ethical style

The Moral Wardrobe: Wear Anywhere OESH Shoes, 3-D Printed in Charlottesville



A few weeks ago, I was checking the StyleWise inbox when a familiar name caught my attention. I opened the email to discover that my friend, Maggie, writer of this piece on badass grandmas, had recently started working for a local shoe company called OESH, and that they were interested in doing a collaboration (they provided these sandals for review).

This would have been exciting regardless, but it gets better. Not only does OESH produce the bulk of their shoes less than ten minutes from my house (in a town not known for manufacturing), they 3-D print the soles! They recently won a National Science Foundation grant to perfect their custom printers, which use biodegradable pellets instead of the traditional cording, making the process more efficient and less prone to error. OESH is also a woman owned, woman operated company where employees like Maggie actually fabricate the 3-D printers, design the shoes, and program the printers on site. Basically, it's the coolest!



Maggie and owner, Casey (that's Dr. Kerrigan to you - she was a tenured professor before quitting to start OESH), gave me a tour of the operation one muggy Saturday afternoon, showing me the ins and outs of printer maintenance and design and letting me know why OESH products are superior to traditional footwear, namely because the shape and internal structure of all OESH shoes were designed with 20+ years of studies on gait (the way people walk) in mind.

OESH makes injection-molded sneakers, too, and they're careful to avoid the super toxic glues used in traditional footwear. They're working on developing the right 3-D printed design for flats that won't require glue at all. Almost all base materials are sourced in the US, as well, with many of the sandal strap varieties made in neighboring Waynesboro. The exception is the sneaker tops - they source those from China - because high performance athletic textiles just aren't available in the US.

Ethical Details: Dress - thrifted; Bracelet - c/o Candorra Artisans; Athena Sandals in Snapdragon - c/o OESH

I'm wearing the Athena Sandals in vibrant Snapdragon yellow, but this style comes in lots of other colors. The Athena sandal retails for $135.00. See another way I wore them here

I wore these every day for 7 days when I was out of town a couple weeks ago and my feet have never been happier. I'm serious. It's tempting to wear them every day with everything. And somehow they work with everything, even boho maxi dresses.

OESH just released a new sandal style, the Artemis, and StyleWise readers will have a chance to win a pair in the color of your choice! Stay tuned for tomorrow's giveaway post here and on Instagram!

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Shop OESH here.


Follow OESH on social media: Instagram // Twitter // Facebook

the moral wardrobe: tried and true

bonlook selfie glasses and ethical outfithannah naomi bar earrings manos zapotecas purse fair trade made in mexico ethical outfit native american textile bag
Ethical Details: Top - SkunkFunk via Ash & Rose; Purse - Manos Zapotecas; Cardigan - thrifted (similar here); Shoes - old; Earrings - Hannah Naomi

Today I want to talk about the work horses of my wardrobe. Though I rarely photograph it, this thrifted cashmere cardigan has gotten me through weeks of cold weather and even a midday nap or two. It's cozy and lightweight, so it's a great layering piece. 

I deliberated for months over the perfect glasses and finally settled on the Selfie frames in Rose Sepia from BonLook. BonLook's manufacturing structure is comparable to Warby Parker, but they don't have a charitable branding strategy. That's alright, though, because I decided to donate to the presidential campaign of my choice in tandem with my glasses purchase. Sometimes I get so caught up in buying ethical things that I forget I can always donate cash to causes I care about. Don't forget to vote in the primaries!

These Converse All Stars have been in my wardrobe now for 11 years! They've seen me through three moves, heartbreak, high school, college, and beyond. I don't wear them often, but I'm reconsidering now that sneakers have made a comeback. 

The earrings and top are relatively new, but I love anything that's simple-with-a-twist. The top is made of sustainable bamboo viscose, which is both soft and sturdy, and the earrings are by Hannah Naomi, one of my favorite jewelry designers.

The thing about conscious consumption is that you get to have a connection with physical objects, not in an unhealthy way, but in a way that makes you thankful for the warmth and comfort a well-loved object can provide.

the moral wardrobe: second tries

jean jacket thrifted outfitalpaca sweater modern ethical jewelry from madefairethical outfit
Ethical Details: Sweater - NOVICA; Jacket - thredup*; Boots - secondhand via ebay; Necklace - MadeFAIR*

Sometimes I photograph an outfit only to realize upon reviewing the photos that I hate it. I switched out my sweater and jacket and ended up with something that felt much more me. I have a tendency as a shopper to buy multiples of the same thing until I find the perfect version of it and occasionally I wonder what that says about me. Am I striving for perfection? Is that healthy? Do I need the thing at all if I can't seem to make it work?

In the case of this "jean" jacket, I'm happy I took a second chance. I love the look of denim jackets, but I can't stand to feel constricted in the shoulders, so this knit one from thredup was a much better fit.

I guess my point is that anything is better than nothing, but if there's a better way, a better opportunity, than why not strive for that? (In case you wondered, I'm not really talking about clothing anymore.)

On another note, this sweater is an Alpaca/Wool blend and it's awesome!

the moral wardrobe: autumn glow

fall outfitpurple scarfj crew outfitfall outfit
Ethical Details: Cardigan - thrifted; Necklace - c/o Bought Beautifully; Boots - Oliberte; Jeans - old

For all the complaining I do about cold weather, it's hard not to revel in the splendor of fall in all its warm, leafy glory. The weather has been mild this October and the leaves look especially bright. I'm enjoying dressing to match the red and orange leaves and the periwinkle Blue Ridge Mountains that loom in the background of every drive through Charlottesville.

Speaking of dressing to match, I got the shirt and scarf I'm wearing at a J. Crew Warehouse sale that blew through town a couple weeks ago. I have complicated feelings about whether it was the best decision, but here's why I allowed an exception to my normal thrifting/fair trade routine: this is the end of the line for J. Crew items. Samples, rejects, past season returns - anything that doesn't sell here is sent off to textiles processors, thrift shops, and maybe ebay used good resellers. It's not the most ethical, but it also doesn't increase demand for new goods. I only bought high quality basics in richly saturated colors that are hard to find elsewhere, so I think I'll get a lot of use out of them. If this paragraph sounds like one big excuse, perhaps that's because it is. I'm open to that, but I'm also feeling like it's ok to cut myself some slack in this instance.

What are your thoughts about shopping sample and warehouse sales from companies that don't adhere to ethical guidelines?

my favorite ethical style bloggers

ethical style bloggers, stylewiseblog.blogspot.com

I read a handful of other ethical style blogs. It's great to see what other people are finding, wearing, and thinking about. I'd love to interview more of them for Style Wise, but in the meantime, I thought I'd provide a few links for your perusal.


What are you reading? I'd love your recommendations.