sustainable

Simply Wood Birth Flower Ring: For Mothers & Mother Earth + Giveaway

Simply Wood Rings Birth Flower Mother's Day Ring and Giveaway Simply Wood Rings Birth Flower Mother's Day Ring and Giveaway
This post was sponsored by Simply Wood Rings and I received an item for review. Scroll all the way down to enter the giveaway.

To kick off Earth Month's eco-friendly brand features, I want to orient the discussion around our planet in the broadest sense. 


I'm interested in coming to understand the way we've anthropomorphized and even worshiped the earth through the character of Mother. An earth goddess exists in several of the world's ancient religions, including those of the Inca, Algonquian, Mesopotamians, Indo-Europeans, and Egyptians. And in ancient Rome, Gaia stands in as the ancestral mother of all life. As one character in a larger, polytheistic narrative, these earth goddesses interacted with others gods, as well as humans, on a regular basis in tangible, everyday ways.

You don't have to adopt particular religious beliefs to see the value in the symbolic figure of Mother Earth. Framing the earth as a mother strips back the dominating, industrial narrative of the last few hundred years and forces us to imagine what an interpersonal relationship would look like with this humming, diverse planet. Mother is a role of origination and sustaining, of protection and discipline. As a child, I saw my mother through a lens of respect, gratitude, wonder, and deep love. If we could consciously see the earth and its ecosystems through this framework, I think much could be accomplished for sustainability.

Simply Wood Rings brings this ethos of respect and wonder to its sustainable, eco-friendly wood rings.

Simply Wood Rings Birth Flower Mother's Day Ring and GiveawaySimply Wood Rings Birth Flower Mother's Day Ring and Giveaway

Simply Wood Rings is a Chicago-based ethical business that produces one-of-a-kind, custom made rings for any occasion.


Their business model is community based in that all raw materials are sourced through an organic network of friends, clients, and small businesses. Wood is gathered from local cabinet makers, donated from clients' home projects, salvaged from fallen branches in local woods, and even saved from an old xylophone and marimba factory. Flowers for inlays are taken from friends' and families' gardens, or purchased from small scale etsy sellers. And gemstones are purchased from vendors and co-ops that prioritize US-based, sustainable industry, including turquoise scraps from Alltribes artisans.

Being able to wrap a beautifully polished piece of tree around my finger makes me feel rooted. It's a reminder that the most meaningful things in life are simple: a laugh between longtime friends, birdsong, sharing a meal, walking through the woods, watching a child play pretend.

I'm wearing Simply Wood Rings' new Birth Flower Ring in these photos, customized to represent meaningful dates in my life. Coming full circle, the Simply Wood team made this ring with mothers in mind, with the intention of having the mother select wood that represents her birth month and floral inlays to match the birth months of her children. Since I don't have children (and my mother was unlikely to wear a ring), I selected the components of my ring to represent Daniel's and my relationship.

The base wood is cherry (July) to represent Daniel's and my wedding month, as well as strong expression and compassion. There are two floral inlays: Aster (September) for my birth month and magic, mystery, love, and daintiness, and Gladiolus (August) for Daniel's birth month and moral integrity, infatuation, and fortitude.

Simply Wood Rings Birth Flower Mother's Day Ring and Giveaway
Wearing an Everlane tee, c/o Emma Suzanne Scarf, and c/o Simply Wood Rings Birth Flower Ring

The Birth Flower Ring makes a definite statement without feeling clunky; in fact, it feels quite feminine in a modern way. I plan on making it one of my everyday rings in addition to my wedding and engagement rings. For me, it symbolizes the continuing, everyday relationship Daniel and I share. It's so much more than that single wedding day, so much more vibrant, deep, and all-encompassing.

As we look toward year 8 of marriage this summer, it feels right to honor our marriage with a stunning piece of jewelry, just as much a keepsake as the rings we exchanged on our wedding day. (This piece, all in, totaled about $310, but costs vary by complexity of design and materials used, so if you're interested you can fill out a commission form here.)

This year, Simply Wood Rings is celebrating Earth Month in a special way:

From April 1st to the 22nd we are donating 10% of all purchases made to an environmental charity of your choice. We have four options to choose from this time around: the Environmental Defense Fund, the National Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and Earthjustice. 

I can highly recommend Simply Wood Rings for their quality, beauty, sustainable ethos, and professionalism. My ring came packed in biodegradable cardboard and tissue paper, and was cushioned in a little wood tray. Whether you're looking for a Mother's Day gift, a wedding ring, or commemorating another event in your life, Simply Wood Rings will work with you to make a ring that suits you distinctly, and with the sense that there was equal nurturing given to you and Mother Earth.

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GIVEAWAY

ENTER TO WIN 1 Customizable Birthflower Ring from Simply Wood Rings 
here and on Instagram (@stylewiseblog).

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Must be 18 years old or older to enter. Open to US readers only. Winner will be able to customize 1 Mother's Birthflower Ring to their heart's content - no price or customization cap. Giveaway ends midnight EST 4/18/17.

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Shop Mothers' Rings here.


Follow along: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Better Shoes Foundation Marks the Path Toward a Sustainable Shoe Industry

Better Shoes Foundation, Sustainable Shoe Industry, Founded by Po-Zu


The dangers of the clothing industry are well known to me. Chemical dyes, cramped working conditions, long hours, poor ventilation, safety code violations, depression, child labor, poor medical and vocational resources. But I have to admit I haven't devoted nearly as much mental energy to the shoe industry, even though I'm a self proclaimed shoe-aholic.

I've always believed that the shoes make or break the outfit and I've had an eye for the unique and slightly weird since I was young. Even though I've switched to ethical shopping with a focus on buying less overall, I have a hard time resisting a high quality, beautiful pair of shoes. They make me feel good about myself.

Shoes are also important from a health perspective. As I learned from speaking with the founder of local shoe company, OESH, the way a footbed is made has a profound effect on joint and whole body health (Did you know that most shoe lasts are developed off of the male foot even though a woman's gait is distinctly different due to our broader hips? Not cool).

Shoes make us feel confident, make us taller, and help us take on physically challenging tasks. But, like most other things created by humans, the shoe industry has a dark underbelly.


A few introductory facts:


  • Global shoe manufacturing is a $195 billion dollar industry
  • The global footwear industry employs over 5 million people, with 87% of manufacturing done in Asia.
  • Only 2% of the final price of goods goes toward the factory worker's wage, even though assembly can take as many as 360 steps per shoe.
  • Shoe waste will reach 1.2 million tons, but only 5% of shoes and shoe parts are recycled.
  • Despite it being the 4th most toxic pollutant in the world, 85% of leather is tanned with Chromium. (Source)

In many ways, the shoe industry parallels the garment industry, both in terms of labor conditions and pollution. Yet the use of Chromium in leather processing - not to mention the massive amount of livestock that are killed to to maintain the industry's demands (though most leather is a byproduct of the meat industry) - contributes to greater ecological damage on a per-item basis. It's time we take notice. 

Better Shoes Foundation, Sustainable Shoe Industry, Founded by Po-Zu

The Better Shoes Foundation aims to do just that. 


The Better Shoes Foundation was founded by sustainable shoe company, Po-Zu in celebration of their 10 year anniversary. The website has an open source format in order to provide collaborative and up-to-the-minute information about the industry as a whole, from design to materials sourcing to consumption to post-consumer life. Get an overview of the industry or dig a little deeper. There are links, resources, handouts, infographics, and a brand directory to help consumers and suppliers join up and make more sustainable choices. 

Though the Better Shoes Foundation is primarily concerned with being a resource to suppliers, they offer fairly thorough resources for consumers:

The Brands page specifically celebrates companies that have prioritized ethics and sustainability from day one. I immediately noticed a few of my favorites, like Nisolo and Oliberte and several I'd never heard of, like Conker Shoes and D'Arçé. The list conveniently divides vegan and non-vegan options so you can shop according to your specific standards easily.

The For Consumers page provides a directory of apps and guides - like Good On You - that break down the ethical standards of specific companies.

In an industry and a world that tends to favor opaqueness over transparency, I'm impressed with the breadth and depth of information made available through the Better Shoes Foundation. 


As I've said before, I'm of the opinion that staying educated and being well-informed is part of the fun of being a conscious consumer. I could literally spend hours reading up on every part of the shoe making process. In fact, I will.

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Check out the Better Shoes Foundation here.



This post was not monetarily sponsored, but I was gifted a pair of shoes from Po-Zu as a part of this collaboration. That being said, I wouldn't have heard about the Better Shoes Foundation otherwise, so I'm glad I got the chance to work with them. 

Image via Po-Zu.

Ethical Sale Alert: Black Friday + Cyber Monday Sales and Campaigns

ethical and fair trade black friday and cyber monday sales and coupon codes

Check out the 2017 roundup here.

Cyber Monday Update:

Many sales have been ongoing since Black Friday. Those sales and coupon codes are listed below.

Give-Back Campaigns:

  • Braintree Clothing: 50% of proceeds donated to Refugee Council and second, crowdsourced option announced 11/23. Black Friday only.
  • Patagonia: 100% of sales donated to grassroots eco-organizations. Black Friday only.
  • Ethical Black Friday (MadeFAIR + Bead & Reel): 50% of sales from single item donated to Dressember Foundation. Black Friday through Giving Tuesday.
  • Belvele: 20% off with code, GIVEANDSAVE, and 20% donated to Natural Resources Defense Council. Black Friday-Cyber Monday.
  • Favor Jewelry: 15% off with code, SHOPSMALL, and 15% of sales donated to Raphael House Women's Shelter. Expiration date not specified.
  • Teeki: 30% off + 10% of proceeds donated to Standing Rock with code, TEEKICASH20. Black Friday-Cyber Monday.
  • Everlane: Proceeds benefit a Helmet Fund for employees at factory in Vietnam. Black Friday only.

Sales + Coupon Codes:

This list contains affiliate links.
  • The Body Shop: miscellaneous sales. See website for details.
  • Jacob Bromwell: 50% off with code, SAVE50. Black Friday-Cyber Monday.
  • Raven + Lily: 30% off with code, SOTHANKFUL. Now-Cyber Monday.
  • Meow Meow Tweet: 20% off. Black Friday-Cyber Monday.
  • FashionABLE: 20% + free shipping with code, HOLLYJOLLY. Black Friday-Cyber Monday.
  • Threads 4 Thought: 40% off with code, T4THOLIDAY. Ongoing.
  • lemlem: 25% off with code, GIVETHANKS. Ongoing.
  • Nisolo: 10% off sitewide with code, BLACKFRIDAY10, up to 40% off in total savings. Ongoing.
  • Causebox: $15 off + free mystery jewelry with code, BLACKFRIDAY16. Now-Cyber Monday.
  • Indigenous: 25% off the gift collection with code, GOODGIFT. Now-11/27
  • WeWOOD: 30% off full priced styles. Use code, WWBF, through Black Friday and WWCM on Cyber Monday.
  • Freedom Soap Company: 30% off with code, SHOPSMALL16. Expiration date not specified.
  • Ethica: up to 65% off on select merchandise. Now-Giving Tuesday.
  • Raven and Lily: 30% off + free shipping.  
  • Mercado Global: 25% off the Fall/Winter Collection with code, BLACKFRIDAY2016. Now-Sunday.
  • Enrou: 15% off. Now-Giving Tuesday.
  • Glad Rags: miscellaneous sales. Now-Cyber Monday.
  • Thistle Farms: free shipping. Now-Cyber Monday.
  • The Simply Co.: 25% off with code, BUYBUYSTAINS. Now-Cyber Monday.
  • Ethos Collection: 24 hour flash sales. Black Friday-Cyber Monday.
  • Gunas: 25% off with code, HOLIDAYLOVE. Black Friday only.
  • Mata Traders: 25% off, + free shipping on order over $100. Expiration date not specified.
  • Fortress of Inca: up to 78% off. Now-Cyber Monday.
  • Sseko Designs: 25% off with code, GIVEBETTER. Now-Cyber Monday.
  • Nudie Jeans: 30% off on seasonal items. Expiration date not specified,
  • Veja: up to 60% off. Now-Black Friday.
  • Tribe Alive: 40% off with purchase, GRATITUDE.
  • Alohas Sandals: select sales. See website for details.
  • Synergy Organic Clothing: 30% off with code, BLACKFRIDAY. 
  • Lur Apparel: 20% off with code, GIVETHANKS. Black Friday-Cyber Monday.
  • UKonserve: 20% off with code, PURPOSE20. Black Friday-Cyber Monday.
  • Hannah Naomi: 25% off with code, EARLYBIRD, + free gifts. 
  • Bourgeois Boheme: 40% off with code, TAKEITSLOW1, with additional sales through the weekend. Black Friday only.
  • Made: 20% off. Black Friday-Sunday.
  • Krochet Kids: 40% off with code, GIVETHANKS. Black Friday-Sunday.
  • Ekata Designs: 50% off with code, BLACKFRIDAY16. 
  • Oliberte: 30-60% off. Black Friday-Sunday.
  • Ten Thousand Villages: Buy one, get one 50% off on jewelry through Sunday. Select sales Cyber Monday.
  • Elegantees: Spend $25, get a $25 gift card; spend $50, get a $50 gift card. Black Friday-Cyber Monday.
  • Pact Organic: 30-70% off.
  • Amour Vert: 20% off with code, GREENFRIDAY. Black Friday-Cyber Monday.
  • Accompany: miscellaneous sales. See site for details.
  • Malia Designs: 30% off. Black Friday-Giving Tuesday.
  • Hazel & Rose: 30% off (some exclusions) with code, BLACKFRIDAY2016. Black Friday-Cyber Monday.
  • Alter Eco: 25% off with code, FAIRTRD25. Black Friday-Sunday.
  • Ash & Rose: 20% off with code, GIVETHANKS. Black Friday-Sunday.
  • Madison Street Beauty: up to 60% off. Black Friday-Cyber Monday.
  • Yellow 108: 20% off with code, SMALLBIZ. Saturday-Cyber Monday.
  • Anchal Project: 30% off with code, CYBER30. Cyber Monday only.
  • Hipsters for Sisters: 35% off with code, THANKFUL.

Feel free to add sales and events in the comments of this post. THANK YOU to everyone who has already commented with sales info.

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In addition to all your other shopping, please consider purchasing items off of the 

Standing Rock Water Protectors' Wishlist



Sotela: The last dress you'll ever need, now on Kickstarter

sotela kickstarter
I've known Hanna for a few years now, both through her former blog, Gold Polka Dots, and through our mutual membership in the Ethical Writers Coalition. Hanna is compassionate, intelligent, and thoughtful. And now - with the launch of her Kickstarter campaign - she's a sustainable business owner and awesome entrepreneur!

Sotela aims to solve the what to wear conundrum by offering a range of garments that look great and fit regardless of hormonal or seasonal weight and size fluctuations. I love this concept, 1. because it's truly sustainable in that you don't have to buy something new when your size changes, and 2. because it graciously acknowledges regular weight gain and body insecurity. It reminds women that our value isn't determined by how our clothes fit.

I'll let the official press release give you a bit more info about the company and Kickstarter launch:


Sizes may change, but your style doesn’t have to. 


Sotela, a new California-based fashion brand, is solving the “nothing fits” dilemma with its debut collection of essential dresses that span multiple sizes, now available for preorder on Kickstarter.com.

sotela kickstarter campaign
My favorite silhouette, the Cocoon Dress

The brand, conceptualized in 2015, designed a collection of three dresses that span multiple sizes, eliminating time wasted searching for an outfit that fits. Size 1 ranges from 0-6 and size 2 from 8-12.

Never compromising ethics over style: each piece in the Sotela collection is eco- friendly, and features fabrics such as tencel and modal - sustainable fabrics known for their breathability and softness. All Sotela pieces are also locally made in the United States.


Sotela founder, Hanna Baror-Padilla, recognized the need for a dynamic clothing brand for women, as well as the lack of options currently available at major retailers. “Like most women, I’ve struggled with weight fluctuations that have made fitting into my regular clothing a chore. I know first-hand how insecure you can feel when your clothes don’t fit the way the way you remembered."

"I created Sotela because I believe we should be able to reach into our closets and have multiple pieces that will always fit, and better yet, make us feel beautiful.” 


Sotela’s debut dress collection is available for preorder on Kickstarter through June 9, 2016. Once the campaign reaches its fundraising goal of $15,000, funding and manufacturing will begin for “The Last Dress You’ll Ever Need.”

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I am really enjoying watching wonderful women in this community come into their own and change the world in the process.



Also, check out fellow EWC member, Kamea Chayne's, new book, Thrive: An Environmentally Conscious Lifestyle Guide to Better Health and True Wealth, now available on Amazon!

Every day is Earth Day for the EWC

ethical writers co earth day shenandoah national park
This year, members of the Ethical Writers Coalition banded together to share ways we honor the earth every day of the year. We get lots of pitches this time of year from brands who think today might be the only day we care about their nontoxic, zero waste, renewable-energy product, but in reality, the 65+ members of the EWC think about this all the time, so why not share it?

I mean, it's great that the earth has its very own day, but in light of the news last month that 95% of the Great Barrier Reef is now bleached due to rising water temperatures and the reality that Americans throw away 65 pounds of clothing per person per year, I think we can agree that honoring the earth is something we need to be actively pursuing on a daily basis. I hope the below statements inspire you and help you find small ways you can make a difference.

Mine: 

I honor the Earth throughout the year by using cloth menstrual pads instead of disposables and washing them with eco-friendly detergent.

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Alden Wicker, EcoCult

I honor the earth every single day, by always packing a reusable water bottle, a reusable handkerchief, and a reusable bag in my purse – they are as important as my wallet and keys!

Emily McLaughlin, Gathering Green

I honor the earth all year, beyond Earth Day, by being mindful of where my food is sourced, joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share, and educating myself on modern farming practices.

Stephanie Villano, My Kind Closet

I honor the earth every day by wearing my clothes more than once to save water with fewer washes, and sourcing my food locally whenever possible - even growing my own produce in the summer and fall.

Danielle Calhoun, Black Sheep Bride

I honor the earth every day by teaching my children the importance of picking up trash and recyclables in on our daily walks around the neighborhood and showing them the value of eating what’s available to them in our own environment (in our case fish from the Gulf of Mexico we catch).

Annie Zhu, Terumah

I honor the earth by buying organic and supporting local farmers.
  ethical writers co earth day
Catherine Harper, Walking with Cake

I honor the earth every day by teaching my boys to recycle, using what we have instead of always buying something new, and eating locally-grown foods.

Faye Lessler, Sustaining Life

I honor Mama Earth every day of the year by always being mindful of my actions, asking questions before I purchase, and appreciating the beauty of life.

K. Chayne, Kamea World

I honor planet earth every day by using a holistic view of health—one that encompasses the health of our minds, bodies, and our collective environment—to shape my thought processes, habits, and consumer choices.

Jacalyn Beales, Out of Wilderness

I honor our Earth everyday by striving to use products which don’t violate the rights and welfare of our planet’s wildlife.

Hanna Baror Padilla, Sotela.co

I honor the earth every day by creating timeless clothing with eco-friendly fabrics that is made in the US.

Chandra Fox, These Native Goods

I honor the earth every day by appreciating everything she has provided us with and by reducing my family's waste through more conscious shopping practices, when selecting our food and goods -less packaging, less chemicals, less impact.

Nichole Dunst, Green or Die

I honor the Earth by abstaining from products, materials, and practices that rob it of its precious natural resources, by getting out and enjoying the natural beauty that it has to offer, and by practicing compassion towards all of its creatures.

Renee Peters, Model 4 Green Living

I honor the Earth every day by not consuming animal products, walking and taking public transportation, consuming products responsibly and wasting less, and by using my platform as a model to spread my message...The little things that we, as individuals, do everyday all add up to combat climate change. Never underestimate the power of small, daily actions that add up to be a huge reduction in our carbon footprint.
  florida seagulls ethical writers co earth day
Eleanor Snare, Eleanor Snare

I honour the Earth each day by spending time outside, fully absorbing what’s around me, reducing my impact on the planet and learning to interact with the planet in new ways through planting, growing and nurturing.

Elizabeth Stilwell, The Note Passer

I honor the earth everyday by treading lightly on her resources and inhabitants as I practice minimalism, veganism, and use public transportation as much as possible.

Addie Benson, Old World New

I honor our one and only earth every day by making old things new again, such as thrifted fashion finds, thereby not encouraging the use of our finite precious natural resources.

Sara Weinreb, IMBY

I honor the earth everyday by using plastic-free packaging that is made of recycled and recyclable materials when I ship out new orders of our Made in USA clothing.

Abby Calhoun, A Conscious Consumer

I honor the earth every day by taking in as much as information as I can about her resources, climate change, and our role as consumers in the ‘bigger picture’. I promise to never stop asking questions and having conversations, and will always look for alternative consumption practices to relieve the pressure we are placing on our planet.

Juhea Kim, Peaceful Dumpling

I honor the earth every day by composting and eating vegan. I’ve been vegan for almost 10 years and composting for 5 years. These two activities ground me and make me feel more compassionate, conscientious, and connected to the earth.

Greta Matos, Greta Matos

Quiet moments to watch the sunrise, daily hikes in wild places, conscious and focused appreciation for the abundance of this planet and my connection to it- these are my daily rituals to honor this incredible Earth! I also fold this appreciation and respect into all aspects of my work- whether I am writing and sharing my adventure stories, publishing photos, or consulting on ethical supply chain strategy, I am inspired in my work by the beauty of nature and honor it throughout.

Dominique, Let’s Be Fair

I honor the Earth by loving the people on it and enjoying the beauty of the world with them as grateful stewards.

Kasi Martin, The Peahen

I show my love for the Earth by talking her up! You can eat vegan, live as minimally as possible, and do your homework when it comes to clothes, but when others know the motivation for your lifestyle choices they can also be inspired to action.

Holly Rose, Leotie Lovely

I honour Mama Earth each and every day by being mindful of how my actions and purchases affect her, from my clothing and food to my toothbrush and detergents.

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There are a lot of ways to make a change and we're not all going to have the exact same priorities, but the important thing is that we're trying, and that we're working together for a better world.

How do you honor the earth every day?


*All photos belong to me

giveaway: Malia Designs Pleated Crossbody + Matching Wallet ($80 value)

fair trade crossbody purse giveaway

Malia Designs has partnered with Style Wise for an Instagram giveaway, happening now:

Win a Pleated Crossbody and Matching Wallet from the Spring '16 Collection!


To learn more about the Pleated Crossbody, ethical guidelines, and the spring collection, see my review post here. To enter, check out the Instagram post. Best of luck!

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Enter here.


review: the LoveGoodly February Box delivers natural, healthy goods to your door

lovegoodly box review
This post contains affiliate links.

I discovered LoveGoodly by chance late last year and was immediately intrigued by their subscription box concept. Subscription boxes are the thing right now, but not all of them are created equal. And while I like the idea of some of the fair trade clothing and accessories boxes, I knew I wouldn't find as much value in them since I'm fairly literate about my options in that category.

But I am in the process of finding more sustainable health and home goods, especially as the market rapidly expands, and the LoveGoodly box offers full size products at a 50% discount. Plus, a portion of proceeds from this month's box goes to support the charity, Cure Cervical Cancer.

lovegoodly february box review

I sampled the February box using a discount code provided in exchange for review.

Here's what's inside:

  • Purely Elizabeth Apple Currant Muesli, $6 value:
    • I had no idea what muesli was before I received this, so I hunted around to make sure it didn't need any special preparation. Muesli is a glorified granola/oatmeal that can be used as cereal, granola, or hot porridge. I like mixing it with Greek yogurt. I'm really enjoying this, but I don't think I'd spend $6.00 on it. I might make my own blend. 
    • Available for purchase here.
  • May Yeung Infinity Bracelet, $40 value:
    • This bracelet makes me go Ehh (shrugs shoulders). It's fair trade with a sterling silver charm and is really quite lovely, but it's just not my thing. 
  • skinnyskinny Basil & Mint Soap, $12 value:
    • Sadly, this soap contains palm oil, which is easy enough to avoid for the sake of rainforest conservation. The plus side is that it smells great; I dig the bright, herbal blend.
  • Cellar Door Tahitian Grapefruit Vanilla Travel Tin, $10 value:
    • I LOVE this candle. It smells like a beachside vacation, so it's a nice pick-me-up on cold days when I'm stuck indoors. I would definitely repurchase. Cruelty free, fair trade, made in USA.
    • Full size available here.
  • LVX x LOVEGOODLY True LOVE Red Nail Polish, $18 value:
    • A saturated, classic red, this is a good staple, plus its toxin free, cruelty free, and creates a nice, glossy finish. I would repurchase this, too. 
    • Available for purchase here.

All in all, I was a little disappointed in this box. I would only repurchase the candle and the nail polish. Still, I enjoyed experiencing muesli for the first time. I was hoping for a facial care product like I've seen in previous boxes, but I'm really thrilled that I was introduced to Cellar Door candles. 

lovegoodly review
Left to Right: Cellar Door Candle at teatime; Muesli with Yogurt; The candle canister on Valentine's Day

Some products that came in this box are available for individual ordering at the LoveGoodly shop.

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Get $5 off your LOVEGOODLY purchase of $25+ with code, LOVESHOP5.



the moral wardrobe: Dorsu Slip-On Dress

oversized dress from dorsuminimalist ethical outfit from dorsu
Dorsu makes easy, well cut basics using remnant fabric sourced from Cambodia's clothing manufacturing industry. When I saw that they were doing a fundraiser a few months back to scale their business and build out their workshop, I decided to donate as a sort of reverse birthday present to myself. They were kind enough to reach out and send me a few items to review on Style Wise.

As the years roll by, I'm becoming increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of the things I purchase. Worker welfare is absolutely important, but we can't really say something was "made ethically" if we're disregarding the ecosystems and natural resources people rely on to flourish. That's why I love that Dorsu has intentionally filled a gap in the industry by setting up shop close to where remnant fabrics in the global supply chain go to die: right in the heart of a major manufacturing center...

We purchase fabric remnants leftover from garment factories who discard off-cuts during production. In the past, this waste was dumped into landfill or burned, however, it is now recovered and sold into a local market chain. Buying this fabric allows us to support the prevention of unnecessary waste in Cambodia, keep our supply chain as close as possible and contribute to local economy.

dorsu slip-on dress review

Here I'm wearing the Slip-On Dress in a taupe and black colorblock design. I like the relaxed fit - it looks just as good worn as a tunic as it does as a dress. Admittedly, it was warm enough this weekend to go sans jeans, but I think the layering adds a nice edge to the look. I had this balled up in my suitcase for days, too, and it's only a tiny bit wrinkled. The site says it's made of cotton, but it feels silky like rayon.
  ethical color block dress from dorsu
Ethical Details: Dress - c/o Dorsu; Flats - old and upcycled; Necklace - c/o Hands Producing Hope

Dorsu's site shows prices in AUD, but you'll be happy to know that they ship to the US and that the conversion rate is quite good! The Slip-On Dress sells for 49.00 AUD, which is about $36.00 USD (you'll have to add about $25.00 for flat rate international shipping, so keep that in mind). There are also a number of domestic shops that sell Dorsu, so I encourage you to hunt around or ask your local fair trade shop if they carry Dorsu.

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Shop Dorsu here. Follow Dorsu on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.



thanksGIVING giveaway: Fair Trade Market Tote from Daisies & Doodles (+ a coupon code)

daisies and doodles fair trade
festive fall giveaway

Daisies & Doodles is an online ethical boutique with a focus on practical accessories, housewares, and stuff for kids. They carry an excellent selection of woven baskets and totes, including this Market Bag. Handwoven from water reeds under fair trade guidelines in Morocco, they come in a variety of patterns and are sturdy and large enough to use as a reusable market bag or work tote. One of my volunteers at the shop always carries her things in a little handled basket and this tote would work really well for her needs. And with tons of Holiday markets coming up, it would be a great item to bring along with you so you can properly stock up on local soaps, knitted things, and other handmade goods.

ethical outfit and market bag

I paired the Market Tote with a Shibori dyed scarf made by women in Rajasthan, India, part of Daisies & Doodles' scarf collection.

thanksgiving giveaway
Ethical Details: Scarf - c/o Daisies & Doodles; Dress - thrifted; Top - Everlane; Boots - Oliberte; Tote - Daisies & Doodles

market tote giveaway
Lucky for you, I'm giving away this Market Bag!
To enter:
- Simply complete one or several of the Rafflecopter prompts below.
- Tweet about the giveaway through the form for 1 new entry every day.

Open to US readers only. Winner will receive 1 Market Tote courtesy of Daisies & Doodles and Style Wise. Contest begins Wednesday, November 25 at 12:00 am EST and ends Wednesday, December 2 at 12:00 am EST. Winner will be contacted via email within 1 week of contest deadline. This contest is not affiliated with Instagram or Blogger. 

Giveaway Closed.


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the moral wardrobe: falling back with Braintree Clothing

fair trade striped top

Braintree Clothing is a London based company committed to ethical manufacturing. They use natural, organic, and recycled fabrics; have a comprehensive animal welfare policy; and pay fair wages to factory employees. Additionally, they believe in maintaining long term relationships with their factories to ensure continued employment and consistent regulation.

1970s ethical outfitvintage shoes

All of that is awesome, but what attracted me to Braintree was their collection. Modern, casual, and just a bit British heritage, it's effortless, everyday wear. They provided the Jarrah Striped Tee to review on Style Wise and I love it more than I expected (and I expected to love it because it's striped!). It's made of a bamboo viscose/cotton blend with a bit of stretch and has cool buttons on the back. After I snapped these shots, I undid the bottom three buttons for more of a flyaway look with my high waist jeans. I like that the angled hem looks like a vented shirttail on a suit when the buttons are undone.

braintree clothing reviewbraintree clothing jarrah top review
Ethical Details: Jarrah Top - c/o Braintree Clothing; Earrings - c/o Bario Neal; Shoes - thrifted; Ring (not shown) - Alex & Ani

The width of the stripes and the cut made me think of casual '70s looks, so I paired it with flares and vintage, t-strap flats that remind me of clogs. The Jarrah top costs about $50.00 USD and runs true to size.

Side note: this was maybe the first time I've ever taken photos before work. With the time change, it gets dark at 5:00, but the morning light is glorious!

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Shop Braintree Clothing. Follow Braintree on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

the moral wardrobe: oldies

personal style
h & m jumper
polaroids
sseko designs loafers
Ethical Details: Top - made in USA; Dress - old; Shoes - Sseko Designs c/o Made Fair

Sometimes the most ethical thing you can do for your wardrobe is wear out your old things. I bought this dress at H&M a few years ago on a trip to Richmond with a friend. At the time, I was impressed with H&M's corporate social responsibility report and thought they'd be a good option for ethical goods. My opinion has changed over the years - fast fashion is unsustainable regardless of how well-intentioned your policies are - but I am pleased to see that H&M is starting to make jeans out of recycled materials and plans to use organic cotton for all its cotton goods within 5 years. It's not perfect, but it's a start. 

I've been spending a huge amount of time at work preparing for and implementing our seasonal switchover to fall-appropriate clothing. Lots of physical labor. But it's pretty much done now and I'm excited to have more time to enjoy the cooler weather and maybe stop by a nearby sunflower field in the next couple of weeks.

A note on the camera: my parents sent me back from my recent visit with my old Polaroid camera, so I bought myself some film and tried it out! It still works just fine and it made a nice prop for this photo shoot. Maybe I should hold more things in my hands when I take outfit photos. It makes me feel like I have a purpose.

the moral wardrobe: favorites

shawl collar top
lavender fair trade top
black and white skirt
betula birkenstock black sandals
eco outfit
Ethical Details: Top - c/o Gaia Couture (RIP); Skirt - secondhand; Shoes - Betula

It's always obvious whether I feel confident in what I'm wearing in my outfit photos. If I can't get a natural looking, happy shot, I give up on the photos and seriously reconsider the things I'm wearing. You can probably tell that I love this outfit. I got this skirt on ebay a couple of years ago on a whim and wear it at least once a week; the Betula sandals are comfortable and fashion forward at the same time; and the top fits me like a glove and has the most interesting neckline I've ever seen. Putting them together is outfit heaven. 

Plus, when I was taking these photos a butterfly danced across the yard, so I couldn't help but feel happy. 

giveaway: $50 Liz Alig gift card [Ended]

liz alig giveaway and review
recycled tshirt liz alig
liz alig robyn top
Ethical Details: Robyn Shirt - c/o Liz Alig; Shorts - thrifted; Earrings - handmade by Hannah Naomi; Glasses - Warby Parker

This shirt was made from recycled t-shirts, just like the Ada skirt I reviewed Monday. Check out that post for more about fair trade brand, Liz Alig

Liz Alig is offering a $50 gift card to one Style Wise reader. To enter:
  1. Follow @liz_alig on instagram.
  2. Comment below with your instagram username for entry verification. 

The giveaway will run from Wednesday, July 22nd to 12:00 am EST, Monday, August 3rd. Open to international readers.

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Follow Liz Alig on twitterinstagram, and facebook. Check out the Fall '15 line, too.

What is Ethical? 7 terms you need to know

7 ethical terms
This post contains a few referral links, noted with a *

When I first started this blog, I found it rather difficult to navigate the ins and outs of "ethical consumerism." I knew vaguely that designated fair trade items were preferable to conventionally produced goods, but that was about it. All I really knew was that my consumer habits needed to change if I was to live up to my faith tradition's call (and personal goal) to love even when it's inconvenient.

I thought it might be a good idea to define a few terms in the ethical consumerism category and parse out the pros and cons of different models.

Let us begin...

  Fair Trade:  


According to the World Fair Trade Organization (my go-to for fair trade info), fair trade is defined as:

a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South.

The fair trade model is set up to help the poorest people in the poorest areas of the world. It doesn't necessarily seek to revolutionize the entire industry (though I think many would argue that it does set itself up as a model for the ideal relationship between producers and consumers). Rather, it hopes to provide economic opportunities and social stability to those who would otherwise not have access to good work and fair wages. That's a big reason why fair trade organizations and businesses focus on skills and education for women, who often experience the greatest disadvantages when access to resources is scarce.

A number of the most prominent "ethical" companies - and certainly most of the brands I've featured here - are categorized as fair trade. Some have official fair trade status granted to them by external auditing agencies, but it costs a pretty penny to get fair trade certified, so some operate under fair trade principles without official certification. Many fair trade organizations are classified as non-profits.


  Social Enterprise:  


Social Enterprises, according to the Social Enterprise Alliance, are:

businesses whose primary purpose is the common good. They use the methods and disciplines of business and the power of the marketplace to advance their social, environmental and human justice agendas.

Social enterprises operate in the regular business sector instead of the non-profit sector. A perfect example of this is Sseko Designs*, who employs women in Uganda as a means of both providing job skills and assisting with their ongoing education through scholarship programs. Operating as a regular business also allows them to take on investors, expand, and develop new products and job positions quickly and efficiently (ideally), which in turn means greater economic prosperity for everyone involved. Sseko's model also means that no one is ever made to feel like a charity case.

A less wonderful example of the social enterprise is TOMS. Don't get me wrong: TOMS revolutionized the ethical market with its often copied one-for-one model, but it's taken them awhile to realize that people would rather have a nice job and pay for their own shoes than get free shoes and remain unemployed. Until recently when they began to improve working conditions at their factories, TOMS and Sseko Designs were on opposite ends of the social enterprise spectrum. Instead of offering dignified employment (the start of the marketplace), they offered goods to those in need (the end of the marketplace).

In my mind, a social enterprise is better than just any old enterprise, but it leaves itself open to some troubling mindsets and can cause more harm than good for both the people who receive the "benefit" and for the psyches of American consumers. Watch this awesome video with Slavoj Zizek for clarification.

  B Corporation:  


According to the B Corporation website (and helpfully summarized on Wikipedia) a B Corp Certification is:

a private certification issued to for-profit companies by B Lab, a United States-based non-profit organization. To be granted and to preserve certification, companies must receive a minimum score on an online assessment for "social and environmental performance”, satisfy the requirement that the company integrate B Lab commitments to stakeholders into company governing documents, and pay an annual fee ranging from $500 to $25,000.

Phew! That's a lot of money. Basically, B Corp certifications are given to businesses with a commitment to fair labor, sustainability, and transparency. The B Corp is the no nonsense sibling to the sentimental social enterprise in the sense that they strive to do good by integrating it into the entire supply chain. B Corps aren't necessarily attached to a specific social good, but they aren't as likely to fall prey to well meaning but ineffective ways of "helping" people because they're simply adhering to a sort of best practices for people and planet.

A good example of the B Corp is PACT Apparel (from whom I just purchased a couple of cute t-shirts).

  Eco/Organic/Sustainable:  


The above terms have slightly different connotations depending on who you ask, but for a lot of brands, they're often interchangeable concepts. Organic and eco tend to fall under the larger umbrella of sustainability. Sustainable manufacturing, as defined by the International Trade Administration, is:

the creation of manufactured products that use processes that minimize negative environmental impacts, conserve energy and natural resources, are safe for employees, communities, and consumers and are economically sound.

You've probably noticed that some ethical brands are more oriented toward environmental impact while others focus on labor rights. As it turns out, the eco/sustainable brands tend to think of what's ethical in a holistic way - after all, we don't exist apart from nature - so most incorporate fair labor into their business model while also finding ways to reduce waste, water usage, and pesticides throughout the production process. I was initially turned off by the hippie dippie branding of the sustainability movement, but I've come to embrace it because I know that those who are committed to sustainability understand that it must extend to employees, consumers, and the earth.

Of course, there's been a lot of greenwashing - or labeling things as "eco" when they're not - as it's become more popular in recent years. Not everything made with organic cotton is truly sustainable. Not everything in a green bottle is nontoxic. Be wary. A certification for organic cotton is available for companies who can afford it. Look for the GOTS Certified label on product listings and tags to ensure that your organic item was produced with consideration for sustainability and human welfare.

  Transparency:  


The basic definition of transparency is fairly obvious and doesn't just apply to the fashion industry, so I'll use Everlane's* concept of "radical transparency" here:

Know your factories. Know your costs. Always ask why.

Everlane certainly isn't the first or only company to value supply chain transparency and, in fact, most companies that fall under the previous categories are likely concerned with transparency, as well. But they have made transparency a buzzword and I think they set a particularly good example for other companies who may not be ready to get certified organic/B corp/fair trade, but want to respond appropriately to consumer demand for ethically produced goods.

Companies concerned with transparency are ready and willing to share information about their factories, production standards, costs, raw materials, and corporate structure. They do an unusually good job at answering tough questions because their employees are trained to know the answers. And they're prepared to make changes if they don't live up to consumer (or their own) expectations.

  Vegan:  


In the words of Happy Cow, Vegan fashion is:

clothing and accessories made from cruelty-free sources, i.e. NO animal products were used in making the garments and gear, and no animal was harmed.

I'm not a vegan, but I do believe in maintaining high ethical standards in the meat and fashion industries. The definition is simple and straightforward and, as such, something can be labeled as vegan without necessarily being sustainable or concerned with the human good. Some leather substitutes, for example, are fairly toxic to the environment and to the people who work with them. But by ensuring that no animals were slaughtered to make your purse or shoes or whatever, you can be certain that no animal suffered, and that matters.

It should also be noted that the conventional leather industry wreaks havoc on workers and the environment, so choosing leather substitutes that treat animals, people, and the planet with respect is a good idea (The True Cost movie expands on this. You can download it here if you haven't had a chance to see it).

  Ethical:  


This one's a doozy, because ethical priorities are different for everyone. I'll stick to the Ethical Fashion Forum's definition:

...ethical fashion represents an approach to the design, sourcing and manufacture of clothing which maximises benefits to people and communities while minimising impact on the environment.

The models defined above are all ways of being ethical. What I like about Ethical Fashion Forum's definition is that it broadly defines the two main categories (or really one category if you can smoosh together the artificial human-nature dichotomy for a second) that matter: people and planet.

Whether you come to this conversation because of your concern with climate change, human trafficking, pollution, personal health, or economic justice, people and planet are connected, and ideally we'd let our definition of ethical include everything that we have the power to influence. And heck, even the Pope knows that we don't have time to waste here. We're destroying ourselves and our earth home.

Ethical is no longer an option; it's absolutely essential.

giveaway: $50 Synergy Organic Clothing gift card

synergy organic clothing giveaway

Synergy Organic Clothing is giving away a $50 gift card to one lucky Style Wise Blog reader. With $50, you could get this cool muscle tank or a fun high low skirt (and dozens of other things). Or, you could get a significant discount on the Beatrice Dress, which I wore in Monday's The Moral Wardrobe post.

To enter, just complete the form below. Note that the first entry is mandatory, but all other entries are bonuses! Plus, you can come back here and tweet about the giveaway once a day for extra entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Open to international readers. Contest ends at midnight Saturday, June 27. Winner will be randomly selected and notified by Monday, June 29. 


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Check out Synergy Organic Clothing on facebook, twitter, and instagram. Visit their website here

the moral wardrobe: Gaia Couture Shabazi Top + Renee Dress

gaia couture shabazi top

The awesome women of Gaia Couture sent me a couple sustainable garments to review. As noted in Monday's interview, Gaia Couture founder Joy Martinello believes strongly in promoting companies and clothing that adhere to strict eco and labor guidelines. Each product listing on the site has an Eco Scorecard with detailed information about production and sourcing so that customers can know exactly what they're getting. 

sustainable clothing
eco-friendly fashion blogger
Outfit One: Top - Shabazi c/o Gaia Couture; Sandals - thrifted; Earrings - handmade by Hannah Naomi

This Shabazi Top is the coolest thing I've ever worn. I tried it on and strutted out into the living room to show Daniel (who didn't really care that much), then kept strutting right out the door to take photos. The draping is original and flattering, and the sash can be worn up as a cowl or kept long and loose. This top is made of a sustainable bamboo/spandex blend and is made in Canada under fair trade guidelines.

sustainable bodycon dress
gaia couture renee dress
black and white fair trade dress
Outfit Two: Dress - Renee c/o Gaia Couture; Necklace: Common Thread Refugee Co-op (Charlottesville);  Belt - swapped; Sandals - Betula 

The Renee Dress is a fun twist on black and white stripes, with free form marks that look like they've been dry-brushed onto the fabric. It's lightweight and extremely soft, curve hugging, and an appropriate length for every day wear. It's made of a bamboo/spandex blend and manufactured under fair trade guidelines in China. 

The Shabazi Top retails for $78.00 and the Renee Dress retails for $68.00 on the Gaia Couture website. Though both items are just outside my comfort zone price-wise, the size charts were spot on and the Shabazi Top in particular is definitely worth the money. 

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.

the moral wardrobe: all the neutrals

thrifted outfit
betula by birkenstock
minimalist neutrals
the moral wardrobe: all the neutrals
Ethical Details: Tee - Everlane; Cardigan - thrifted; Necklace - handmade via etsy; Sandals: Betula by Birkenstock*

I went through a couple of outfit changes to get to this one, but I'm so happy with the result. I used to avoid warm colors and neutrals, but I think last year's experiments with hair color helped me get a sense of what suits my complexion. I love coppery brown tones that highlight my natural hair color (isn't it crazy that I hadn't seen my natural hair color in all its glory for something like three years?).

I think my orientation to the fair trade industry has shifted slightly in the last few months. I'm trying to find and highlight more brands that are both fair trade and sustainable, because I think it's silly to avoid the inevitable conversation between the two movements. Additionally, I'm increasingly convinced that supporting factories with ethical labor standards in countries like China is just as important as supporting fair trade; they reform different parts of the same industry and I think supporting them in tandem is the way to go. Not everyone can be supported by a fair trade co-op. If there's greater consumer demand for well-maintained factories, more people can find good work. There are a lot of moving parts and it's easy to get overwhelmed, but I'm glad to know I can make choices that help.

*Betula sandals are made in Spain, where labor standards are high and regularly enforced. Parent company, Birkenstock, makes efforts to reduce energy and materials waste.

the moral wardrobe: evening light

shadow filigree
ash and rose lattice top
sseko designs sandals
evening light
Ethical Details: Top - Ash & Rose; Cardigan - Seamly.co; Sandals - Sseko Designs; Earrings - Mata Traders

Ah, warm evening light. I love the glow of early evening and the shadow filigree it creates on every surface. 

I've really overbooked myself over the past couple weeks and the madness doesn't end until May, so I've been struggling to keep up with everything and maintain sanity. I've resorted to using my planner again; I hope jotting things down will keep me from waking up in a panic over meetings and appointments several times a night.

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P.S. Don't forget to enter the Ecouture giveaway!

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.