style board

inspiration board: May Edition, featuring Veja, Everlane, Mata Traders


A SERIES OF DREAM OUTFITS FOR THE WARM DAYS AHEAD...


Meanwhile, the gray skies persist here in Charlottesville for the foreseeable future. My SAD is fighting with me this week, but I'm determined to remain hopeful, get stuff done, and enjoy the little things.

All items are ethical, sustainable, and/or domestically sourced. Click on the images to be redirected.*
Notes: For busy days at work or couch hunting around town on a day off.
Notes: For Sunday afternoons at the winery.
Notes: For vacationing in historic towns this summer.

inspiration board: colors and textures


I'm procrastinating going into work on my day off (lots of work to do in preparation for seasonal sales), so it seemed like a great time to share the pins that are inspiring me this month. Click here to visit my Pinterest account and access original image sources.

What I'm loving this month:


  • Peaches, tans, and coral pinks
  • Clogs and clunky shoes
  • Casual, simple outfits
  • Menswear inspired silhouettes
  • Bobs - I'm growing my hair out again

Making inspiration boards is a useful exercise for me because it helps me narrow down what I'm attracted to. I can then shop my closet and put looks together from what I already own instead of feeling like I have to purchase new things. With Black Friday in the near future, this sort of exercise is especially important. There's so much temptation out there!

an ethical outfit: poolside at the retreat center

*This post contains affiliate links. 

Daniel and I are headed out to our annual church camp retreat this weekend. This will be our second year going. If you've been reading Style Wise for awhile, you may recall that our car broke down on the interstate last time around. We were stranded in the hot summer sun until the caravan of other drivers headed to camp spotted us on the side of the road. It was quite the adventure.

The retreat weekend itself was marvelous and I think I appreciated the time with friends learning Gospel songs by ear, reading, and playing ridiculous games all the more because of the way they rallied around us after the car-tastrophe. I'm looking forward to another year of peace and friendship (and hopefully the car will get us all the way there this time around!)

inspiration: fair trade florals

florals
florals by stylewiseblog featuring fitted dresses

Featured Items (clockwise from left): Nomads Summer Halter Dress, Mata Traders Primrose Dress, Reformation Peony DressEthica Elysees Dress, Ash & Rose Cherry Blossom Dress

I had settled into a nice minimal wardrobe, content with my Everlane tees and dark wash jeans. But, one day not long ago, the trees in the median of a nearby street suddenly bloomed dazzling pink and now I just want to wear bright florals to chase the last bit of winter away. 

Solid colors have their place - and they're essential building blocks if you're someone inclined to prints - but it's a season for pattern and I'm so excited to dress a bit more feminine after being on a menswear kick for the past few seasons. In reality, I'll be depending on thrifting and accessorizing for floral accents. I don't think I can justify overturning my wardrobe (or my budget) to make way for half a dozen new dresses.

Oh, and by the way, I'm using the Style Wise facebook page to post interesting articles and fair trade sales. There's a lot of interesting stuff happening in the world of retail right now.

interview: shop ethica

shop ethica logo
I had the opportunity to interview one of the co-founders of fashion forward ethical fashion site, shopethica.com, this week. Known for discovering and promoting independent designers, Ethica has a unique aesthetic in the world of ethical retailers. Enjoy the interview and keep reading for a special discount!


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If you would, please briefly introduce yourself: name, favorite city, and a fun fact about yourself. 

Name: Melissa Cantor
Favorite City: Istanbul
Fun Fact: My husband and I have the same birthday – inevitably a conversation starter when we check in for a flight or have to show ID for some reason. 

shop ethica founder, melissa cantor

When did you become interested in ethical fashion? Was there a particular event or conversation that made you rethink your purchasing habits? 

I’ve been interested in sustainability for at least the past decade. That translated into progressively becoming a more proactive and responsible consumer, which in turn led me to pursue an interest in ethical and sustainable fashion about six or seven years ago. It was a gradual journey and a confluence of circumstances much more than a single event. 

How did Ethica begin? 

My sister and I followed a number of ethical and sustainable fashion brands that we felt transcended the "granola" look that was still the dominant stereotype a few years ago. There was no one place where we could shop all of these brands that we loved, so we created one. The idea of creating our boutique online was most appealing because it allowed us to use the shopping process to raise awareness about these issues within the fashion industry, and also to serve a national and international customer base. 

What are your ethical and aesthetic criteria for the shop? 

We have underlying criteria for labor conditions and sustainability for everything we sell, and then specific ethical categories under which we group our merchandise (sustainable, trade not aid, handcrafted, made in the usa, and vegan). Aesthetically, we look for pieces that are stylish, wearable, high-quality, comfortable and that won’t date–we look for “special” much more than anything trend-oriented. 

ethica

Shop Ethica items above here.

How would you describe the Ethica woman? 

What’s important to communicate is that she's a “real” woman with a conscientious bent–someone who is invested in issues larger than herself and tries to do her part, but who also has a life to live, and all of the demands that come with that. 

We've found that when people first learn about ethical fashion, it’s very appealing, but it can also be overwhelming. What sometimes happens is that they start thinking of it as an all-or-nothing lifestyle–like you’re either an ethical shopper or you’re not. Of course, the reality for all of us is much more nuanced than that, and I think it’s important to take it one step at a time and approach each choice individually. It’s actually one of the things that I admire most about our customers. They have busy lives that don’t revolve around ethical fashion the way mine does, and yet they have still made the time to "buy better" and harness their spending power in a positive way. 

You source from a lot of small scale designers, which is great. How do you discover them? 

Everywhere – referrals from other designers, trade shows, social media. We get approached a lot through our site or by showrooms, and we always have our eyes peeled when we travel. “Discovering” a new label is one of the most fun parts of what we do, and it’s also one of the biggest reasons that people visit Ethica. It can be challenging to work with designers that are only producing their first or second collection, but quite a few of our designers later get picked up by like-minded shops and the eco-fashion press, even the mainstream press when they do eco-fashion stories, and it’s very rewarding to see that happen and know we had a role in it. 

What are your long term goals for the shop? 

I hope we can continue to make people excited about ethical and sustainable fashion, and continue to serve this growing community in various ways. As this movement grows and takes shape, there’s also a need to come together and collectively define terms like ethical and sustainable fashion, as well as pursue some common, tangible goals, and I hope we'll be on the forefront of this. 

shop ethica items from ace and jig
Items from Ace & Jig


What are your thoughts on the current state of the fashion industry? Where do you see it headed over the next several years? 


From the industry side, there’s no question that the ethical and sustainable fashion space has exploded in the past 12-18 months, and there’s also been a big rise in awareness among consumers, especially here in the U.S. We've also been hearing increasingly from celebrities who want to promote sustainable designers, which I think has great potential to help spread the message. Even industry bodies like the CFDA are stepping up their sustainability initiatives. 

This sea change has been incredible to witness, but it still represents a tiny fraction of the industry as a whole. The big corporate retailers are really the crux of the problem (and thus, the key to the solution), and for now they’re mostly ignoring the issue or trying to greenwash over it. I happen to think that they will eventually have to change course because what the industry is doing now is simply not something that can be sustained on this planet, but the question is whether that change will take hold in 5, 10 or 20 years, and what the costs will be in the meantime. 

What are your favorite ethical brands? 

Laura Siegel, Atelier Delphine, Ace & Jig, Litke, Awaveawake, Bhava, Svilu, Pima Doll – there are so many! I could go on and on.
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Thanks for your thoughtfulness, Melissa!
shop ethica coupon code

brand: PACT Apparel

pact fair trade apparel for men and women on stylewiseblog.blogspot.com

This post contains an affiliate link

Fair trade sometimes gets a bad rap stylistically because designs tend to pull from indigenous craft traditions that, when separated from their context, come off as a bit hippie. I've come to appreciate the stories and people behind fair trade products. And, since they have given me permission to enjoy their products, I don't have to feel ill at ease about dressing in or embracing traditions that don't come from my own heritage (cultural appropriation is a tricky subject here, so I'd appreciate your input, too).

But sometimes I just want a simple tee to wear with my batik print skirt. And where do I even start looking for fair trade socks?


PACT Apparel believes in organic, sweatshop free, small scale production. They specialize in simple basics, from underwear to hoodies, that manage to be both contemporary and timeless. What's more: they're offering 40% off the entire site until December 1. They also sell these at my local Whole Foods, so if you prefer to see them in person, see if your local Whole Foods stocks them!

pact fair trade apparel for men and women on stylewiseblog.blogspot.com

If your family gives each other socks for Christmas, it might be a good time to shop. 

pact fair trade apparel for men and women on stylewiseblog.blogspot.com