Brands

spotlight on: american made

Over the past few years, a handful of fashion forward, conscientious labels have cropped up in California. They've pushed the boundaries of what sustainable fashion looks like and have attracted cult followings as a result. I haven't yet purchased from the companies represented here, but I believe in their process and hope their product lives up to all the hype. Plus, what's better than scrolling through warm(er) weather clothing when there's a foot of snow outside?

Reformation:

Mission Statement:

They're too cool for an About page, apparently, but include materials and production info on each product page.

Example: "This is made of Modal. It's a natural fiber and therefore biodegradable, which is super important because petroleum based synthetics like polyester can take over 200 years to decompose."

Offering:

Vintage inspired clothing for the California It girl.

Price Point:

$40-650

Curator:


Mission Statement:

"Curator is a line of clothing designed and produced in San Francisco by two best friends...Whenever possible, we use organic fabrics in our designs. This is truly a labor of love and our life's work."

Offering:

Sophisticated clothing for creative types.

Price Point:

$40-200

Amour Vert:

Mission Statement:

"At Amour Vert we believe women shouldn’t have to sacrifice style for sustainability. We employ a zero-waste design philosophy and use only organic and sustainable fabrics along with low impact dyes."

Offering: 

Casual, everyday knits.

Price Point: 

$40-200

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If you've shopped from any of these brands, let me know in the comments. 

sseko designs spring '15 collection



I'm cultivating a delusion. I'm buying sundresses at the thrift shop, hunting down sandals, and going without socks on 40 degree days in an attempt to usher in spring.

It doesn't help that Sseko Designs' spring collection is here! As you may know, I'm a huge Sseko fan. I bought their ribbon sandals last summer and wore them nearly every day and I find it rather distressing that months of cold weather are forcing us apart.

They also hit it big last Friday when they were featured on Shark Tank. They didn't get an offer from any of the sharks, but it brought really valuable brand awareness, so I'm excited to see where this takes them. Plus, they informed their instagram followers that they were able to partner with an outside investor after filming the show who offered them exactly what they wanted, so everything worked out in the end.

You can click the above links to be redirected to my favorites. Or peruse the lookbook below. 


clarks + soul of africa


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soulofafricashoes by fracturedradiance on Polyvore

I stopped into Clarks on my walk through the forsaken corridors of our local indoor mall, thinking maybe I'd invest in a pair of their classic little elf shoes. The price tag caught me off guard (and they were out of my size), but I noticed a flyer for Soul of Africa on the display that piqued my interest.

It turns out that Clarks has an ongoing relationship with fair trade company, Soul of Africa, which employs people in need, particularly women, thereby offering living wages and greater stability. Additionally, all proceeds are given to charities and organizations that enrich and support African orphans.

As far as I can tell, only styles labeled Soul of Africa directly support the organization. My store only offered a leather mule from the line, but there are more styles available online. You can also peruse independent Soul of Africa designs, but you'll have to locate a stockist when you're ready to make a purchase.

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accessorize: mata traders earrings


Mata Traders is an American fair trade clothing company. I love that they've begun to make more streamlined, less feminine garments that appeal to my aesthetic. I find that their clothing isn't really tailored for my body type, however, so I'm happy to support their accessories line. Mata Traders sent me this season's Quill Earrings and I wear them at least a couple times a week. They make a statement while remaining lightweight and relatively minimalist. I prefer geometric shapes in my jewelry and most of their offerings provide exactly what I want.

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The real selling point, though, is that they're reasonably priced in the range of 18.00 to 25.00. I typically buy my jewelry from etsy sellers or Ten Thousand Villages, so I always expect to pay in that range for an ethically made, high quality piece. I'm strongly considering buying a few of their sale items, like the black and gold ones featured above.

*I wasn't compensated for this post, but I did receive a pair of earrings to review.

 

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sseko designs: a review & giveaway

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After searching far and wide for a versatile, relatively simple summer sandal, I decided on Sseko Designs. The sandals come in two parts: a leather and foam base and a ribbon strap. You can lace the strap up in more than a dozen ways to achieve different looks and you can purchase more straps in a variety of styles and fabrics to match any outfit. As long as they hold up, I could wear them forever without getting bored.

Sseko Designs was born when Liz Forkin Bohannon traveled to Uganda on a post college adventure. Once there, she realized that she could use her communications background for good, so she sought out Ugandan suppliers for her unique sandal design and trained young women to make them in exchange for fair wages and the funding necessary to receive a college education in Uganda.

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I like Sseko Designs' structure because it takes the fair trade concept one step further. It provides a living wage and a good work environment, but it also encourages women to move forward and improve their communities in more substantial ways by going to college to pursue their passions and perfect their unique talents. The system is less likely to succumb to a white savior complex so often present in such models because it enables women to work for themselves and for their futures; they effect change in their own communities. Sure, I might buy the product, but I'm not put on a pedestal by doing so and I'm not led to objectify workers to appease my first world guilt (this is something that's quite hard to achieve in the fair trade model; I can think of a handful of companies who don't do a great job with this).

But here's the real question: do Sseko Sandals hold up? I really like them. The sole is sturdy and quite comfortable, comparable in comfort to Reefs. To test them, I wore them to my five hour shift at the coffee shop and my feet weren't killing me by the end of the day. The only downside is that I got my cotton straps wet in the rain and they ended up wrinkling, which makes it difficult to change the strap arrangement; I need to iron them out again. I should also mention that some styles feel less secure on my foot than others, so I don't have as many wearable options as the website suggests. This could be a personal issue based on the shape and width of my foot, though, so I wouldn't let that discourage you. Overall, for the price and quality, I would recommend Ssekos.

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You can enter to win a pair of Sseko Designs' new t-strap sandals on instagram. Just click on the contest image to be redirected. It ends soon, so I'd enter today if I were you!
*I did not receive any compensation for writing this post. I paid for my own Sseko Designs sandals. I did receive access to press kit photos via Sseko Designs representatives.

brand: seamly.co

seamly.co made in usa

The founder of Seamly.co, Kristen Glenn, reached out to me last fall to participate in her newly launched affiliate program. WordPress doesn't allow sidebar ads or affiliate links, however, so a full blog post seemed like the best way to promote her shop.

Seamly.co was launched with funds from a kickstarter campaign to produce an item called "the versalette," a seemingly simple piece of material designed to be worn up to 30 ways. I've never had much success with that type of garment since I prefer my clothing to have a set purpose, so I really love that the line has since broadened to include dresses, skirts, leggings, and basic tees.

Every item is made from surplus fabric in the USA, so it's guaranteed sustainable and ethically produced. Designs are minimalist and therefore versatile. They're perfect for this season's aesthetic and classic enough to wear for several seasons.

seamly.co

I'm saving up for the Wrapped Cardigan and the Seasonless Skirt. I'll make sure to let you know what I think once I get a chance to see and wear the garments.

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people tree spring/summer lookbook

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People Tree just released its Spring/Summer interactive lookbook. I love everything in the Orla Kiely collaboration. The best part is that it's all fair trade and most cotton products are organic. Take a look by clicking here or on the screenshots above (all images clipped from People Tree lookbook).

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TOMS: taking another look

toms

I was initially put off by TOMS' business model because it seemed that they were really just in it for personal gain; when you pay $40.00+ for shoes that won't last more than a couple seasons, you better hope that people are getting more than one pair of substandard shoes. But I have to give them credit for creating a more ethical, charity-minded business model that has since been copied by dozens of companies.

And they've really improved since the last time I perused the site. They still give shoes, but they've also created jobs that provide a living wage, donate to various charitable organizations, and feature like-minded companies in their marketplace. These improvements make me feel better about backing them.

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toms by fracturedradiance featuring TOMS

When TOMS first came on the scene, I was worried that their model was just another advertising angle. But recent changes make it clear that they really do intend to positively and sustainably impact the world - by spreading awareness, creating jobs, providing resources, and building up others. Good for them!

Do you like TOMS? I owned a pair a couple years ago; they were comfortable, but the quality was so-so.
*Click styleboard to be redirected to image sources.

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