Style Wise | Ethical Fashion, Fair Trade, Sustainability

SUSTAINABLE STYLE & ETHICAL LIVING

style swap: my favorite ethical dress

Today's post is brought to you by Julia of Fair-for-All Guide. Julia and I thought it would be fun to do an ethical style swap, so we each chose our favorite fair trade dress to style for each other's blogs! Enjoy the post and check out Julia's blog to see my outfit.

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This dress reminds me of summer weddings, especially when I wear it with a string of pearls. Since I don't have any weddings on docket this year, today I paired it with a cubic silver necklace and paper bead bracelet to play along with the vibrant semi-geometric print.


One of my favorite things about this dress is the super-long sash. It's probably a good seven feet long and I have to wrap it around myself multiple times, which adds more visual interest to the waistline. The dress itself is a very simple shape, basically just a big sack with understated detailing around the neck until you add the sash.


The drawstring hem of this dress puzzled me to no end when I got it. I didn't notice it in the online images when I bought the dress, so it came as a surprise. I like the slightly gathered shape it gives the skirt, even though it is a little bizarre to have a bow dangling down the side of my leg.

I've thought about attempting to make a similar dress out of extra-large t-shirts, but I haven't taken the plunge yet. The existing hem of a t-shirt would be an excellent sheath for the bottom drawstring.


This is only one of several dresses I have from Fair Indigo, all of which are wicked comfortable and versatile, but this one is my favorite. I don't wear it as often as I could since the print is so memorable, but the fact that I tend to save it for important occasions just serves to make it more special.

Outfit Details:
Dress: Ethos Paris brand purchased from Fair Indigo
Necklace: From Indianapolis fair trade store Global Gifts
Bracelet: Bead for Life
Shoes: Oka B.

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Thanks, Julia! To check out my post, head over to Fair-for-All Guide.

warm days ahead: an ethical wishlist

ethical summer wishlist


When I started buying primarily ethical clothing, I didn't really believe I'd be able to reduce my overall consumption. Shopping was such a huge part of my life and I always wanted the next new thing. But I've been pleasantly surprised with the progress I've made.

When you commit to buying ethically sourced items, you end up spending more time researching and more money per item, which means (theoretically) that your consumption should go down with minimal effort, but it's easy to get caught up in sales or go crazy at the thrift store (something I'm still working on) and end up right where you started, carelessly buying.

It helps me to make a pared down visual representation of what I'm looking for so I can stay focused. This season, I'd love to purchase:


There's no possible way I can buy all of this in one season, but I can keep my eye out for sales and similar items. 

Are you adding anything to your closet this season? 

behind the scenes: Liz Alig Fair Trade

liz alig's studio

This post was written by Julia of Fair-For-All Guide. The original post is available on her blog, here. Thanks for letting me share it, Julia!

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In an old farmhouse at an orchard east of Indianapolis is a hidden fashion design studio you’d never know was there. It’s the headquarters of Liz Alig, and a couple of weeks ago founder Elizabeth Roney invited me to visit the studio.

I had never been behind the scenes of any kind of fashion business, let alone a fair trade fashion company, so I came with tons of questions and left with a head full of knowledge (along with a bunch of food I bought at the adjacent country store).

Here are the biggest things I learned:

1. A small team can have a big impact. 


The first thing I was impressed to learn was that Liz Alig is only a two-person operation. Elizabeth, as designer and operations manager, designs the collections and handles the logistics of communicating with the fair trade producers. Liz Alig is focused on wholesale distribution through boutiques around the country, so Elizabeth has a part-time sales and marketing associate help with that end of things.

It was encouraging to see a small team make such a big impact. Through the work of just two people, Liz Alig provides opportunity to fair trade producers in several developing countries and offers conscious consumers an ethical and fashion-forward clothing option.

2. Design is a small part of the process. 


Elizabeth told me that the design part of being a fashion designer actually only takes up a fraction of her time. Liz Alig releases two collections a year, fall and spring, and each collection takes about two weeks to design. It takes another two weeks to create the patterns the producers will use to make the orders.

After creating the patterns, Elizabeth will make a sample of each piece and send it to the producer group, or more often, she will send the group the pattern and have them make the sample themselves with a sketch to guide them. “That way they understand more how the piece is assembled,” Elizabeth says.

The rest of Elizabeth’s time is spent working with the producer groups to make and receive the orders, which I learned has its own set of unique challenges.

3. Cultural miscommunication is a common occurrence. 


Liz Alig works with producer groups in Cambodia, India, Honduras, Haiti and more, and each group has different capabilities and resources. I asked about the language barrier, and Elizabeth said she frequently uses Google Translate to communicate with the different groups...

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To read the rest, check out the original post at Fair-For-All Guide here

#whomademyclothes? ZADY knows

fashion revolution day 2015 zady

Zady is an ethical brand and business that goes above and beyond your average ethics-minded company. They're activists who made a huge splash when they bought a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal to post their manifesto a couple years ago. They're also the US headquarters for the Fashion Revolution Day movement (are you wearing your clothes inside out today?)

To highlight the fact that labor rights and sustainability go hand in hand, Zady released their .02 T-Shirt on Earth Day and just before Fashion Revolution Day. It's made from start to finish in the United States, so the supply chain is transparent and traceable.

We need to demand better in every step of the supply chain: better regulation, better materials, better treatment of people and planet. One way for companies to ensure that this is being done is to source and manufacture products on a smaller scale, within the same region (Everlane did this with their soon-to-be-released street shoe) or closer to the parent company, like Zady did with the .02 tee. We can't change an industry if we don't know what's going on inside of it, and companies don't feel obligated to hold themselves accountable if they're not even sure who makes their clothes, so we need to keep asking Who made my clothes? until we get real answers.

The conscientious consumer movement feels like Guerrilla warfare a lot of the time. We're full of ideas, but we're not united. We can't always see who or what we're fighting against, or who we're fighting for. Transparency is vital and there's no better time than now to start moving forward together.

So wear your clothes inside out today, or don't. But stir up people to join the team and spread the word. We need all the help we can get.


Read more Fashion Revolution Day posts from the Ethical Blogger Network:

Read more posts from the Ethical Writers Coalition:

the moral wardrobe: Gaia Couture Shabazi Top + Renee Dress

gaia couture shabazi top

The awesome women of Gaia Couture sent me a couple sustainable garments to review. As noted in Monday's interview, Gaia Couture founder Joy Martinello believes strongly in promoting companies and clothing that adhere to strict eco and labor guidelines. Each product listing on the site has an Eco Scorecard with detailed information about production and sourcing so that customers can know exactly what they're getting. 

sustainable clothing
eco-friendly fashion blogger
Outfit One: Top - Shabazi c/o Gaia Couture; Sandals - thrifted; Earrings - handmade by Hannah Naomi

This Shabazi Top is the coolest thing I've ever worn. I tried it on and strutted out into the living room to show Daniel (who didn't really care that much), then kept strutting right out the door to take photos. The draping is original and flattering, and the sash can be worn up as a cowl or kept long and loose. This top is made of a sustainable bamboo/spandex blend and is made in Canada under fair trade guidelines.

sustainable bodycon dress
gaia couture renee dress
black and white fair trade dress
Outfit Two: Dress - Renee c/o Gaia Couture; Necklace: Common Thread Refugee Co-op (Charlottesville);  Belt - swapped; Sandals - Betula 

The Renee Dress is a fun twist on black and white stripes, with free form marks that look like they've been dry-brushed onto the fabric. It's lightweight and extremely soft, curve hugging, and an appropriate length for every day wear. It's made of a bamboo/spandex blend and manufactured under fair trade guidelines in China. 

The Shabazi Top retails for $78.00 and the Renee Dress retails for $68.00 on the Gaia Couture website. Though both items are just outside my comfort zone price-wise, the size charts were spot on and the Shabazi Top in particular is definitely worth the money. 

interview: Joy Martinello of Gaia Couture

sustainable fashion boutique

I'm so excited to introduce you to Joy Martinello, founder of Gaia Couture, a sustainable and ethical boutique for women. Joy has had a really interesting ethical journey and is chock full of information about the industry. 

The intersection of eco-friendly and fair trade isn't discussed enough - often they're two separate conversations - so it's rather timely that we're talking about it today with Earth Day and Fashion Revolution Day just a few days away. I hope you enjoy the interview and learn something new!


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First, tell me a bit about yourself.

I was born in outside Chicago, IL, moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida when I was 10 and grew up the rest of the way in the West Palm Beach area.
I have always been in love with clothing and costumes. I was a child actress and studied costume design in college at Tufts University in Boston which opened my mind to exploring both the creativity available to us in the world of fabrics and colors, as well sartorial philosophy and why people wear what they do. It was also in college that I became aware of the many degradations being visited upon our beautiful earth and upon workers via the garment industry. For many years it’s been a dream of mine to do something creative with my clothing skills that would help promote sustainable fashion...
I started Gaia Couture with the hope that we can keep growing and changing our inventory to reflect what women ages 25-60 are looking for in clothes that fit their lifestyle. We had our lovely [brick and mortar] shop for a year and a half and then it became clear that our online store was going to be the more sustainable version of our business so we closed the brick and mortar shop in January. My theory is if we can offer beautiful styles that become customer favorites and people turn more and more often to buying eco fashion, we can start to elevate the demand for organic clothing which will mean more sustainable bamboo forests and organic cotton fields, more factories where workers are treated fairly, and more opportunities to do business with integrity in a way that will create a more just and happy world for all.
As I’m working hard to get Gaia Couture off the ground (with some wonderful help from some amazing women), I also have a full time job in the adventure travel industry. I send people to Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands among other places. For that job I went to Kenya in November and it was unbelievable. We in the US don’t really have a context other than Disney for what it’s like to be the wild habitat of these animals. Standing 10 feet from lions or elephants or looking out across the vast plains at Mt. Kilimanjaro put me in powerful connection with the Earth and its extraordinary beauty—just a few more reasons to fight for cleaner clothing manufacturing.

Was there a particular moment or experience that made you consider how your consumer habits affected people and planet? 

I had been sheltered as a child, raised by parents who didn’t believe in global warming and didn’t see any problems with the use of harsh chemicals in our world. It was when I went to college and lived in a cooperative house in my sophomore year that I was finally confronted the with consequences of our many damaging choices as a culture. I finally realized how polluted our planet had become and how many people were suffering unnecessarily all over the world. From that time on I vowed to do what I could to make positive change. Everyone needs food, shelter and clothing (and art!) and I vowed to contribute to these needs in ways that support healing and well being for the planet and everyone.

gaia couture eco-friendly

What about sourcing? Do you manufacture your own line or buy from small brands? How do you ensure that products were produced ethically and sustainably? 

Gaia Couture is a retailer that carries other people’s lines. We have made the pledge that our clothes are at least 90% organic, leaving space for things like Lycra or Spandex as people like their clothes to stretch (they wouldn't fit well or wear well if they didn't). We choose designers who are involved in every aspect of their production and who guarantee having followed strict Fair Trade guidelines. These people know where their cotton comes from, where their bamboo comes from and they inspect their production facilities regularly for any abuses. 
We do carry some fabrics that don’t fit into the “certified organic” category yet that are sustainably made using closed loop systems that do not release any toxins into the environment (or negligible amounts). Modal® made from beech trees, Tencel® made from birch trees, and bamboo are such fabrics. Chemicals are required to break down these tough fibers into fabric; however, the manufacturers we work with have data showing that their systems are closed loops and not polluting. 
I’ve recently added prAna’s hemp/organic cotton yoga wear to our site. Hemp is grown in China without pesticides yet it comes from many sources and probably some polluting happens at different farms, as it is unregulated. Beaver Theodosakis and his people at PrAna have assured me that they know where this hemp came from and it has not been grown with any pesticides. 
At some level, it becomes a matter of trust. I personally know all the designers I buy clothes from and I know them to be ethical people who want positive change as much as I do. Yes, we have to make a living so we all have to sell clothes, but at the end of the day it’s right livelihood that matters to these people, that matters to me. I’m committed to living a true life that’s grounded in loving kindness, this means being kind to the Earth, kind to all the people who make the clothes, kind to all people who buy the clothes, and being kind to myself too. Kindness is the only thing that really matters.

Do you find it difficult to source items that are both eco-friendly and labor-friendly? In what ways do you see the eco and fair trade movements working together? How could they communicate more effectively? 

Actually, if a garment is made from organic fabrics, it’s fairly common to find out that this designer also adheres to Fair Trade practices with their manufacturing. Most designers willing to limit their fabric choices and design more expensive clothes using organic fabrics, rather than making a quick buck with fast fashion and synthetics, are also going to go the extra mile and make sure their garments are ethically produced. 
The opposite is more common, where we run across lovely garments that are made using Fair Trade standards yet that are made from synthetics and commercially produced cotton etc. These people have good intentions probably yet are not willing to sacrifice the use of cheaper fabrics to protect the environment. Hopefully they will come around. 
The economics are still not with us unfortunately, which is why if you believe in protecting the environment it’s very important to tell your friends and family about the use of pesticides and about the gigantic piles of synthetic clothing taking centuries to biodegrade in landfills. More people buying organic will bring the prices down. It’s happened with organic food. Now it simply must happen with fabrics.

sustainable fashion boutique

What's your favorite item from the current collection? 

Right now my favorite piece is the Convertible Dress. It’s a great example of a super versatile clothing piece that can be worn two different ways (both sides can be worn as the front.) The designer, Blue Canoe, knows people are paying more for an organic dress. Not only does an organic dress have to look sexy and stylish, as it does, it also has to offer better value than a synthetic dress you’d wear a few times and throw away. The Convertible Dress is well made, super soft and flatters many body types.

What are your goals for Gaia Couture in the coming years? 

My dream is to have Gaia Couture become an online department store for gorgeous women’s clothes for every event in a woman’s life. I want Gaia to become a lifestyle brand that offers fashions, accessories, lingerie, jewelry, shoes, active wear, yoga clothes—everything a woman needs to look fabulous and have luscious life, all in one place. I want Gaia to sell enough clothes that we can make a powerful impact in how clothes are manufactured all over the world. I want to support and encourage young designers by showcasing their clothes to a loyal Gaia following. I’m a designer, too, and I’d like to have a Gaia line someday too. 
In short, I want to give traditional retailers a run for their money and gather enough support for organic clothing that finally making clothes any other way, and indeed living life in any other way, is shown for what it really is: irresponsible and completely unnecessary. 
People want to do good. People want to make choices that help others and protect our beautiful Earth. In this complex world they just don’t know how to follow through with those choices. With the emerging success and visibility of Gaia Couture, I’m hoping women everywhere will have an online place where choosing to do good suddenly gets a lot easier (and more fashionable.)


And finally, since Earth Day is this Wednesday, what's your favorite park or natural landmark? 

There’s nothing quite like an old growth forest, and when I think about my love for the Earth, I think about the countless hours I've spent sitting by Salmon River in the Mt. Hood National Forest here in Oregon marveling at the exquisite beauty and lushness. Nature is enormously healing for me. It breaks my heart to think these forests may all disappear. It’s happening in the rainforests in Brazil and Peru, why not here in this rainforest? People felt about those forests the way I feel about this one and now they’re irrevocably gone. It’s unbelievable. 
We’re all connected, and people felt fine about cutting down those forests because people like us in the US felt fine about buying the burgers that come from the cows now grazing that on that denuded land. Where will it end? When will we finally make better choices to protect our glorious planet? 
I think, if people have to shop, which they do as they have to buy clothes, hopefully shopping at Gaia Couture will help.
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Thanks for your time, Joy! Stay tuned for a review of some Gaia Couture items.

Mark your calendars for Fashion Revolution Day!

fashion revolution day 2015

Fashion Revolution Day is almost here! Last year, conscientious consumers were encouraged to ask the question, "Who made your clothes?" as a way of getting others to rally around the cause of universal ethical labor practices. This year, we're asking, "Who made my clothes?" to the brands and companies we support. We want transparency across the board. One of the best ways to get involved is to wear your clothing inside out on April 24th, post a photo to social media, and tag the companies represented in your outfit, making sure to ask: "Who made my clothes?"

The Fashion Revolution Day team has a great set of materials for spreading the word available here. I've excerpted a few questions from an interview with founder, Carry Somers, below (full interview available for download here).

What is Fashion Revolution Day? 

Each year, Fashion Revolution will drive forward a different campaign to tackle some of the fashion industry’s most pressing issues. It will keep the most vulnerable in the supply chain in the public eye and challenge the industry to do better. It will also demonstrate that change is possible by showcasing examples of those who are already creating a better future for fashion.
Fashion Revolution Day, on 24 April, will rally the high street, the high end, the designers, the brands, the shoppers, the media, the commentators, the activists and everyone in between. After the impact achieved last year, Fashion Revolution Day is set to become a significant annual, global event.

Why this date? 

On 24 April 2013, 1133 people were killed when the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Many more were injured. Today, people are still suffering as a direct result of our fashion supply chain. Fashion Revolution Day says enough is enough. We need to show the world that change is possible.
fashion revolution day graphics

What are you trying to achieve? 

Fashion Revolution will become a catalyst for change through a number of routes. We want to raise awareness of the true cost of fashion and its impact at every stage in the process of production and consumption; show the world that change is possible through celebrating those involved in creating a more sustainable future; bring people together the length of the value chain to ask questions and share best practice; and work towards long-term industry-wide change, getting consensus from the entire supply chain around what changes need to happen.
This year, brands and retailers will be challenged to take responsibility for the individuals and communities on which their business depends. By taking an inside-out selfie, posting it on social media and asking the brand Who Made My Clothes? people around the world can show support for greater transparency throughout the fashion supply chain.
Much of the fashion industry is burying its head in the sand. Fashion Revolution is a global movement and we will bring the message straight from the cotton farmer, the mill dyer, the seamstress, the knitter, the weaver directly to the consumer, to show the truth, to show where change needs to happen, and how we, as consumers, can make a difference. For real change to happen, every part of the supply chain has to make a commitment to change, and that includes us.

What do you say to people who were horrified at the disaster, but can’t afford to pay extra for ethically–sourced clothing? 

We’re not asking people to boycott their favourite stores, we need to change the fashion industry from within. By asking the brands and retailers where we like to shop Who Made My Clothes? we can put pressure on them to be more transparent about their supply chains.
In terms of the price, three quarters of those questioned in a YouGov/Global Poverty Project survey said they would be likely to pay an extra 5% for their clothes if there was a guarantee workers were being paid fairly and working in safe conditions. It has been estimated that putting as little as 25p onto the cost of a garment made in Bangladesh would provide the producers with a living wage and pay for factories to meeting fire and building safety standards.

I hope you'll join me this year and ask, "Who made my clothes?"

  • Find local #fashrev events here
  • Spread the news on social media with the help of these resources
  • Pin and share the graphics on this post. 

fast fashion

on seeing people


This post is a follow up to my previous post, You Don't Have to Feel It

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I tell the college-aged women at my church that service industry work builds character, and I truly believe that. You're being paid to interact with whoever comes in the door; to answer even dumb questions with kindness; and to treat rich and poor, annoying and pleasant with impartiality and grace. Now, I haven't always seen this principle of equality practiced that effectively among my coworkers and I admit to being less-than-welcoming on a few occasions, but I believe in the ideal, and that normally keeps me from snapping. 

Life has changed a lot since I got my first retail job and it's changed even more since August, when I started managing a church-run charity shop. Suddenly, most of my coworkers were 60+  and my customer base became a lot more diverse. While it wasn't always easy to please the affluent, international clientele at the coffee shop on the Downtown Mall (an outdoor pedestrian street full of local shops and street musicians), it was predictable enough to fall into a rhythm. Wealthy, left-leaning business people seemed more alike than different, so I could easily go on auto pilot and I didn't have to hold my tongue - they appreciated the spectacle of their minimum wage barista chatting about politics and theology while the espresso grinder whirred in the background. 

But the thrift shop is different. The thrift shop doesn't discriminate. Due to its place in the retail hierarchy, it can't help but welcome all. We're here for the poor and the bored, the frazzled mom, the wealthy house wife, the college hipster. Anyone and everyone comes through that door. We've made coffee for a homeless couple who got caught in an autumn rain storm, outfitted a dog in a child's vest to keep it from getting cold, opened the staff lunch table to a new age hippie who lives on the outskirts of town, given free clothes to new mothers, bartered for tech services with a man with life-threatening allergies, and enlightened a donor about the global human trafficking industry. We've cried, prayed, and laughed. We've played with children and helped old ladies out to their cars. 

It sounds like utopia - and it is, in a way - but it isn't easy to keep being open to whatever the day holds. It's easier to sit in the back and chat with coworkers. It's easier to sit in my office in the dark, checking emails aimlessly or texting my husband. It's easier not to deal with the uncertainty of each new interaction. And things between me and the volunteer staff have gotten heated on more than one occasion. We gossip too much; we forget we come from different worlds.

I can no longer make assumptions about who people are, or how they'll react. With every interaction, it is made more clear that I'm dealing with individuals, not stereotypes. I have to see the person in front of me - really see them - and I have to make a little room in my heart for vulnerability and loosen the death grip I have around my perspective. This is community; it's not about me. 

This is what I'm getting at: mutual understanding doesn't come naturally. To see people, you have to be willing to get to know them. You have to ask them what they need instead of assuming you have the answers. You have to see past the small talk and really look them square in the face and try to memorize it for next time. You have to learn to do this every single time. And it's never easy. 

If we want to build a world full of compassionate people, if we want to change lives both here and across the globe, we have to start with the people right in front of us. We have to start having intentional interactions, every time. Charity becomes problematic when, instead of seeing the person on the other side, we only see ourselves reflected back. 

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Artwork: Communion by Ruth Meharg. Used with permission.

the moral wardrobe: all the neutrals

thrifted outfit
betula by birkenstock
minimalist neutrals
the moral wardrobe: all the neutrals
Ethical Details: Tee - Everlane; Cardigan - thrifted; Necklace - handmade via etsy; Sandals: Betula by Birkenstock*

I went through a couple of outfit changes to get to this one, but I'm so happy with the result. I used to avoid warm colors and neutrals, but I think last year's experiments with hair color helped me get a sense of what suits my complexion. I love coppery brown tones that highlight my natural hair color (isn't it crazy that I hadn't seen my natural hair color in all its glory for something like three years?).

I think my orientation to the fair trade industry has shifted slightly in the last few months. I'm trying to find and highlight more brands that are both fair trade and sustainable, because I think it's silly to avoid the inevitable conversation between the two movements. Additionally, I'm increasingly convinced that supporting factories with ethical labor standards in countries like China is just as important as supporting fair trade; they reform different parts of the same industry and I think supporting them in tandem is the way to go. Not everyone can be supported by a fair trade co-op. If there's greater consumer demand for well-maintained factories, more people can find good work. There are a lot of moving parts and it's easy to get overwhelmed, but I'm glad to know I can make choices that help.

*Betula sandals are made in Spain, where labor standards are high and regularly enforced. Parent company, Birkenstock, makes efforts to reduce energy and materials waste.

the moral wardrobe: Greenola Style (and a giveaway!)

greenola style giveaway
fair trade giveaway

Greenola Style uses "fashion as a tool to create positive change in the world." The company provides a global platform for artisans in Bolivia and Kenya through their website, offering accessories and jewelry that adhere to fair trade guidelines as defined by the Fair Trade Federation. They also donate a portion of profits to Solidarity Bridge, which helps Bolivian artisans access quality healthcare for both themselves and their families.

They sent me a beautiful necklace and bracelet set made of dyed acai seads and sparkling beads. It's not something I would normally pick out for myself, but I've worn it a lot since I received it. It adds a graphic touch to simple outfits and works well with a variety of colors and patterns. Plus, it's affordable - this is something I could have purchased for myself without stretching my budget.

the moral wardrobe: Greenola Style (and a giveaway!)
instagram giveaway

After a week of under-dressing for cool, early spring weather, I finally gave in and wore leggings. But then it was humid and 75, so I was uncomfortably warm! This season would be unpredictable anywhere, but I'm told Charlottesville has a mind of its own when it comes to weather. 

Greenola Style acai seed necklace

Greenola Style is offering a pretty sweet giveaway! Enter to win their Mavia Earrings and 2 Elizabeth stacking rings on instagram! Click this link or find the graphic shown below on instagram (@stylewiseblog) and make sure to follow the entry steps.

instagram giveaway

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The giveaway will go live on instagram at 8:30 am, April 8 and will run until Wednesday, April 15 at 11:59 pm EST; the winner will be announced by Saturday, April 18 on instagram. Open to readers in countries where Greenola Style ships.

the moral wardrobe: flowers

flowering tree
style post thredup
style post thredup
the moral wardrobe: flowers
style post thredup
Ethical Details: Top - secondhand via thredup; Necklace - c/o Greenola Style; Sandals - thrifted

I almost missed my chance to take photos of our backyard tree in bloom; by the time I got home today, nearly all the flowers had been replaced by bright green leaves.

This morning, I stopped downtown at the coffee shop where I used to work to redesign their chalkboard menu in exchange for some free drinks and a gift card. The whole thing still feels like a family operation and I'm just one of the kids. Seriously, that place was so good to me. I had no idea what I wanted out of life, I had no friends, and I knew nothing about Charlottesville, but they took me in and made me feel at home in this town, and in my own skin. While working on the menu today, I eavesdropped on a very important conversation between a local author and a production team that wants to buy the rights to adapt his newest book into a film set in India!

*Thanks to Greenola Style for the necklace. More info and a giveaway to follow shortly.

hey!

spring flowers

Hello and Happy Easter!

Life has been incredibly busy due to a combination of saying yes to too many things and being in my church choir in the midst of Easter service preparations. But services are over now and my schedule is (hopefully) clearing up a bit in the coming weeks. I'm doing some research on China's manufacturing industry for a post, organizing another giveaway, and attempting to write a homily for this Wednesday's Evening Prayer service at church.

This season's a busy one for the ethical fashion community, as well. April 24th is Fashion Revolution Day and May 9th is World Fair Trade Day and everyone is scrambling to spread the word. I encourage you to check out the websites for each cause, start a conversation at work or with a friend, get involved in the Fair Fashion Challenge on instagram, and follow your favorite ethical retailers on social media, who will be offering giveaways and posting resources through the coming weeks. 

And if you're in the mood for some fun reading this afternoon, here are a few articles I've enjoyed recently:

Inside Gap's Plan to Get Back Into Your Drawers

"The brand enjoyed a 15-year reign over classically cool, affordable American style, but it has spent the past decade-plus struggling with an identity crisis while new retailers have colonized much of its domain."

 Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous

"America will not dominate the 21st century by making cheaper computer chips but instead by constantly reimagining how computers and other new technologies interact with human beings."

How China Profits from Our Junk 

"In 2011 I visited a yard where men dismantled old aluminum deck chairs imported from somewhere warm and vacation-like. Over to one side was a pile of the blue and white nylon stripping that once hung between the metal frames (later to be sold to a plastics recycler), and a woman who spent the evening cutting it away from the chairs."

Dear American Apparel: Please #freethenipple (and pubes)

"You can argue that AA's original decision not to airbrush out, and many times, even flaunt those 'private parts' was nothing but a gimmick to court controversy-seeking press — and you may be right. But I can't think of a single other online brand that doesn't Photoshop them out."

And if you're interested in reading my Good Friday meditation, you can check it out here.

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I'm interested in knowing what you've been reading lately. Feel free to recommend some articles in the comments.

#fairfashapril style challenge: join us!

#fairfashapril

Join the Ethical Blogger Network for an ethical style challenge on instagram!

On April 24,2013, Rana Plaza, a multi-story clothing manufacturing facility just outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed, killing 1,129 workers and injuring more. It is the deadliest garment factory disaster in history.

Fashion Revolution Day was launched shortly after as a way to both honor the victims of that terrible tragedy and to rally people to help change the global manufacturing industry for the better. The Ethical Blogger Network devised a fun style challenge as a way to spark conversation and share ethical resources. We think it's a great way to unite people under a shared goal of greater transparency and safer working conditions for workers worldwide.

Join us and follow along using the hashtag, #fairfashapril. Share with the greater Fashion Revolution Day community with hashtag, #fashrev.