sandals

Giveaway: Win a Pair of Fair Trade Mawu Lolo Sandals

Mawu Lolo sandals review and giveaway - free ethical sandals
This post is sponsored by Mawu Lolo Sandals.

Mawu Lolo sent me a pair of their fair trade, Ghanaian made Suborsubor Sandals in March. It was still too cold in Charlottesville to wear them, so I took them with me to Florida for a couple of shoots. I liked them then, but I couldn't have anticipated how much I'd wear them throughout the summer.

The answer: a lot. Once or twice a week, mixed into my rotation of other summer favorites.  I wear sandals every day when the weather is warm and I need shoes that are comfortable enough for several hours of standing. The Suborsubor footbed is fairly simple, but it's thick and padded enough to keep my feet comfortable for several hours, and I've found these surprisingly good for walking, as well.

The best part is that Mawu Lolo prices extremely fairly, ensuring that artisans are paid a living wage and customers are able to afford their products. Their items range in price from $34.99 to $59.99.



Mawu Lolo sandals review and giveaway - free ethical sandals Mawu Lolo sandals review and giveaway - free ethical sandals

It's always a joy for me to be able to offer giveaways on behalf of beloved ethical brands. The hot days aren't over yet, so Mawu Lolo is giving away a pair of sandals to one StyleWise reader. I'm sure you'll enjoy them as much as I do. And the best part is that it's ANY pair of their sandals, so you can select a different style or color if you'd like: choose from Birkenstock-style, flip flops, and men's options. Check out the site to see all of the options.
  Mawu Lolo sandals review and giveaway - free ethical sandals

Mawu Lolo Sandals Giveaway

To enter: Fill out one or more of the prompts below (the first prompt is mandatory). Open to US readers only. By completing this form, you consent to have your email added to email newsletters for Mawu Lolo and StyleWise. Your information will not be shared with anyone else.

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Shop Mawu Lolo here. 


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Mawu Lolo Sandals: Comfort, Value & Ethics

Mawu Lolo SuborSubor Sandals fair trade reviewMawu Lolo SuborSubor Sandals fair trade review
This post was sponsored by Mawu Lolo and I received an item for review.

Being picky about footwear is a matter of health for me.


Last year, I was diagnosed with Raynaud's Disease, a narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the extremities. As a result, my toes show signs of tissue damage and hypothermia after very limited contact with cold conditions (even air conditioning), which means I need footwear that is appropriately warm in cold weather and doesn't constrict blood flow.

You might be wondering what this has to do with sandals.

I love the look of ankle-wrap sandals and flats, but I realized last spring that my ribbon sandals and ankle-wrap flats were tightening around my ankle with continued wear, resulting in numbness and discomfort in my feet. Sadly, I had to let them go. I thought I'd never be able to achieve the elegant look of an ankle-wrap again - though I knew different strap configurations existed out there, I couldn't find a fair trade version.

But then I discovered Mawu Lolo's SuborSubor Sandal.

Mawu Lolo SuborSubor Sandals fair trade reviewMawu Lolo SuborSubor Sandals fair trade reviewMawu Lolo SuborSubor Sandals fair trade review
Ethical Details: Tunic - c/o Victoria Road; Jeans - Eileen Fisher; Bag - c/o Greenheart Shop; Cardigan - Everlane; SuborSubor Sandals - c/o Mawu Lolo

The Mawu Lolo SuborSubor sandal is made by Ghanaian artisans out of hand-loomed fabric and local materials. The leather ankle strap is delicate, and shaped to look like a typical ankle-wrap, but a secure grommet on each side ensures that it's fastened at the preferred tightness without constricting more as you walk. This means my foot is secure, but I can keep the strap loose enough to maintain proper blood flow.

I'm wearing the Brown Multicolor version, which contains brown, cream, black, and a few pops of color, making these perfect for every outfit. The footbed is soft and lightly padded throughout and the sole is made of a sturdy, skid-resistant material.

The best part? These sandals retail for $34.99. Don't be fooled by fair trade companies that tell you that ethically produced items have to cost hundreds of dollars. Costs will vary based on country of production and materials sourcing, but it doesn't mean that all ethical goods must be cost prohibitive.

Case in point: I recently learned about a fair trade huarache sandal brand that buys their shoes from artisans for under $12 bucks and retails them for over $90! That means the bulk of the price is paid to the American owner rather than the person who made the shoe. We need more accountability in profit sharing, so I'm pleased to see that Mawu Lolo prices fairly.

Mawu Lolo SuborSubor Sandals fair trade review

Mawu Lolo works on a fair trade partnership model, selling artisan products in the American market and returning profits to Ghanaian artisans in a profit-sharing loop that allows the program to sustain itself while providing fair wages to Ghanaian employees.

Mawu Lolo is actually the commerce branch of a larger initiative to provide education to children and vocational training to their mothers, who learn employable skills and are provided sewing machines so that they have a continued source of income. Sandal making is a related skill that allows artisans to have access to an additional source of sustainable income. In a country where over 40% of the population lives in extreme poverty, sustainable and responsible infrastructure is absolutely essential.

Mawu Lolo currently carries a small collection of sandals for women and men, including a unisex slide and a few styles of flip flops.

Fair trade. Fair value. Real comfort.

I couldn't be more pleased with these sandals, or what they support.

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Shop Mawu Lolo here. 


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Photos by my sister, Jennifer Nichole Wells

Giveaway: OESH Artemis 3-D Printed Sandals (Closed)

OESH Artemis sandals giveaway

If you missed yesterday's brand profile on OESH shoes, make sure to check it out. OESH is a Charlottesville, Virginia based, 3-D printed, woman owned, podiatrist approved, all-around innovative company that specializes in active footwear for women.

What I forgot to mention yesterday is that the 3-D print process allows them to build a honeycomb design into the sole that disburses pressure evenly on the foot and helps prevent injury. My ankles typically roll inward when I walk and somehow the design of these soles helps prevent that.

OESH just came out with the Artemis, a new version of their sandal that wraps around the toe, and they're giving away one pair in the color and size of your choice! Simply follow the prompts in the widget below.

  OESH Artemis sandals giveaway

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For an additional entry, find the Giveaway announcement on my Instagram profile!

Contest runs through August 10 at 12:00 am EST. Must be 18 years old or older to enter. Contest is open to international readers. Winner will be selected randomly 1-3 business days after giveaway ends and notified via email. 


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Shop OESH here. Read my review here.


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

Shopping List: Ethical Black Sandals

ethical and vegan black sandals


I used to think every pair of shoes in my closet needed to be a different color, but in the past few years, I've developed a real love for black shoes with everything. I wouldn't call my personal style anything close to edgy, so the bit of black at the base adds something modern to otherwise very simple outfits.

I've seen lots of black sandals around this season, but I want something that looks just as good with shorts as it does with a fancy dress. That means chunky Birkenstocks and thick foam flip flops are out. I've narrowed it down to the options above (admittedly, I'm not the best at narrowing down), making sure to add a good mix of high and lower end, vegan and sustainable leather. Some of these are a bit outside my price range, but they may be worth saving up for.

My favorite ethical black sandals are:

(clockwise from top left)

1. Deux Mains Bel Nanm Sandal, $64.99

Made fairly in Haiti out of upcycled tires, sustainable leather, and all organic ingredients.

2. Everlane Street Sandal, $120.00

Made ethically in Italy out of Italian leather.

3. Nicora Goodall Sandal, $119.00

100% vegan. Uppers made out of recycled X-Ray film, soles and heels made from recycled rubber blend, domestically produced.

4. Bourgeois Boheme Emma Sandal, $194.00

Vegan. PVC free eco vegan leather, handcrafted in Portugal.

5. Nisolo Serena Sandal, $98.00

Made ethically in Peru. Get $25 off your purchase with my referral link.

6. Everlane Slide Sandal, $98.00

Made ethically in Italy out of Italian leather.


I'm leaning toward the Nisolo Serena Sandal, because it combines a sophisticated silhouette with a price point I'm comfortable with (though I still need to pinch some pennies to get there). The Nicora Sandal is a close second - you really can't beat their thoughtful sourcing and attention to detail. I feel like I'm getting real clarity on what I want and "need" within the context of my current lifestyle. It's exciting to have a uniform of sorts. Now all I need is the weather to stay warm so I can actually wear my warm weather gear!


the moral wardrobe: backlogged

Ethical Details: Earrings - handmade by Hannah Naomi; Top - thrifted; Sandals - Sseko Designs


I started this post, uh, like a month ago and forgot to post it!

This morning, I dropped off Daniel at school, then headed over to Albemarle Baking Company, a Charlottesville staple. I dreamed about their chocolate croissants last night, so I was determined to get one. When I got to the counter, I ran into my old boss from Java Java! The male attendant complimented me on my Sseko Designs sandals, handed me my croissant and hot tea, and I settled into an outdoor table with a magazine for the next hour or so. 

I'm not very good at taking time to just breathe. I spent a lot of time at home dawdling and reading blogs, but my mind's always preoccupied with the next task, so it was nice to really settle into leisure time this morning. 

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.

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. 


sale alert: Sseko Designs

fair trade shoes sale at sseko designs, a company that empowers women, stylewiseblog.blogspot.com

Sseko Designs is offering 20% off sitewide with code, bemerry. Their stuff is pricey because it's ethically produced and high quality, so this weekend is a good opportunity to buy yourself some ribbon sandals or a tote bag. I wore my ribbon sandals almost every day last summer!

To shop other fair sales, check out Let's Be Fair's ultimate guide here.

the moral wardrobe: catch up

summer style navy dress on6on3

I had a wonderful, jam-packed weekend working extra hours, attending a tea party, singing at church, doing a fashion shoot, driving to Richmond, and celebrating a friend's birthday party. It's always nice to have a full schedule, but I'm quite behind on Platinum and Rust updates and laundry, so I have to catch up in the next couple of days.

Speaking of Platinum and Rust, I found some groovy summer dresses I'm excited to list. I'm also interested to know what styles and items you're looking for this season, particularly if you like to buy vintage clothing. It'd be great if you'd leave me a comment or etsy message so I can try to find them for you.

Ethical choices are bolded below. Retailers taking steps to become more ethical are bolded in gray.

  • Dress - Vero Moda

  • Cardigan - thrifted

  • Earrings - handmade via etsy

  • Shoes - MIA


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the moral wardrobe: simple black & gray

seamly.co look vintage baseball tee sh3 looking outside
^ I was looking at a bird

This week has alternated between humid, intense heat and summer-like storms. I love it! Reminds me of Florida. Since all my grad student friends, including my husband, are finally free of their academic duties, we've been doing lots of celebrating: dinner parties, Mexican food, horror movie night. It makes me feel like I'm on vacation, too.

I'm happy to have a flexible schedule so I can hang out with everyone. This time last year I had just started a full time job with an evening shift that really limited social activities. I feel so fortunate to have an opportunity to enjoy this summer to its fullest potential. One of my friends just booked her flight up to C-Ville, so I'll get to show her around town in less than a month!

Ethical choices are bolded below. Retailers taking steps to become more ethical are bolded in gray.

  • Top - American Apparel

  • Skirt - Seamly.co

  • Shoes - Sseko

  • Belt - thrifted


macro berries

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style: simple sandals


sandals



sandals by fracturedradiance featuring black velvet shoes

This season's turn toward "minimalist" style is an interesting development because, for the most part, it doesn't really embrace minimalism. The blogging world is saturated with posts endorsing minimalist dressing by getting rid of a whole bunch of stuff you already own and replacing it with simpler garments, which in the end really just endorses over-consumption as usual.

That being said, I do like the classic shapes and understated styles, and there's something to be said for buying a pair of sandals that look like the ones featured above instead of knee high gladiators or bedazzled flip flops certain to be out of style in a couple of years. So, hooray for minimalism embraced responsibly. If you're hankering for a pair of sandals, maybe go with a classic silhouette you can wear for years, but don't go crazy and buy a different pair of "minimalist" sandals for every day of the week.
All sandals shown above are domestically produced, handmade, fair trade, responsibly manufactured, or vintage. Click on the styleboard to be redirected to product sources.

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the moral wardrobe: everyday

ar3 ar7ar4

This is my favorite skirt. It's a weird length and a crazy pattern, but it works with almost everything I own. I'm just so happy I can go bare-legged again (sort of - today it's cold and raining)! It hasn't fully sunk in that the dark ages of winter are over for a time.

The fashion show I'm participating in is this weekend! I have to go back to the salon for a touch up, get contacts, and attend rehearsals throughout the week. I'm so glad I have the opportunity to check modeling off my bucket list and maybe get some awesome action shots of myself walking the runway.

Ethical choices are bolded below. Retailers taking steps to become more ethical are bolded in gray.

  • Top - J. Crew

  • Skirt - thrifted vintage

  • Sandals - MIA


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spring favorites


springfaves


springfaves by fracturedradiance featuring leather bags

Charlottesville had its first taste of spring last week and now I'm totally and completely over winter. I've been enjoying watching wildlife reemerge and birds take flight, flocks zig-zagging across the sky hypnotically. I can't stop looking up.

If I had an unlimited wardrobe budget, I'd update my closet with:

  1. Everlane U-neck tee in Pine

  2. Bookhou Day Bag in Bure

  3. Dogeared L ring

  4. Orla Kiely for People Tree Collar Dress

  5. TOMS Black Woven Correa Sandals

  6. Everlane Sandals


But alas, I'll be thrifting or not shopping at all. It's tax season after all.
*Click the styleboard to view product sources.

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