special offer

Pssst, Early Access to Purse & Clutch's Housewares Collection, ...and Such

purse and clutch early access and such
Purse & Clutch, purveyor of fine fair trade bags and leather goods, is launching their first Housewares collection tomorrow. The decision to expand their product offerings arose out of a desire to fill a gap in the marketplace. In their words:

At Purse & Clutch, we're obsessed with buying ethically, but have been disappointed with the selection of items from home decor to tableware that fit our design aesthetic. It seems that the overlap between our style & ethically sourced items is so small. We've already been hard at work for the past four years making finding an ethically made handbag that you love super simple & we're on the cusp of launching something new that will expand beyond our current product offerings. Purse & Clutch is becoming Purse & Clutch …and Such!
fair trade housewares sale

That's exciting enough as it is, but you can get access to the collection one day early by using the link below!

Get Early Access to ...and Such here!


The ...and Such collection employs a small batch, small curation strategy and will be available for one day only on the first of every month, so early access is a helpful incentive.

special offer: eshakti's new website (+ a sweet discount)

Make A Statement In Bold Pants Or Shorts!

Just wanted to stop in to let you know about a special offer from custom clothing site, eshakti. I first reviewed eshakti at Thanksgiving. I received some good feedback from readers on that post regarding their production standards, which I encourage you to read here.

Eshakti guarantees that they have their employees' (primarily women in India) best interests in mind and that they both pay 50% to 100% over minimum wage and routinely inspect their facilities. They recently updated their website to include more contemporary styles and easy-to-shop themed categories based on current trends. They also offer custom fit options at reasonable rates above the base price. I opted to change the sleeve length on my little black dress last fall, but in the future, I think I'll try full custom!

I like the look and feel of the updates and am finding that a lot of the newer styles appeal to me much more than previous selections. They've definitely embraced the graphic and minimalism trends and, though I'm not going to turn into an Everlane model anytime soon, it's hard not to be influenced by it, so I think it was a smart move for eshakti. It feels to me like they've narrowed their selection, too, which makes the site more manageable to peruse.

Eshakti is offering a $35.00 discount for Style Wise Blog readers. Just click the code below to enter the site and make sure to enter it at checkout. Note that if you use my custom code, I'll get a bit of commission on the sale (which would be groovy!).

GC CODE: STYLEWISEBLOG35Valid till 06/30/2015
Enter this code in the 'Gift Coupon / Referral Code' box at checkout
Only one gift coupon can be used in an order
Not valid on previous purchases / purchase of gift cards.
This gift coupon cannot be transferred, re-issued or exchanged for cash.
Minimum order value $30.

My picks are these vintage inspired swingy shorts and this bell sleeve dress

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I feel like I've been manically posting about brands all month, which is both wonderful and overwhelming. I had some time to work on a longer form post that I hope will be helpful for those interested in diving deeper into the conscious consumerism discussion. It'll post Monday morning.

interview: Joy Martinello of Gaia Couture

sustainable fashion boutique

I'm so excited to introduce you to Joy Martinello, founder of Gaia Couture, a sustainable and ethical boutique for women. Joy has had a really interesting ethical journey and is chock full of information about the industry. 

The intersection of eco-friendly and fair trade isn't discussed enough - often they're two separate conversations - so it's rather timely that we're talking about it today with Earth Day and Fashion Revolution Day just a few days away. I hope you enjoy the interview and learn something new!


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First, tell me a bit about yourself.

I was born in outside Chicago, IL, moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida when I was 10 and grew up the rest of the way in the West Palm Beach area.
I have always been in love with clothing and costumes. I was a child actress and studied costume design in college at Tufts University in Boston which opened my mind to exploring both the creativity available to us in the world of fabrics and colors, as well sartorial philosophy and why people wear what they do. It was also in college that I became aware of the many degradations being visited upon our beautiful earth and upon workers via the garment industry. For many years it’s been a dream of mine to do something creative with my clothing skills that would help promote sustainable fashion...
I started Gaia Couture with the hope that we can keep growing and changing our inventory to reflect what women ages 25-60 are looking for in clothes that fit their lifestyle. We had our lovely [brick and mortar] shop for a year and a half and then it became clear that our online store was going to be the more sustainable version of our business so we closed the brick and mortar shop in January. My theory is if we can offer beautiful styles that become customer favorites and people turn more and more often to buying eco fashion, we can start to elevate the demand for organic clothing which will mean more sustainable bamboo forests and organic cotton fields, more factories where workers are treated fairly, and more opportunities to do business with integrity in a way that will create a more just and happy world for all.
As I’m working hard to get Gaia Couture off the ground (with some wonderful help from some amazing women), I also have a full time job in the adventure travel industry. I send people to Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands among other places. For that job I went to Kenya in November and it was unbelievable. We in the US don’t really have a context other than Disney for what it’s like to be the wild habitat of these animals. Standing 10 feet from lions or elephants or looking out across the vast plains at Mt. Kilimanjaro put me in powerful connection with the Earth and its extraordinary beauty—just a few more reasons to fight for cleaner clothing manufacturing.

Was there a particular moment or experience that made you consider how your consumer habits affected people and planet? 

I had been sheltered as a child, raised by parents who didn’t believe in global warming and didn’t see any problems with the use of harsh chemicals in our world. It was when I went to college and lived in a cooperative house in my sophomore year that I was finally confronted the with consequences of our many damaging choices as a culture. I finally realized how polluted our planet had become and how many people were suffering unnecessarily all over the world. From that time on I vowed to do what I could to make positive change. Everyone needs food, shelter and clothing (and art!) and I vowed to contribute to these needs in ways that support healing and well being for the planet and everyone.

gaia couture eco-friendly

What about sourcing? Do you manufacture your own line or buy from small brands? How do you ensure that products were produced ethically and sustainably? 

Gaia Couture is a retailer that carries other people’s lines. We have made the pledge that our clothes are at least 90% organic, leaving space for things like Lycra or Spandex as people like their clothes to stretch (they wouldn't fit well or wear well if they didn't). We choose designers who are involved in every aspect of their production and who guarantee having followed strict Fair Trade guidelines. These people know where their cotton comes from, where their bamboo comes from and they inspect their production facilities regularly for any abuses. 
We do carry some fabrics that don’t fit into the “certified organic” category yet that are sustainably made using closed loop systems that do not release any toxins into the environment (or negligible amounts). Modal® made from beech trees, Tencel® made from birch trees, and bamboo are such fabrics. Chemicals are required to break down these tough fibers into fabric; however, the manufacturers we work with have data showing that their systems are closed loops and not polluting. 
I’ve recently added prAna’s hemp/organic cotton yoga wear to our site. Hemp is grown in China without pesticides yet it comes from many sources and probably some polluting happens at different farms, as it is unregulated. Beaver Theodosakis and his people at PrAna have assured me that they know where this hemp came from and it has not been grown with any pesticides. 
At some level, it becomes a matter of trust. I personally know all the designers I buy clothes from and I know them to be ethical people who want positive change as much as I do. Yes, we have to make a living so we all have to sell clothes, but at the end of the day it’s right livelihood that matters to these people, that matters to me. I’m committed to living a true life that’s grounded in loving kindness, this means being kind to the Earth, kind to all the people who make the clothes, kind to all people who buy the clothes, and being kind to myself too. Kindness is the only thing that really matters.

Do you find it difficult to source items that are both eco-friendly and labor-friendly? In what ways do you see the eco and fair trade movements working together? How could they communicate more effectively? 

Actually, if a garment is made from organic fabrics, it’s fairly common to find out that this designer also adheres to Fair Trade practices with their manufacturing. Most designers willing to limit their fabric choices and design more expensive clothes using organic fabrics, rather than making a quick buck with fast fashion and synthetics, are also going to go the extra mile and make sure their garments are ethically produced. 
The opposite is more common, where we run across lovely garments that are made using Fair Trade standards yet that are made from synthetics and commercially produced cotton etc. These people have good intentions probably yet are not willing to sacrifice the use of cheaper fabrics to protect the environment. Hopefully they will come around. 
The economics are still not with us unfortunately, which is why if you believe in protecting the environment it’s very important to tell your friends and family about the use of pesticides and about the gigantic piles of synthetic clothing taking centuries to biodegrade in landfills. More people buying organic will bring the prices down. It’s happened with organic food. Now it simply must happen with fabrics.

sustainable fashion boutique

What's your favorite item from the current collection? 

Right now my favorite piece is the Convertible Dress. It’s a great example of a super versatile clothing piece that can be worn two different ways (both sides can be worn as the front.) The designer, Blue Canoe, knows people are paying more for an organic dress. Not only does an organic dress have to look sexy and stylish, as it does, it also has to offer better value than a synthetic dress you’d wear a few times and throw away. The Convertible Dress is well made, super soft and flatters many body types.

What are your goals for Gaia Couture in the coming years? 

My dream is to have Gaia Couture become an online department store for gorgeous women’s clothes for every event in a woman’s life. I want Gaia to become a lifestyle brand that offers fashions, accessories, lingerie, jewelry, shoes, active wear, yoga clothes—everything a woman needs to look fabulous and have luscious life, all in one place. I want Gaia to sell enough clothes that we can make a powerful impact in how clothes are manufactured all over the world. I want to support and encourage young designers by showcasing their clothes to a loyal Gaia following. I’m a designer, too, and I’d like to have a Gaia line someday too. 
In short, I want to give traditional retailers a run for their money and gather enough support for organic clothing that finally making clothes any other way, and indeed living life in any other way, is shown for what it really is: irresponsible and completely unnecessary. 
People want to do good. People want to make choices that help others and protect our beautiful Earth. In this complex world they just don’t know how to follow through with those choices. With the emerging success and visibility of Gaia Couture, I’m hoping women everywhere will have an online place where choosing to do good suddenly gets a lot easier (and more fashionable.)


And finally, since Earth Day is this Wednesday, what's your favorite park or natural landmark? 

There’s nothing quite like an old growth forest, and when I think about my love for the Earth, I think about the countless hours I've spent sitting by Salmon River in the Mt. Hood National Forest here in Oregon marveling at the exquisite beauty and lushness. Nature is enormously healing for me. It breaks my heart to think these forests may all disappear. It’s happening in the rainforests in Brazil and Peru, why not here in this rainforest? People felt about those forests the way I feel about this one and now they’re irrevocably gone. It’s unbelievable. 
We’re all connected, and people felt fine about cutting down those forests because people like us in the US felt fine about buying the burgers that come from the cows now grazing that on that denuded land. Where will it end? When will we finally make better choices to protect our glorious planet? 
I think, if people have to shop, which they do as they have to buy clothes, hopefully shopping at Gaia Couture will help.
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Thanks for your time, Joy! Stay tuned for a review of some Gaia Couture items.

giveaway: Ecouture Twist Dress in the color of your choice [closed]

ecouture giveaway

Today's post concludes Ecouture week, but the giveaway has just begun! Thanks to the Ecouture team and especially coordinator, Helene, and founder, Johanne Helger Lund, for your input. To read previous posts in this series, follow the links for the Interview and The Moral Wardrobe.


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ecouture twist dress

I'm very pleased with the flattering cut and quality of construction on the Ecouture Twist Dress I received. As previously noted, it's made out of silky soft organic cotton-jersey with pretty polka dot trim.

Ecouture is offering readers a chance to win their very own Twist Dress in the color of their choice: red, grey, petrol, or black (not shown). To enter, simply complete one or many of the tasks in the giveaway form below. You can tweet about the giveaway through the Rafflecopter form once each day for extra entries.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
The contest runs from March 23 to April 2 at midnight, EST. 
Open to international readers.