What’s black and white and carried all over town? Not a nun in a parade…Considering how trendy it is, I’m surprised more retailers aren’t offering reusable shopping bags for customers. I’m not talking about the high-end grocers that charge you $15 to buy a “sustainable” bag that lets you walk around town advertising for them. I’m talking about the every day sort of store that cares about the amount of plastic they spread around the planet.
Well, here’s a BYOB idea every store can fly with: Handmade Expressions (whose motto is “Fair trade = justice + peace + love”) has cool grocery bags that measure 12”x16” and are made of several layers of used newspaper and sturdy cardboard. They’re inexpensive and customizable. Best of all, they save new paper from being produced by using paper that would otherwise go into a trash bin.
And they’re totally affordable. At 60 cents a bag, now even Mom & Pops can get you to walk around town advertising for them.
When it comes to ethical fashion, it doesn’t get much cooler than Social Atelier. The LA-based T-shirt line can be found at the most desirable shopping addresses, both physical and virtual. With an opinion on everything — from Barbie’s vitals and the war in Iraq, to AIDS and global warming — they’re not afraid to speak the TRUTH. Their signature big bold fonts will be as permanently etched onto your retina as they are on their buttery soft 100% organic cotton tees. We caught up Social Atelier co-founder and co-designer, Andrei Najjar.
Is nude the new standard of beauty? First Alicia Silverstone went nude for PETA, and now a new line of skincare appropriately named Nude is nestled among the Crème de la Mer on the beauty counter. But what makes “Nude” less stuffy and more “G”? I did a little digging to find out.
First off, the driving force behind the Nude skincare concept is “If you wouldn’t consider eating it, why put it on your skin? To that end, their products are all formulated without parabens, sulphates and all those other things you can’t pronounce and shouldn’t have to.
And if you’re like a lot of women who worry about protecting our planet and combating wrinkles, Nude tackles both. According to their website, their age-defying products contain peptides, phytoactives, bioactives and various biocompatible elements. What exactly does this mean? It means they use high performance natural ingredients that work with your skin’s existing biology.
Every day I happily come across another designer who’s creating super cool clothes, shoes and accessories that are both highly desirable and kind to the environment. Yes, it seems just about every fashionable piece out there is either being made ethically or has an ethical equivalent from faux fur coats to sky high stilettos, from the perfect pair of denim to a funky printed tee.
So, with that formula in mind, if you’re scouting for a gorgeous floaty dress, or a sassy minidress, look no further than California-based designer and manufacturer, Egoganik. As their website states, Ecoganik “focuses on the contemporary customer who wants to look young, hip and together, yet still eco-conscious.”
So stand-alone stylish is their line that Ecoganik was one of just a handful of designers chosen to show (alongside so-called “regular” labels) at LA’s Fashion Week this year proving that green clothing doesn’t need a separate and that great designs are great designs no matter what their origin.
Months ago I found the charming fashionlabel ENAMORE from Great Britain. Delicate lingerie, nostalgic dresses and more….and green!
Jona I am guessing your really into lingerie, but what would you say your personal style reflects?
Jennifer: I wear a mixture of clothing I make for myself, pieces I have bought from other eco designers [like Amoosi and Goodone] and also a lot of pieces [mixture of vintage and second hand] that I buy in Charity shops, vintage markets and from ebay. During the week I am quite casual as I work from home, but when I go out or to events, I like to look like a lady, usually in some peep toe heels and a lovely vintage inspired dress.
Attention eco-chic women who are interested transforming the face of fashion: check out Del Forte Denim.
Based out of Los Angeles – a city known for its anti-sweatshop legislation and enforcement, Del Forte Denim has partnered with The Sustainable Cotton project, which is known for bringing together farmers, manufacturers and consumers to grow markets for certified organically grown and sustainable cotton.
The brains behind the designs, Tierra Del Forte’s career started in 1999. After touring various manufacturing facilities around the globe, Tierra saw what an impact the design industry had on the environment. Tierra was so concerned about this, that when she returned to California, she dedicated her work to creating a company that was eco-friendly in all ways possible.
Kyeok Kim isn’t exaggerating when she says her jewellery leaves a long-lasting impression. I’d take it a step further and say some of her designs are painfully unique. Take for instance the gold plated silver bracelet or ring that when worn actually leaves an impression on the skin. The bracelet leaves behind a message reading “in the rain, sounds like a cello… in the sunbeams, sounds like a piano… like your voice”, the ring’s imprint says “one day in April”.
The premise behind Kyeok Kim’s designs are “Jewellery as Second Skin” and she’s pushing it to the next level.
I’m not sure how “G” the Aurora ring is – its lights cast a glowing pattern on the skin, which seems more flashy than eco-forward. But I’m all about the fragrant soap rings that do double duty. You can wear the ring as long as you want. Then when you’ve had enough, you wash your hands until the soap ring dissolves and leaves behind a lasting scent. What a cool sustainable idea for all of those scraps of soap that end up wasted.
Another unique design is the stamping bracelet and ring. The “Lace Trace” stamps a design that resembles a henna tattoo when rolled over the skin. Just make sure you don’t bump into anyone wearing a white shirt.
For now, you can only marvel at Kyeok Kim’s creations. But soon you’ll be able to purchase them on her website.
Take it from me, bamboo is the fabric for the future. This super versatile plant has long been used in construction, as a food source (for humans and pandas alike) as well as providing the raw materials for everything from chopsticks to food steamers to martial arts weaponry. Now fashion forward designers can’t enough of bamboo. Why? Well, it’s cool in summer, warm in winter, is anti-bacterial and is as soft and luxurious as cashmere. And best of all, it’s sustainable.
Espadrilles are so ‘80s… what, with their fussy wedges and the ties. Why not get your hands (or, shall we say, feet) on an aughty’s equivalent -– Tom’s Shoes, which are inspired by traditional Argentine footwear. They’re unisex, minimalist and most importantly, ethical. It’s simple concept really: you buy a pair of Tom’s, and Tom’s donates a pair on your behalf to a child in need.
Designer Blake Mycoskie stumbled upon the idea while traveling around Argentina. While he instantly fell in love with the culture and people, he was deeply affected by the poverty. He visited many villages without running water and where the children went without shoes, often leading to infection, disease and even death.
Skin is important. It insulates us, protects us from pathogens, provides sensation and holds together all our muscles, organs and other icky bits, which — let’s face it — are called our innards for a reason. So, let’s honor our skin and caress it with the finest organics fabrics available.
Here’s one way to do that. Drape yourself in ecoSkin, an LA-based high fashion label that launched in spring 2008.
Designer Sandy Skinner’s vision is “to continually raise women’s awareness of their options. We can combine eco-friendly fabrics with a high design aesthetic.”
Having worked in the fashion industry for many years, Skinner jumped at the chance to make a difference in the world with her profession. Her debut collection was aimed at “fashion-forward sophisticated women who want to look great but care about the world and the environment they live in”.
In my never ending quest to be the hottest darkest green bitch in London, I find myself seeking out the under exposed G/Fashion brands and stores. This is how I came to learn about Ekovaruhuset (House of Organic). After a night of clubbing and one too many organic vodka on ice with a twist of lime, I curled up on my sofa, cracked open my macbook and started to search. My closet was screaming for something new, something fresh. My exact search was, organic fashion for women with balls, but nothing came up. I decided to checkout one of my semi favorite stops online New York Magazine and with my slight buzz I had some difficulty focusing my eyes on the screen. But within a few clicks I had landed on a screen which said, Ekovaruhuset, House of Organic NYC. A gem of a shop, which was not only in New York City but also, had locations in Stockhom and Paris. No London, so popping in for a look is off the table, but from the description this is feeling like a true fashion house. My heart started pounding and my sweaty organic cotton tights were getting uncomfortable from all this excitement.
Un-able to contain my enthusiasm, I shot an email off to G Monkie, to get his darknesses take on this place. I stroked his ego a little, and promised him some banana cake, if he would allow me to cover this designer and her shops. Lucky for all of us, he was in a better mood than usual and sent a series of questions to me and Johanna Hofring, the owner / designer. His questions where the same dull Monkie dribble he is always asking, so I altered them a bit, to fit, what we women really want to know. You know how dull that freaking Monkie can be. “Yes we know you have an electric bike, you told us.”
Before we start with the questions, let me tell you a little about this little gem of a green fashion house/ shop. First, this isn’t your typical web online based green womens store. They actually have three physical locations, which I stated earlier. They almost cover all the fashion capitals, New York, Paris and Stockholm. I know, Stockholm doesn’t count as a fashion capital and no G Monkie, L.A. doesn’t need to be on the list. They do need a london store, which I am sure will be coming soon, (hint). At Ekovaruhuset all the clothes you will find are made the natural way, using all organic materials. This means the fibers that the fabrics are made of have been grown without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides and made into fabric, then dyed in facilities that are environmentally responsible. Johanna likes to say ” It’s all about having fun and looking fabulous while saving the world”. That is something I can totally get down with. Lets do another round of organic shots, and get into this interview.
Julia Ocean: You have chosen to open your stores in very international cities like New York Stockholm, and Paris, why is that?
Johanna: The first one I opened in Stockholm because that is where I was living at the time, the second one in New York because we believed it to be the best place to spread eco-fashion awareness internationally and the third one is opened by a wonderful french woman named Helene Sananikone on a franchise basis. So we chare our concept and collaborate in many ways but it is her store.
Another young fashion designer / ex-wall streeter, has tossed her self into the sustainable / organic fashion market. Christine Marchuska, A few weeks back we received an email tip about a new start-up designer looking to break into the Organic Green Fashion market, joining the established designs such as Stewart+Brown.
Fashion Designer Christine Marchuska seems to be having fun, as she shows off her new organic clothing line to her friends in New York.