affiliate links.  Let me start off this review by saying that I don't like multi-use products as a rule. I find that in almost all cases, they serve one purpose really well and disappoint in other categories, so my normal beauty/personal care routine contains distinct products for distinct uses (with the exception of my SW Basics Cream, which I use for lots of things). So when Akamai reached out offering products for review, I planned to find the best use for each item rather than make it work in all the ways described on their site. EcoCult and Temporary-House Wifey reviewed their lineup about a year ago with mixed feelings, but I wanted to test the products myself and see what I could discover. Akamai's Philosophy Akamai's overarching philosophy is what I would describe as effective simplicity . As their multi-use premise would suggest, they're interested in making personal care easier, reducing ...
I hand selected products and brands for this co-sponsored post. Contains affiliate links. For some reason, I always get the urge to change my handbag in the fall. It's probably the back-to-school scheduling that's been reinforced since kindergarten, but I also think it has something to do with pre-winter nesting. "Get your act together, Leah. The cold days will soon be here." There are a lot of ethical brands that sell beautiful, vegetable tanned leather handbags, but honestly, I'm trying to get away from new leather goods for both environmental and ethical reasons. I recently befriended a shoemaker who gave me some pretty startling information about the nature of leather and its relationship to the meat industry and read this post on child labor by my friend, Tavie, and it made me realize that if I'm serious about conservation and ethics, I need to do more to reduce the use of animal products in my life. (The shoemaker will be featured in an interview...
I wrote this piece last fall when the events of August 12th in Charlottesville were still fresh in my mind, and when the trauma of that day kept showing up in the form of panic attacks (they still happen but not as frequently). I think I opted not to publish at that time because I wasn't ready to engage with the feedback. But a year later, this post is still relevant, and still important. Both terrible and beautiful things have funneled through the noise of social media in the last year, proving that it's an important tool for advocacy and connection, but we still have work to do. (I attended a wonderfully life affirming sustainable fashion event in DC last weekend that I'm hoping to write about soon. But I need time to catch up.) I'm starting to notice a major weak point in activist circles.  There's a growing gulf between those of us who are part of online - mainly twitter - social justice communities and those of us who choose to remain offline (or at lea...
Sponsored by Malia Designs By now, it will surprise no one that I love a practical bag.  Pockets, zippers, compartments, and an adjustable strap are the key to a happy long term relationship with a handbag. It also helps when it's lightweight and made with ethics and sustainability in mind. So Malia Designs , who I've worked with for a couple years, is a natural choice... Why Malia Designs? Malia Designs was founded by a Peace Corps veteran (Lia) and her best friend (Maria) to provide economic opportunity to women in Cambodia by working with preexisting co-ops under fair trade guidelines to create practical, versatile bags, often made with readily available recycled materials. In addition to advancing the goals of fair trade, Malia Designs gives back to agencies that fight human trafficking in Cambodia and the US. During 13 years of business, Malia Designs has assisted in the sustainable growth of the co-ops they work with and donated over 160,000 dollars to anti-...
I've received lots of questions about Everlane's rating on Good on You over the past few months. This is my response. What is Good On You? Good on You is a popular app that rates companies along a scale of 1-5 according to a fixed rubric , measuring environmental impact, labor rights, and animal welfare. As a general rule, Good on You is a good resource, not just because it makes an effort to provide consistent measurements across the industry, but because of its scope: it covers both brands marketed as ethical and conventional brands with the same rating system.  But there are a few gaps in the rating system that make it more subjective than it looks, and nowhere is this more obvious than with Everlane. Everlane's Rating on Good on You Everlane receives 2/5 stars or a "Not Good Enough" rating on Good on You. Read their review before continuing . Before you mistake this piece as an impassioned defense of Everlane, let me say this: Good on ...