Style Wise | Ethical Fashion, Fair Trade, Sustainability

SUSTAINABLE STYLE & ETHICAL LIVING

The Moral Wardrobe: As Fate Would Have It

Ethical Details: Top - thrifted; Necklace - FashionABLE*; Shoes - old; Skirt - LuLaRoe

So, as fate would have it, the very week I posted my Buyer Be Wary post about Direct Sales schemes, one of my friends started down the course of quitting her day job to become a LuLaRoe Direct Sales representative. Still Being Molly covers LuLaRoe's ethical premise thoroughly, so I won't add anything to it (though I'm not quite convinced). 

Anyway, of course I got caught up in the excitement and made a purchase. That's the weird thing about ethics in action. At the systemic or institutional level, I don't buy it. I don't think direct sales is generally a good idea. I don't even think selling LuLaRoe is generally a good idea. But I want to see my friend thrive, so I made a purchase. I shrug my shoulders and I keep on keepin' on. I think it's important - vital even - to call attention to broad issues while being aware that, in reality, we have to weigh a variety of potential outcomes every time we make a moral decision. It's not cut and dried.

I wore this outfit to the best wedding ever and the fringe and twirly skirt were amazing on the dance floor (you may not know this about me, but I am a wedding dancing fiend). Great for polka dancing, especially!

Three Prayers for Workers in the Global Supply Chain

ethical fashion and christianity

Tonight I had the opportunity to give a talk on ethical fashion and Christianity for the college group associated with my church. It was a good opportunity to hone my sense of why this type of advocacy matters within a Christian context, and how I can best relate it back to traditional Biblical texts and narratives. 

At the end of the discussion, we broke into three groups and wrote prayers inspired by traditional Anglican prayer forms as a way of engaging more deeply with the reality of our inter-connectedness with workers across the supply chain and to provide a starting point for daily meditations on conscious consumerism. I am really inspired by what they came up with, and I want to share these prayers in case they may be useful to you in your personal meditations and reflections. 

As I mentioned on Instagram earlier today, I think there's an unnecessary divide between the "spiritual" folks (read: hippies) and the "religious" folks (read: fundamentalists) in the ethical living space. Instead of making negative assumptions about how people's beliefs inform their ethical practice, or lack thereof, I'd rather jump right in and help inform interpretation so that all of our actions can be grounded in both compassion-oriented belief and our more tangible experiences of injustice in the world.

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Three Anglican Prayers for Workers in the Global Supply Chain


God of compassion and creation,

Bless the hands who have made
our jeans, shirts, and jackets,

Help us to remember that these
hands and these people are part of
the Body of Christ.

Be with the men, women, and children
who spend more of their lives
making our clothes than we spend
wearing them.

We lament those whose lives have been taken
For the sake of production.

May we be moved to action.
To spread awareness. To be thoughtful
in our purchases. To have compassion
for neighbors no matter how
far away.

Amen.

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God of justice,

You call us to be a neighbor to all,
Help us to acknowledge the toil that
laborers around the world face.

Watch over those who labor in unsafe
working conditions,
Help us remain aware of the realities
facing people who make our clothes
and be conscious of our consumption.

Be with policymakers as they make
decisions that impact these people’s lives.

We ask that you bless the hands that
come into contact with our clothes – production
to possession. Give us courage to
recognize our privilege and make
change in our own lives.

Remind us that we are all made in
your image.

Amen.

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O God,
Creator of all people and things,

Be with your people in the global supply chain,
who you created in your likeness and
whose work contributes to our comfort.

Give us the courage to fight against
systems of oppression,
and help us raise up the voices of
the oppressed, who already have
the right and the power to
speak for themselves.

Keep us ever mindful of
the inextricable link between us.

We ask these things
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,
whose first disciples were marginalized
wage workers,

Amen.

Going Au Naturale: A Review Roundup of Credo Beauty Products

Credo Beauty all natural eco beauty review

I don't wear much makeup because I honestly think I look better without aggressive amounts of foundation, blush, and eye shadow. If my eyes weren't so sensitive, I could see myself doing a cat eye every now and then, but it's just not in the cards.

As I've said before, I have ridiculously sensitive skin. It built up over time, and I'm sure years of prescription benzoyl peroxide face wash did nothing to help. So, when I manage to find a beauty product that works for me, I will use it until they discontinue it which, unfortunately, is fairly frequently. I've been using The Body Shop products almost exclusively for the past few years. Their Tea Tree BB cream has great coverage and keeps my skin clear, and their eye shadow and blush shades are great for pale skin. They also source some ingredients from fair trade co-ops and recently re-committed themselves to their ethical and all natural stance.

That being said, I still *needed* to find a truly all natural mascara for my sensitive eyes, an aluminum free deodorant for my sensitive arm pits, and a new tinted balm or gloss just for fun.

Enter Credo Beauty...

Credo Beauty all natural eco beauty review for sensitive skin

Alden at EcoCult recommended Credo several months ago and I was just waiting for the right time to place an order. To get my free shipping, I went ahead and ordered 4 products: Lily Lolo mascara, HAN lip gloss, Fig + Yarrow Green Clay Mask, and Meow Meow Tweet deodorant. I purchased everything at regular price, but please note that there are some affiliate links in this post.

Here are my thoughts on each product:

Lily Lolo Mascara

Chemical and fragrance free, this mascara is both all natural and awesome. I've tried a handful of all natural mascaras before and they always, always flake or smudge. But this one doesn't and it makes my lashes look great with buildable coverage.

MY RATING: 5/5

Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Cream

Meow Meow Tweet makes this cream with and without baking soda because baking soda can irritate sensitive skin. I wasn't really sure which one to choose because I've never tried this or a similar formulation before, so I went with their standard cream at first, which includes the baking soda. First, let me say that this stuff really works. One application in the morning was all I needed to tame odors all day.

After a few days of use, however, I did have an allergic reaction, so I purchased the formula without baking soda through Amazon Prime (had to get it before I left town for the weekend!) and it's been working out well. I would say the staying power isn't as apparent in the baking soda free version, but it still does a better job than other natural deodorants.

MY RATING: 4/5

Fig + Yarrow Green Clay Mask

This was definitely a bit of an impulse buy, but I thought it would be fun to take it with me when I visited my parents for some mother-daughter bonding time. Though it may seem a little bit pricey, it comes in powder form that you can mix with yogurt, honey, or water for a custom facial. That also means you can make just what you need and the rest will store well, so it's a better value in the long run.

I liked this mask. My face seemed smoother after application, but not noticeably brighter or happier. To be honest, I'm not sure what I was expecting.

MY RATING: 3.5/5

HAN Lip Gloss in Nude Rose

Maybe it's because I've been nostalgic for childhood recently, but I am obsessed with this lip gloss! The vanilla fragrance is exactly the same as a gloss I had in middle school and it's fun to apply with the little wand.

A real throwback. But it's also a really good consistency - not sticky at all - and the subtle color is perfect for every day wear, especially with a fall color palette.

MY RATING: 5+/5

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Are there all natural products you can't live without? I'd love to hear about them!

Small Steps Toward Zero Waste Living

Zero waste living tips and climate change discussion


As I've learned more about the long term environmental consequences of over consumption in the clothing industry - from carbon emissions that contribute to catastrophic climate change to polyester fibers entering our oceans - I've simultaneously started bumping up against similar issues in my everyday consumption of hygiene products, toiletries, and food.

I'm ashamed to admit it now, but as a teenager I had this weird compulsion to leave just a little little bit of shampoo, lotion, and other liquid toiletries in their containers when I tossed them into the trash (strike two is that I rarely thought to take the bottle down from my bathroom to the recycling bin). That type of behavior was wasteful and unthinking no matter how you look at it. I'm training myself out of it, trying to remember to add a little water to the solution to get every last drop and always recycling my containers.

And, while I'm not fully on board with the Marie Kondo minimalism trend, I think we can take an important lesson from all this clearing out and wasting not hype: 

Reducing our consumption in small and big ways matters.


Every single thing we consume must be created from raw materials, produced or processed in a factory, and shipped to us from who-knows-where. All of this takes energy. And then when we're done consuming the product, whatever it may be, we're left with plastic bottles and wrap, paper packaging and single use containers. 

This isn't just about the environment - though I think at this stage, when climate scientists say we're experiencing the hottest year on record and it's too late to correct course, we must start seeing the environment as more than an object for our use. This is about ecosystems and animals and people, and it's about the entire system working correctly to biodegrade waste, filter the air, and bring us nutrient rich food.

While I suspect I'm preaching to the choir here, I want to reiterate that caring about the environment and "believing" in global warming (i.e. taking the evidence collected and analysis of trained scientists seriously) is not a political issue. It is a "I don't want everything I love about this planet to suffer" issue, and I think we can agree on that. Making personal changes won't change everything - we need to elect leaders who will take renewable energy and other forms of pollution reduction seriously (ahem, and caring about clean water for Indigenous peoples - sign the petition here), but we can start somewhere.

I'm also well aware of the fact that choosing sustainable options is often a matter of class and privilege. For one, having the time and money to discern between products and lifestyle habits isn't always possible, and there are lots of towns and neighborhoods that simply don't have infrastructures that assist in living a more environmentally friendly life. If everything at your grocery store is wrapped in plastic, you can't immediately do anything about it, but perhaps over time you can help influence store and local policies on plastic waste.

That being said...

This fall, in addition to being an aware and active citizen, I'm ready to take the leap to a zero waste lifestyle. It won't come all at once, and I don't anticipate being entirely zero waste for a very long time, but I can continue to make small changes that add up. 


I've already switched to cloth menstrual pads and it's been an amazing, practical, easy experience overall. I don't buy plastic water bottles. I've also stopped using as much plastic wrap to cover leftovers, instead covering my ceramic bowls with small plates to keep out any dust and debris in the fridge. I use cold water when I wash my face instead of waiting for the hot water heater to do its job, thereby reducing my water usage. And I buy lots of my toiletries in bulk to reduce overall packaging waste. At the suggestion of a reader, I'm being more mindful about how much and what type of packaging ethical companies use to ship their products, too.

But there's plenty more I can do. I learned a lot from my friend Holly's recent video about her Zero Waste Sustainable Switches, so I encourage you to watch it below...





Have you reduced waste in other ways? I could use some more suggestions! It's easy to overlook things.

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If you found this post useful, perhaps you'd like to:

The Moral Wardrobe: Perfect Pairings

Victoria Road tunic and Sseko Designs outfit - ethical outfitVictoria Road tunic and Sseko Designs outfit - ethical outfitthrifted straw hatVictoria Road tunic and Sseko Designs outfit - ethical outfit Ethical Details: Tunic - c/o Victoria Road (also worn here, on sale now); Hat - thrifted; Bracelet - c/o Candorra Artisans; Sandals - Sseko Designs; Jeans - old

I bought this hat at a Goodwill in LA for $4.00 and it's definitely one of those surprise finds I'll cherish for years. It came in handy during our sunny hike up to Point Dume, too. When I travel, the only souvenir I buy is something from a local thrift shop. It's low cost, reminds me of the place I visited, and tends to be more practical than a keychain with palm trees on it or whatever other nonsense thing they've created to feed our nostalgia.

I really love this outfit. It's amazing how much it feels like me while embodying something a little more even keeled, a little more mature, than how I typically see myself. Sophisticated but not stuffy. As I approach year 28, I think that's how I'd like to be described. 

DIY: Transitioning Your Summer Wardobe Into Fall with Tea Dye

DIY ombre tea dye tutorial
Thanks to Numi Organic Tea for sponsoring this post.

I don't buy the old style rule about not wearing white after Labor Day, but I do like to bring warm fall tones into my wardrobe as the weather cools down. I had a white off-the-shoulder top that wasn't getting much use in my summer rotation, so I decided it would be the perfect test subject for a DIY ombre dye experiment.

Traditional textile dyes can be hazardous to your health and irritate sensitive skin, so I started hunting around for examples of natural dye alternatives, and ultimately decided to brew up my own concoction using a blend of Rooibos, Black, and Turmeric teas. The blend of Rooibos and Turmeric proved to be a winning combination, bringing in tones of blush and mustard, both big hits for fall, while the black tea provided a base tone to ensure proper color saturation. Read on to make your own ombre top...

dye your clothes with tea

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

  • Stock Pot
  • Tap Water
  • 15 Black Tea Bags, 15 Numi Rooibos Tea Bags, 4 Numi Turmeric Tea Bags, with all tags removed
  • White or Cream Natural Fabric Textiles (I used a white cotton top)
  • White Vinegar
  • Hanger
  • Stove Top
  • Timer
  • Test fabric (optional, but useful if you want to be sure that the end result won't surprise you)

how to dye with tea, featuring Numi Organic Rooibos and Turmericombre dyed t-shirt

THE PROCESS:

  1. Fill a stock pot halfway with regular tap water. Place on stovetop and heat until boiling.
  2. Take all the hang tags off of 15 Rooibos tea bags, 15 black tea bags, and 4 Turmeric tea bags.
  3. Once water is boiling, add tea bags to the pot. Simmer and steep for 10-15 minutes. 
  4. While tea is steeping, visualize your garment in 3 sections. You will need to keep these sections in mind as you dip dye to achieve a noticeable ombre effect.
  5. Run your garment under cool tap water, then wring out the excess moisture before placing in dye bath.
  6. Turn off heat. Do not remove tea bags. 
  7. Clip the shoulders of your damp garment to a hanger for easier maneuvering, then submerge garment to highest point you want dyed (I left a small portion near the top of my garment white). Immediately remove the top third of the garment for a light wash of color. This will be the lightest section.
  8. Make sure the rest of your garment is aligned as straight as possible with surface of the dye bath to get an even ombre effect. Set your timer for 15 minutes and let the bottom 2/3 steep.
  9. After 15 minutes, remove the middle third of your garment from the dye bath. Make sure the bottom third is still completely submerged, then let steep for an hour or more. At this point, I took my stock pot off of the now cool burner and placed it outside in direct sun to keep the dye bath warm. 
  10. After one hour, remove your garment and see if desired effect has been achieved. If not, continue steeping. 
  11. Once you are ready, remove your garment, rinse lightly under cool, running water, then place in a clean pot comprised of 1/2 cool water and 1/2 white vinegar. This will help seal the dye. 
  12. Rinse through once more, then let your garment dry.
  13. Wash sparingly to maintain dye saturation.

THE RESULT:

DIY ombre tea dyed off the shoulder top
Before and After
DIY ombre tea dyed off the shoulder top DIY ombre tea dyed off the shoulder top

As you can see, the rinsed and dried garment will be considerably lighter in color than it appeared while still saturated in tea. Keep that in mind and steep longer if you want a darker effect. I love this pretty yellow and blush-tan ombre and I think it suits my complexion better than the original top.

Have you dyed with tea or other natural dyes? I'm trying out indigo next!

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See my other collaborations with Numi here.


Battle of the (Favorite Ethical T-Shirt) Brands: A Case for American Giant, by Jen Panaro

Battle of the Brands: Favorite Ethical T-Shirts, featuring American Giant and Everlane

Several yeas ago, before being more thoughtful about what I wore, who made my clothes, where they came from, and why I bought them, I didn't really have any favorite apparel brands. I bought myriad items I liked from clearance racks and discount stores, and I hoped they would meld together into some interesting and flattering combination. Maybe I believed in the magic powers of these items coming together stylishly simply by coexisting in my closet? Needless-to-say, my haphazard shopping techniques were a recipe for routine style stumbles. I don't recommend it. Hanging out in secondhand stores, reading more about the fashion industry, and learning about ethical brands from blogs like Leah's, I quickly realized I had so much more to gain from thoughtful consumption than just a few more stylish outfits.

An Introduction 


Before getting into any more details about one of my favorite discoveries on my ethical consumption journey, let me tell you a little more about myself. My name is Jen, and I blog over at Honestly Modern, an ethical life and style blog that's been my creative playground for nearly three and half years. In between raising two young boys with my husband and the daily grind of my corporate job, I love creating and sharing about our family's conscious consumption adventures on Honestly Modern.

I'm more than thrilled to have the chance to "meet" all of you through StyleWise today. If you're missing your daily dose of Leah, she's over on Honestly Modern sharing all about one of her favorite brands. So don't be shy. Pop on over there and see what good stuff she's spilling the beans about.

Casual Perfection 


Now... to gushing praise for a brand I love that you might love too.

I'm a jeans and t-shirt (or maybe yoga pants, if I'm being honest with you) kind of girl. I like dressing up on occasion, and I've spent over a decade wearing business casual every weekday to visit clients. But if it's entirely up to me, comfort is king queen when I'm in my element.

At the same time, I'm not a fan of feeling sloppy.

American Giant, an American-made casual apparel brand, has created a line of clothing that caters to just that appeal. Although their collections include sweat pants, t-shirts and hoodies, the company has expended extensive effort mastering fit and feel of their products (atypical for these types of clothes). They're rocking and reinventing the market for the casual yet pulled together classic American vibe.

The brand spent years tinkering with their first piece, the perfect hoodie, which earned renowned media acclaim as "The Greatest Hoodie Ever Made". I own a Classic Full Zip Hoodie in maroon and can attest that the quality and fit live up to the reputation and only get better with age (as intended).

Battle of the Brands: Favorite Ethical T-Shirts, featuring American Giant and Everlane

Buying All the T-shirts 


Over the summer, following a move from Chicago to Philadelphia, I found myself living in much warmer weather and needing to expand my summer wardrobe a bit. I couldn't wear the same three t-shirts all day, every day.

I researched a host of ethical brands, found a few that struck my fancy (including Leah's beloved Everlane), and tried them all. While I like my Everlane shirt, and don't disagree that the company has earned its acclaim, I fell in love with the American Giant Premium V-neck T. The shirt is a bit heavier, yet still breathable, a little longer than most t-shirts, and maintains a perfect casual yet flattering fit.

Over the course of the last few months, I purchased the shirt in black, navy, olive and blush, which is a pretty big deal for me. I (almost) never buy two of anything, let alone four. Yet now I live in my American Giant t-shirts almost every day.

Although I wish they had patterned options (currently only solid colors are available) like Everlane has recently added, I suspect they will come with time and appreciate the focus on quality of each piece as they build their collections.

These days, sustainable and ethical fashion brands seem to be flourishing, and bloggers like Leah and I have opportunities to share them with you. Despite the flow of new options, there are a few brands like American Giant, that stand out from the crowd. They've taken a different approach to business. They make products we can feel proud to wear and are built on stories and values we can be excited to share. And they're never comfortable; they're always striving for more greatness out of their products.

If you're new to American Giant and I've piqued your interest, consider getting 15% off your first purchase with this referral link.


If you're interested, stop by Honestly Modern to check out a few more brands I've highlighted that share our ethical values like Industry Standard (made in the USA denim), Nisolo (fair trade accessories) and thredUP (convenient and high quality secondhand). Most importantly, stop over to see why Leah loves her favorite t-shirt brand, Everlane, as we "duke it out" in our friendly "battle of the (favorite ethical t-shirt) brands". In this battle, I think you'll find they're both winners.

Discovered: A New Online Marketplace That Connects Artisans to You

Discovered Marketplace New Ethical Market
Thanks to Discovered Market for supporting StyleWise by sponsoring this post. 

Today I'm handing over the blog to the people behind ethical marketplace, Discovered. I'm a big fan of startups that keep the artisans and their communities front and center in their branding and narratives, and Discovered solves a lot of the issues around profit sharing and infrastructure preservation by using a marketplace model. I hope you enjoy this inside look into the brand.

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Discovered: an online marketplace with meaning

Discovered is a new online marketplace for handmade goods from all over the world. The products that comprise Discovered are unique and impeccably made, but most importantly, with everything you buy, you make a difference in the lives of talented artisans around the world.

The simple idea behind Discovered is to give artisans from emerging countries like Mexico, India, and Indonesia direct access to the global market and thus, to you. The artisans who sell on our marketplace are mainly women. They make amazing products, but, in most cases, they don’t get a fair price for their work since most of the profit goes to the middlemen. By cutting out the middlemen, Discovered helps them take home a higher share of profits.

With artisans from over 25 countries, Discovered is certainly one of the most diverse online marketplaces, with a great collection of jewelry, bags, accessories and home décor. The artisans are skilled in making these particular handmade goods, so you can rest assured that all products on offer are high quality while also maintaining a reasonable price point.

Discovered empowers artisans through business

Gijsbert van der Sleen founded Discovered in 2012 with the ambition to create social and environmental change, operating from the viewpoint that businesses can be used to bring about a positive social impact. In his words: “I strongly believe people want to develop themselves through business, but sometimes they don’t have the recourses to do so.”

During his travels, he noticed that all of the handmade goods he saw at local markets had unique stories and backgrounds, which intrigued friends and family back home. The artisans he interacted with asked Gijsbert whether there was an opportunity to share those stories with a larger audience in his home country. These artisans were already skilled in making beautiful, unique goods and knew how to run their own businesses. The only thing they lacked was a channel through which they could sell directly to customers in Great Brittan, the United States, Australia, Canada and European countries.

The Discovered Marketplace was a perfect solution, providing access to the global market and helping the artisans gain more visibility. Giving them direct access to the global market is what we believe embodies real fair trade. Rather than create completely new business in other countries, we can create work and income for preexisting artisans, and their local economies are supported, as well.

Artisan made teapot from Discovered Marketplace

More than an online marketplace

So, how does Discovered work? It is very easy for artisans to open their own online shop. They simply make a profile and upload pictures of their products. This way, visitors have the opportunity to discover more about the stories behind the products. They can see who crafted it and where their money goes when they buy an item. A Discovered product is never just a product; it is a product with a personal story and with meaning.

But it’s not just artisans who can share their stories, As a visitor you can also share your own stories and make inspiration boards with products you love. You can, for example, share your own travel stories and connect to artisans from the countries where you’ve been. Through this feature, we hope that Discovered can be a community rather than merely a brand.

Discover something unique

If you love to travel, you probably know the feeling of wandering around and discovering the most beautiful places, meeting friendly people and finding unique products. Once you’re home you  like to show off your one-of-a-kind souvenirs and tell the stories behind them. The advantage of our marketplace is that you can find a wide range of handmade goods, like jewelry, bags, and home décor with similar stories to tell.

Take for example Artesanas Campesinas, a rural woman’s artisan cooperative from Mexico. These inspirational women are artisan farmers from small villages who live mainly off of seasonal agricultural work. To help make up for dry periods in the agricultural year – and pay for things like clothing, electricity and school for their children – the women produce handmade jewelry and other items using traditional techniques that they learned from their grandparents. When you buy a pair of earrings from Artesanas Campesinas you directly support a family in Mexico and help them to earn school fees for their children.

artisan made jewelry from Discovered Marketplace
Scenes from the Artesanas Campesinas cooperative

Shop amazing items with meaning without leaving your house

On Discovered, you’ll find more than 12.000 beautiful products, handmade by 282 artisans. We are constantly scouting for new artisans all over the world to ensure a continuous flow of new, eye-catching products to our website.

So the next time you’re looking for something special and made with care, discover exactly what you’re looking for at the Discovered marketplace.

13 Ethical Shoe Brands Worth the Investment


1. VEJA

  • WHAT THEY SELL: a small selection of super cool sneakers
  • WHY THEY'RE ETHICAL: organic cotton purchased from a small scale farmers' coop | sustainably harvested rubber | leather from cows that aren't farmed on deforested rainforest land | does not advertise | produces on demand to reduce waste |  CO2 reduction | works with marginalized communities
  • LEARN MORE HERE.

2. Nicora

  • WHAT THEY SELL: vegan shoes and boots
  • WHY THEY'RE ETHICAL: made in LA | domestically sourced materials | recycled textiles | eco-friendly vegan | classic, timeless styles | small batch
  • LEARN MORE HERE.

3. Nisolo

  • WHAT THEY SELL: supple leather, minimalist shoes for men and women
  • WHY THEY'RE ETHICAL: building infrastructure in Peru | transparent business model | classic, timeless styles | leather sourced from small scale industry
  • LEARN MORE HERE.

4. Oliberte

  • WHAT THEY SELL: casual suede flats, shoes, and boots for men and women
  • WHY THEY'RE ETHICAL: fair trade certified | certified b corp | lifetime warranty | leather sourced from small scale industry | local rubber | limited packaging
  • LEARN MORE HERE.

5. Root Collective

  • WHAT THEY SELL: women's flats and boots made with embroidered textiles and other fabric
  • WHY THEY'RE ETHICAL: fair pay | works with marginalized communities | local textile sourcing
  • LEARN MORE HERE.



6. Sseko Designs

  • WHAT THEY SELL: leather loafers, boots, and sandals for women
  • WHY THEY'RE ETHICAL: locally sourced textiles | leather sourced from local industry | fair trade | builds infrastructure | woman owned, woman run
  • LEARN MORE HERE.

7. Etiko

  • WHAT THEY SELL: Converse look-a-like low and high top sneakers for men and women
  • WHY THEY'RE ETHICAL: fair trade | works with marginalized communities | fair trade premiums for infrastructure development | sustainable cotton and rubber sourcing
  • LEARN MORE HERE.

8. Cardanas

  • WHAT THEY SELL: classic canvas low and high top sneakers for men and women
  • WHY THEY'RE ETHICAL: eco-friendly canvas | 90% natural rubber soles | fair trade standards | rotating jobs for factory worker satisfaction | localized supply chain | carbon negative
  • LEARN MORE HERE.

9. Fortress of Inca

  • WHAT THEY SELL: modern leather shoes and boots for women
  • WHY THEY'RE ETHICAL: fair trade | builds infrastructure | locally sourced materials | fair pricing
  • LEARN MORE HERE.

10. Po-Zu

  • WHAT THEY SELL: a wide variety of shoes and boots for men and women
  • WHY THEY'RE ETHICAL: sustainable | renewable materials | use renewable energy | small scale | ship items for lower carbon emissions | fair wages | eco-friendly, nontoxic work environment | organic and innovative materials
  • LEARN MORE HERE.

11. Sole Rebels

  • WHAT THEY SELL: flats and sandals
  • WHY THEY'RE ETHICAL: 4 times minimum wage pay | medical coverage | free transportation for employees | wages not quota dependent | sustainable production | locally sourced materials | builds infrastructure | cultural preservation | organic and recycled materials
  • LEARN MORE HERE.

12. OESH

  • WHAT THEY SELL: 3-D printed and injection molded sandals and sneakers for women
  • WHY THEY'RE ETHICAL: low to no waste | locally sourced materials | 3-D printed | woman owned, woman run | made in Charlottesville, VA | biodegradable materials
  • LEARN MORE HERE.

13. Deux Mains

  • WHAT THEY SELL: simple, modern sandals for women
  • WHY THEY'RE ETHICAL: builds infrastructure | employee owned and operated | works with marginalized communities | locally sourced materials | fair wages
  • LEARN MORE HERE.

Suggestions? Leave them in the comments!

What's In My Bag? feat. FashionABLE's Tigist Crossbody

FashionABLE product review

This post contains a few affiliate links

What's in my bag?


FashionABLE gave me this beautiful raw leather Tigist crossbody to review and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to do one of those time-tested "What's in my bag" posts. 

On a typical day, I carry my keys, a tin of altoids (peppermint is great for bad breath, but it's also useful for relieving stomach aches), a little zip pouch with spare change and tinted lip balm (mine is from Purse & Clutch), my iPhone 5C (I purchased it used from Newegg), and a card pouch containing way too many used-up gift cards and loyalty cards (I got it from a local store a couple years ago, but it's not fair trade).

FashionABLE Tigist Leather Crossbody in PewterEthical outfit with Sseko Designs and FashionABLEFashionABLE Tigist Crossbody review Ethical Details: Top - thrifted; Sandals - Sseko Designs; Tigist Crossbody Bag in Pewter - c/o FashionABLE

I'm really satisfied with the quality of the Tigist Crossbody. The leather is cut thick for durability (reminds me of Coach's 1980s-90s saddlebag line), there are ample pockets and a snap closure, and the color is quite versatile. If I could change one thing, I would make the strap adjustable. I have a feeling this strap was measured for someone with a larger bust (I mean, and props to that woman) or maybe someone a bit taller, but it falls a little low on my hip.

FashionABLE's bags are made under fair trade guidelines in Ethiopia. The leather is sourced from the small scale meat industry there. A note on leather: while I believe for ethical and environmental reasons that it behooves us (pun intended) to reduce our meat consumption, I don't have a problem with using leather products that are a byproduct of small, sustainable meat industries. This interview helped solidify my thinking on that point. The Tigist Crossbody retails for $138.00, right in that stretch zone that is worth it if you follow the #30wears guidelines. I hope to get at least a decade of use out of this - it feels like it will last that long - so it should even out.

On an unrelated note, I feel like I FINALLY know what my personal style is and what suits me. It's completely liberating. I thought I would be tempted by all of the Labor Day sales I posted, but I was able to narrow it down to just a few things that I know I'll wear and love.

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Is Polyester Sustainable? A Guide by Summer Edwards

This post was written by Summer Edwards and originally appeared on Tortoise & Lady Grey.
is polyester sustainable


Summer Edwards of Tortoise and Lady Grey is at it again with a highly informative post on polyester. This nitty gritty stuff isn't always fun, but it's so useful to have knowledge that helps you negotiate which product is best, and helps your friends and family get motivated to do the same. 

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Polyester is cheap and versatile and for that reason it has become ubiquitous in fashion, but the environmental impacts of polyester are also significant. Before we delve into the environmental impacts of this textile, it is worth discussing it’s characteristics to understand why it is such a popular choice in fashion.

Polyester is frequently used for its wrinkle-free properties. Clothing made from this textile tend not to need to be ironed or pressed to maintain their shape and surface. Because it often doesn’t need to be ironed and it can be washed easily in the washing machine, it is very convenient for the wearer to maintain.  It also tends to be quick drying which is useful in places that have long periods of cold or wet weather. High quality polyester lasts well and maintains the quality of it’s surface. However, the great majority of polyester on the market is very poor quality and it used by manufacturers because it is a cheap alternative to natural fibres. Most polyester clothing on the market is cheap, poor quality fast fashion, which will last few wears.

Polyester is a synthetic petroleum-based fibre, and is therefore made from a carbon-intensive non-renewable resource. Petroleum products are used as feedstock (raw material to make the fibre) and also used to generate the energy needed to manufacture.

More than 70 billion barrels of oil are used to make polyester each year.  


It is not bio-degradable and will persist in the eco-system even as it eventually breaks apart. In fact, it is believed that synthetic garments are the biggest source of microplastic pollution in the oceans because up to 1900 fibres can be washed off one garment every time it is washed.

Although it is less energy intensive than nylon to produce, it still requires more than double the energy of conventional cotton to produce. The production of polyester uses harmful chemicals, including carcinogens, and if emitted to water and air untreated, can cause significant environmental damage. Most polyester is produced in countries such as China, Indonesia and Bangladesh where environmental regulations are lax, and air and water pollution is often discharged untreated, resulting in significant pollution and harm to communities in the vicinity of (as well as downstream and downwind of) manufacturing plants. The water-intensity of production is much lower than for natural fibres. However, polyester cannot be dyed using low impact and natural dyes. This means that the detrimental impact on water supplies is potentially far greater.

Polyester Recycling...


One of the most positive aspects of polyester is that it is completely recyclable, and it is also possible to manufacture polyester from recycled plastics...

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Click here to read the rest of the post.


The Moral Wardrobe: #30wears

Ethical Details: Dress - vintage; Cardigan - old H&M; Sandals - Sseko Designs

Have you heard about Livia Firth's #30wears campaign? The premise is built around cost per wear. When we buy a fast fashion piece, the item is likely to look tattered or be out of style before we can wear it even ten times. But a high quality item - though it may cost more up front - costs considerably less when worn over months, years, and decades. Here are Firth's guidelines:
At the moment of purchase, stop for a second and think: Will I wear it in six months' time? Will I wear it next year? Will I wear it a minimum of 30 times? If the answer is yes, buy it, regardless of which shop you are buying from.
 A few years ago, I decided I needed a sunflower dress. I searched high and low for an ethical option and finally found this one from Kissing Tree Vintage on etsy. I paid something like $50.00 for it, but I'm glad I did, because I wear it at least once a month. Over 24+ months, I'm well on my way to 30 wears.

I am bad about featuring clothing items I've already featured, mostly because it's not all that interesting to me and I don't photograph my outfits every day, or even every week. But I really love Firth's advice to think about the long term when it comes to choosing what to buy, and I love that this dress has become a fixture in my closet.

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See my other posts wearing this dress here and here


I'm interested to know if you all have pieces you've worn over and over again.

Ethical Sale Alert: Labor Day 2016 featuring PACT, Synergy + More

guide to ethical labor day sales This post contains affiliate links. Photo courtesy of GlobeIn.

ALL WEEKEND:

Happy Fox Studio

WHAT THEY SELL: reclaimed, modern jewelry.
THE DEAL: 10% off your purchase on Etsy and Instagram with code, SEPTEMBER.

Hannah Naomi

WHAT THEY SELL: simple, minimalist jewerly
THE DEAL: 20% off your purchase with code, LABORDAYSALE. Through 9/6.

PACT Apparel

WHAT THEY SELL: organic cotton underwear and clothing for men and women.
THE DEAL: 30% off your entire purchase with code, LABORDAY. Good through 9/6.

ZADY

WHAT THEY SELL: ethical, sustainable clothing and accessories for women and men.
THE DEAL: 20% off already reduced merchandise with code, CHECKEDOUT. Good through 9/5.

ThredUP

WHAT THEY SELL: gently used clothing and shoes for women and children.
THE DEAL: 15% off your purchase with code, HOLIDAY15. Good through 9/5.

Esby Apparel

WHAT THEY SELL: made in USA clothing and accessories for women.
THE DEAL: 20% off sitewide with code, LABORYAY.

Oliberte

WHAT THEY SELL: fair trade certified suede and leather shoes for women and men.
THE DEAL: 15% off sitewide.

Indigenous

WHAT THEY SELL: fair trade, artisan made clothing.
THE DEAL: Extra 40% off clearance with code, 40MORE.

Krochet Kids

WHAT THEY SELL: fair trade clothing and knitwear for women and men.
THE DEAL: free US shipping. Good through 9/5.

NICORA

WHAT THEY SELL: handmade, vegan, ecofriendly shoes.
THE DEAL: $50 off the Sinclair boots for men and women.

Ten Thousand Villages

WHAT THEY SELL: fair trade accessories and home goods.
THE DEAL: 25% off 1 regularly priced item with code, VILLAGES25. Good through 9/5.

Synergy Organic Clothing

WHAT THEY SELL: organic cotton dresses, separates, and yoga gear.
THE DEAL: 50% off already reduced items with code, LABORDAY.

MadeFAIR

WHAT THEY SELL: ethically sourced clothing and accessories.
THE DEAL: 20% off your entire purchase with code, TAKE20. Good through 9/8.

GlobeIn

WHAT THEY SELL: fair trade household subscription boxes.
THE DEAL: $12 off 3-month (or longer) subscription to new customers with code, GLOBEIN12. Good through 9/6.

Threads 4 Thought

WHAT THEY SELL: eco-friendly clothing for women and men.
THE DEAL: 40% off sitewide with code, LABOR40. Good through 9/5.

Accompany

WHAT THEY SELL: fair trade clothing, accessories, and home goods.
THE DEAL: 30% off sitewide with code, FALL30. Good through 9/6.

Ethos Collection

WHAT THEY SELL: classic and modern ethically made clothing and accessories (my friend is related to the owner!)
THE DEAL: 20% off sitewide with code, LABORDAY16. Good through 9/5.

Alter Eco

WHAT THEY SELL: fair trade food
THE DEAL: 15% off orders $25+ with code, LDAY2016. Good through 9/5.

NUMI Organic Tea

WHAT THEY SELL: delicious fair trade, organic tea.
THE DEAL: 15% off + free shipping on orders over $60 with code, LABORDAY16. Good through 9/5.

Alternative Apparel

WHAT THEY SELL: cotton and cotton blend basics for women and men.
THE DEAL: 30% off when you spend $100 or more. Good through 9/6.

Garmentory

WHAT THEY SELL: clothes and accessories from independent designers.
THE DEAL: Up to 80% off the whole store.

Prana

WHAT THEY SELL: outdoorsy, athletic, and casual clothes for men and women.
THE DEAL: 25% off select fall styles + free shipping. Good through 9/5.

LA Relaxed

WHAT THEY SELL: eco-friendly clothing for women.
THE DEAL: 50% off sitewide, plus free shipping with orders over $75 with code, LAR50.

ARO

WHAT THEY SELL: clothing, jewelry, and accessories from artisans and independent designers.
THE DEAL: 20% off clothing and sale with code, LABORDAY16. Good through 9/7.

Feelgoodz

WHAT THEY SELL: ethically sourced sandals.
THE DEAL: 60% off sitewide.

BonLook

WHAT THEY SELL: fairly ethical glasses for women (on par with Warby Parker for ethical manufacturing).
THE DEAL: $20 off sitewide.

Novica

WHAT THEY SELL: home goods, accessories, and clothing from independent artisans.
THE DEAL: Free shipping sitewide and up to 30% off items in the Novica Bazaar

National Picnic

WHAT THEY SELL: handmade clothing for women.
THE DEAL: 25% off tops with code, 3DAY.

NAJA

WHAT THEY SELL: bras and panties.
THE DEAL: Up to 60% off.

DOEN

WHAT THEY SELL: feminine, vintage inspired domestically produced clothing.
THE DEAL: 15% off sitewide with code, ENDLESSSUMMER.

Hazel & Rose

WHAT THEY SELL: contemporary, ethically sourced clothing.
THE DEAL: 20% off new arrivals with code, STATEFAIR. Good through 9/5.

MONDAY ONLY:

FashionABLE

WHAT THEY SELL: ethically made jewelry and bags
THE DEAL: Free shipping with code, LABORDAY (Monday only).

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Have you heard of a sale not mentioned here? Let me know in the comments and I'll add it!


Top 10 Ethical + Affordable Clothing & Accessories Brands for Fall

Top 10 Ethical and Affordable Clothing and Accessories Brands for Fall on stylewise-blog.com This post contains some affiliate links

Lucky for us, there are now hundreds of ethical clothing brands making cool clothes in all sorts of innovative ways. But just because it's ethical doesn't mean it's practical. And just because it's practical doesn't mean it's affordable.

To make life a little easier for you as you fill out your fall wardrobe, I've narrowed the list down to my top 10 ethical and affordable clothing and accessories brands. Every brand on this list makes items that are both fashion forward and versatile enough for a busy life, whether you're a student, a mom, a freelancer, or anything else.

All brands offer items priced well below $200, with most items averaging around $40-80.00. When you consider that these items have been made by people who receive a fair wage and work in safe factories using organic and sustainable textiles, that's not too shabby.

CLOTHING:


1. Everlane

Tees, blouses, dresses, backpacks, and shoes made with transparency. Everlane is my go-to for knit cotton tees and dresses.

2. Amour Vert

Minimalist and feminine silhouettes made with ecologically sustainable textiles. I love Amour Vert's contemporary-cut tops.

3. Synergy Organic Clothing

Versatile, organic cotton tops, skirts, and dresses made fairly. Synergy is my first stop for easy-to-wear skirts and dresses. Take an extra 50% off sale items through Labor Day with code, laborday.

4. LA Relaxed

Laid-back tees, skirts, and dresses made with ecologically sustainable textiles. LA Relaxed is for cool girls (and obviously we're all cool girls).

5. Dorsu

Mix and match separates made with factory remnants in Cambodia. Their tees have a great drape.

6. Braintree Clothing

Vintage-inspired tops, bottoms, dresses, and accessories made fairly with ecologically sustainable textiles. Braintree's patterns and textures liven up a basic wardrobe.

ACCESSORIES:

7. FashionABLE

Contemporary jewelry and sustainably-sourced leather bags. $5 off your first purchase when you click through the link above.

8. Sseko Designs

Versatile sandals, loafers, boots, and bags made ethically in Uganda and Ethiopia. My pick for loafers.

9. Etiko

Converse look-a-likes out of Australia made with sustainable rubber, organic cotton, and vegan glues. Their high tops are just what I've been looking for.

10. Oliberte

Fair trade certified flats, loafers, and boots. Try their super comfy boots.

For me, it's important that the clothes and accessories I buy have at at least something in common with the rest of my closet. Having access to brands that know how to make flattering, modern, comfortable pieces makes my life a lot easier.

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Did a miss a brand? Give me suggestions in the comments.