fashion revolution

#FashRev Week | #Haulternative DIY: Beet Dyed Blouse

#haulternative fashion revolution beet dyed blouse
Thanks to Justina at Smockwalker Vintage for providing goods to DIY.

The last post in my #Haulternative series! See the embroidered blouse and the fringed denim.

I had originally intended to cover up a few small stains on this blouse with Indigo, but there is no indigo to be found in this town! I ended up ordering some online, but it wasn't going to be here in time to prep posts, so I had to come up with an alternative on the fly. A customer recommended beets, which was actually a better idea for this blouse anyway because the light tone means the cute little embroidered diamonds are still visible.

Beet Dyed Blouse

#haulternative fashion revolution beet dyed blouse#haulternative fashion revolution beet dyed blouse
Beets are deceptive little suckers. Their juice will stain your hands a deep magenta, but the effect on cotton is much more subtle. It's hard to tell in the photos, but the final effect is a lovely, pale rose, which perfectly covered up what looked to be makeup stains near the collar of the blouse.

What You'll Need:

  • A vintage, thrifted, or pre-owned cotton blouse (even better if it's got a few small stains you want to cover up)
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 beets
  • Medium pot filled 3/4 of the way with water
  • Knife for slicing beets

To Make:

  1. Thinly slice two beets, then place in pot with water and vinegar. Heat to boiling on the stove, then cover with lid and simmer for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Remove beet slices from water. Keep pot on burner.
  3. Fully saturate blouse with water, ring out, and fully submerge in beet water.
  4. Bring beet water back to boiling, reduce heat, then cover and simmer the shirt in the beet water for at least 20 minutes. 
  5. Take pot off heat and continue to let shirt steep for an hour or more.
  6. Ring out shirt and rinse thoroughly in cool water. Air dry.
#haulternative fashion revolution beet dyed blouse
Ethical Details: Top - upcycled via Smockwalker Vintage; Pants - thrifted; Shoes - #30wears

What I Learned From A Week of Upcycling Projects

Even though I work with used clothing daily as a thrift shop manager, it's easy to not see the potential in a pair of worn out jeans or a stained white shirt. Doing very simple DIY projects like embroidery, fringe, and vegetable dying showed me that old can be made even better than new at a low price with only a small time commitment. 

It's also a great feeling to be able to do something with my hands instead of with my thoughts, to see the visible, tangible proof of my labor. I hope to make the #haulternative life something I pursue all year round, not just during Fashion Revolution Week.

If you end up doing a #haulternative this week, Justina and I would love to see it! Tag @stylewiseblog and @smockwalkervintage on Instagram!

Learn more about Fashion Revolution Week here.

simple ethical and natural DIY projects for fashion revolution week #haulternative

#FashRev Week | #Haulternative DIY: Fringed Denim

fashion revolution haulternative DIY fringed denim with smockwalker vintage Denim provided by Smockwalker Vintage.

See yesterday's #Haulternative post here.

This season's fringed denim trend is screaming for a DIY. I mean, there's literally no reason to go buy someone else's (likely a sweatshop worker's) upcycling project when there's such an abundance of denim on the secondhand market. Justina at Smockwalker Vintage provided these groovy green jeans with a super high waist for a fringed denim DIY.

Fringed Vintage Denim

fashion revolution haulternative DIY fringed denim with smockwalker vintage

What You'll Need:

  • Vintage, thrifted, or pre-owned denim jeans
  • Scissors
  • Pencil, pen, or chalk for marking the denim

To Make:

  1. Lay the jeans on a flat surface (I used the floor). Carefully cut off the bottom hem. I cropped mine to right above the ankle.
  2. Determine how long you want your fringe to be, then carefully mark the top edge on each leg. I eyeballed mine, then created a small pen mark on each leg.
  3. Carefully cut quarter inch strips all the way around each leg. Tip: pay attention to where the side seams are and try to make them their own distinct strips.
  4. To get looser, more distinct fringe, wet the denim, then run them through the dryer.

How to Choose Your Denim: You can really choose whatever silhouette you want, but I like the way these straight fit jeans turned out. This vintage cut can feel a bit frumpy because the cut is so wide down the leg, but the fringe makes the shape look more intentional.
fashion revolution haulternative DIY fringed denim with smockwalker vintagefashion revolution haulternative DIY fringed denim with smockwalker vintage
Ethical Details: Tee - Everlane; Jeans - upcycled via Smockwalker Vintage; Sandals - Everlane

FRINGED DENIM GIVEAWAY

Justina actually fringed some denim for me, but they were a bit too small, so I've decided to give her pair away. Please note, there's only one pair in one size, so check the measurements before entering.

To enter, find this photo on Instagram (@stylewiseblog) and follow the instructions!
fashion revolution haulternative DIY fringed denim with smockwalker vintage

If you end up doing a #haulternative this week, Justina and I would love to see it! Tag @stylewiseblog and @smockwalkervintage on Instagram!

Learn more about Fashion Revolution Week here.

simple ethical and natural DIY projects for fashion revolution week #haulternative

#FashRev Week | #Haulternative DIY: Custom Embroidered Blouse

#haulternative fashion revolution week embroidered blouse DIY Blouse provided and embroidered by Justina at Smockwalker Vintage.

It's Fashion Revolution Week! This year I'm posting three days of DIYs inspired by Fashion Revolution's #haulternative prompt...

#Haulternative: the sustainable version of a shopping haul, spotlighting dearly loved, vintage, secondhand, swapped, rented, and upcycled goods in an effort to show that fashion is about more than a shopping binge. Learn more here.

I've participated in the Love Story and #whomademyclothes social media prompts in past years so I knew I wanted to focus on DIY this time around. It's something I've loved since I was a kid but don't often make time for in my busy adult life. I emailed Justina at Smockwalker Vintage to see if she would be on board for sending me a few good-but-not-perfect vintage things to upcycle. Not only was she in, she even did her own DIY work on two things before sending them!

I'll be featuring three different clothing DIY projects this week, starting with:

Justina's Adorable "L" Embroidery

#haulternative fashion revolution week embroidered blouse DIY#haulternative fashion revolution week embroidered blouse DIY
Ethical Details: Top - upcycled via Smockwalker Vintage; Skirt - c/o People Tree; Shoes - Julia Bo

You'll need:

  • A thrifted, vintage, or pre-owned collared shirt
  • Embroidery thread in the color of your choice
  • A needle
  • Scissors

To Make: 

I recommend following this step by step guide. You might not need the embroidery hoop for a small project like this one.

I'll be back tomorrow with a fringed denim DIY!

If you end up doing a #haulternative this week, Justina and I would love to see it! Tag @stylewiseblog and @smockwalkervintage on Instagram!

Learn more about Fashion Revolution Week here.

simple ethical and natural DIY projects for fashion revolution week #haulternative

Save the Date: Fashion Revolution 2018

Fashion Revolution 2018
Fashion Revolution, the world's biggest ethical fashion action, takes place this year from April 23rd-29th.

Fashion Revolution was founded by two fashion designers after Rana Plaza, a massive garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed due to faulty architecture and safety compliance failures, killing more than 1,134 people and injuring 2,500.

Since then, components of the legally binding Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety - signed by over 200 retailers and fashion brands -  have been put into effect, but as Hannah Theisen recently reported, numerous promised payments and protections have fallen by the wayside as Western consumers have lost interest in or forgotten Rana Plaza's survivors.

And the problems don't stop at Bangladesh. 

An unfortunate side effect of poorly regulated Capitalism is that as regulations are enforced in some countries, manufacturing moves to countries with fewer worker protections. For instance, as Cambodian and Bangladeshi garment workers have received more rights and better wages, many of the world's largest fashion companies have moved to Vietnam. The cycle will continue unless we as citizens and consumers step up and demand better.

It is time for us to realize that justice takes sacrifice, that it is not as easy as simply redirecting our purchases. Real progress will take political action: voting for leaders with a strong sense of ethics and transparency who recognize that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

And, as we've seen in the US in recent years, people who live here are not exactly thriving. Though we have strong labor laws, the working poor and undocumented immigrants slip through the cracks. There are sweatshops in the US. There are still slaves in the US, working in prisons and as nannies, farmhands, seamstresses, and sex workers.

A holistic ethic of human dignity demands that we see the big picture, and fight for the rights of those in our own communities at the same time that we fight for those in other countries. 

It is time for us to recognize, too, the US' complicity in much of the world's depravity, from genocide in Guatemala to food shortages in Venezuela to building collapses in Bangladesh. Yes, other countries' leaders need to step up, but that doesn't make us innocent bystanders.

But back to Fashion Revolution: the event. 

Fashion Revolution is a way to motivate the world to take the first step.

You can participate in several ways:
  • Wear your clothing inside out and ask companies, "Who made my clothes?" on social media.
  • Take a moment to read garment worker stories, available on the Fashion Revolution website.
  • Try a #haulternative, the antidote to fast fashion, by swapping with friends, buying secondhand, or doing a DIY project with what you already have. 
  • Share a love story: share your love for an item that you've owned for a long time.
  • Write your policy makers and your favorite brands.

What will I be doing?

I'll be speaking at a local event this year in partnership with Darling Consignment Boutique (I'll update the post once I have all the details). I'll also be participating in a social media challenge with MATTER Prints and, hopefully, posting a love story or haulternative on the blog.

Beyond that, I am committed to being an active citizen and not settling for better-than-nothing when it comes to ethics. Small, calculated changes are fine. BS, greenwashing, and white saviorism are not.

Related Posts:

FashRev Week | My Fashion Revolution Love Story

Fashion Revolution Love Story Fashion Revolution Love Story ethical fashion

Welcome to the Fashion Revolution!


Fashion Revolution was founded in direct response to the Rana Plaza Garment Factory collapse that killed over 1,100 people on April 24th, 2013. This week, we remember the victims of this and related garment factory tragedies and use our voices to demand justice for garment workers around the world.

The fact is that many survivors of the Rana Plaza collapse are still awaiting agreed-upon compensation and, among those who were injured, over 40% are unable to work. Meanwhile, workers around the world continue to fight for fair wages and safe working conditions. For more information about the current state of the industry, read the suggested links at the end of this post.

Through Fashion Revolution, consumers and fair trade organizations around the world join together to hold companies accountable for their labor standards, asking #whomademyclothes? and sharing positive stories about beloved garments and better business models. This year, the Ethical Influencer Network has decided to focus on one particular prompt provided by Fashion Revolution: Love Story.

The idea is simple: share a story about a piece of clothing that you cherish. We do this to combat the idea that fashion is throw-away, and to consider the ways that pieces bought and cared for with love positively impact our lives.
  Fashion Revolution Love Story ethical fashion
Wearing: Dress - The Kissing Tree Vintage circa 2011; Shoes - Etiko
Fashion Revolution Love Story ethical fashion
College Graduation, 2011 | Spring 2013 | Winter 2016

The item I'm featuring this year is a vintage 90s skater dress I bought from The Kissing Tree Vintage* in 2011 (oddly enough, the owner lives in the town I grew up in) . It means a lot to me because it was my first foray into vintage shopping, and I was hooked. I love the sturdy knit cotton of an early 90s garment, and I've always found this dress to be flattering and comfortable, with its wide v-neck and eye catching back seam. It creates an hourglass silhouette while gently skimming over my body, and the crochet accents on the sleeves are a big hit - they always prompt an amused comment or two.

I wore this dress under my gown for my college graduation, at the crappy customer service job I had the following summer, during my first Virginia summer, at parties and church gatherings, and off and on when the weather and occasion suited it.

Now that I'm in my late 20s and manage a shop, the hem feels a little short to be appropriate for everyday wear, but it goes great over leggings and is still perfect for weekends winery-hopping or hanging out with friends.

This dress has seen me through the highs and lows of post-college soul searching, tragedies, and triumphs, and I can't look at it without feeling thankful for the journey it's seen me through.

To join in Love Stories on social media, post a picture with a description and use the hashtags #lovedclotheslast #fashionrevolution #30wears and/or #fashrev.

Suggested Reading:


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Learn more about Fashion Revolution 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:

Fashion Revolution Day 2014

fashion revolution day

Fashion Revolution Day is a movement.

On April 24, 2013, 1,133 garment workers in Bangladesh were killed when the building where they worked collapsed. Tags inside indicated that several well-known brands had clothing produced at the site; domestic brands include The Children's Place, Cato Fashions, and Walmart. The UN has asked involved brands to compensate families of victims, but most companies refuse to do so, claiming ignorance (cleanclothes.org).

In the year since over 1,000 lives were lost to the fast fashion industry, I've seen people start asking questions about where their garments come from, new businesses with transparent manufacturing policies pop up, and fair trade become more trendy. And that's progress and it's great, though it's a crying shame it took something horrific for our voices to rise above the ignorant, self-absorbed chatter. But the problem with making fair trade trendy is that it implies that it's something you can choose to adopt or ignore. And as long as people are free to ignore their complicity in human rights atrocities, the industry won't change. We're a species of excuses: "there's nothing we can do about it;" "it's up to their countries to take care of them;" "it's too expensive." But the excuses don't mean anything at all. This is about human life. This is about committing to do no harm, about the Golden Rule, about basic human decency. You don't get to opt out. You're either building up or tearing down.

Fashion Revolution Day is about turning our muted chatter about a sustainable fashion industry into a loud roar. We're asked to wear a garment inside out, tags showing, and ask the question: "Who made my clothes?" It's not an answer, but it opens the door to discussing consumer ethics with anyone we come into contact with on April 24.

So, who made your clothes? Wear your clothes inside out on April 24 and let people know that we're ready for change. 

Get helpful facts about the clothing industry at Fashion Revolution USA.
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