Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day!

Happy Earth day! Don't forget to get your free cup of coffee from Starbucks today by bringing a reusable mug!

My pal Emily pointed out to me that Gilt Groupe (which is like Rue La La I think) is having an Earth Day themed sale with eco-friendly brands! What a great idea. Here is one eco-boutique they were promoting today which looks particularly neat:

Doucette Duvall  "practices environmental and social responsibility by manufacturing the entire collection in New York City's historic garment district, using pre-existing fabric and trim, shunning extraneous garment bags and hang tags, and shipping in recycled boxes only. Look for the "little green dress" in each collection as a reminder of their commitment to Madame Earth. A portion of the proceeds from the lgd are donated to the non-profit group, Build it Green, who share a similar reuse ideal.  For more information, please visit:"

from fall 2009 collection
This got me thinking, what else is happening in the fashion world for Earth Day?

I stumbled up a local company named Proxy who had a ethical fashion show last night to celebrate Earth Day. I wish I had known about it!

Proxy is based in Somerville (around the corner from my aerials class!), and looks pretty awesome. It's an ethical fashion company that believes in sweat-shop free manufacturing, and fair trade, socially responsible apparel; while still being fashion forward and supporting emerging designers. They have a blog, and it looks like they are consistently putting together awesome events like this fashion show, a sample sale, and a clothing swap. I'm going to start following them and try to go their next event.  I've been looking for a company like this in Boston since I started this blog!

And finally, in honor of Earth Day I think we should all go outside and hug a tree... actually no. Let's be more progressive! I think we should each make an eco-resolution instead, like trying to cut down on your waste (fashion or otherwise), and trying to recycle more. Earth Day is a good day to remind us all to do our part for this little planet we call our home!

I heart mother nature.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sustainable Newbury

Today was simply fabulous! The weather was sunny, beautiful and warm-ish, and I took the day off from work! I spent most of my early afternoon strolling down Newbury St. on the hunt for sustainable fashion.

Overall I didn't find many stores that had clothing made from sustainable materials or made in the USA, but there were some pleasant surprises.

My first pleasant surprise was a store called Made Here. It's a sort of tester boutique from Levi's which sells a variety of hand-made clothing from local designers, vintage garments, jeans made in the USA, and new kind of Levi's called Water<less which uses 95% less water to produce. They had some nice things in the store, and although I don't think every single thing in there was eco-friendly, it was really inspiring to see a brand create a store founded on eco-freindly principles. They also had this great line of men's jeans that are exact reproductions of jeans from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. So cool!!

Most of the other stores I came across which I would consider eco-friendly were second hand shops.  Let me just say there were a few repeats... there are three, yes three, Second Time Around's on Newbury St., and two American Apparel's. I think that's a bit absurd, but that's just me. I also thoroughly enjoyed The Closet, which had a second hand Dries Van Noten tank top that I was totally going to get until I saw that it was $99. I also went into the Hempest for the first time, and I have to say, I saw a few things I would consider buying. I assumed it would be all hippy-dippy clothing, but somethings were attractive. However it was also a bit pricey, most pants were close to $100.

There is also a Camper shoes on Newbury, which has some eco-friendly recycled shoes. They have some cute designs, but again, pricey. Also I was checking tags at various stores, and United Colors of Benetton makes some of their clothes in Italy, Romania, and Bulgaria, which I thought was interesting.

The only store I made a purchase from was my beloved Anthropologie. I can't help it, I totally <3 Anthro. I checked every tag as I went through the store and found a lot of brands that were made in the USA! It was surprising and made me very happy. I filled my arms with all these domestic goods and made my way to the dressing room.

Look how many things I found!
I tried on a pair of jeans from a brand called AG Jeans, which in addition to being made in the USA also uses what they call "ozone technology" to make their jeans using less chemicals, less water, and less energy. The jeans were super comfortable, and I would have definitely bought them despite the $168 price tag if I needed a new pair of jeans. View their website here: I ended up purchasing a delicate zebra print blouse, and a super comfy blue jersey cardigan. I also found what I thought were bracelets (turns out they are napkin rings, but I'm going to wear them as bracelets) from the Bluma Project The Bluma Project sells jewelery with handmade beads made from recycled paper by women in Rwanda. It helps the woman build a sustainable income. The bracelets (or napkin rings whatever) that I bought are bright and beautiful!

I had a great day. It feels so good to find fashionable and sustainable clothing options!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rather be shopping...

I've had a craving to go shopping lately... I mean really, a girl can only last so long! It's been months!

So last night I went to the Buffalo Exchange in Davis on the way home. Buffalo Exchange is alright... though I prefer Poor Little Rich Girl for secondhand, but BE is so convenient to my house that I find myself there more often than I expect. Anyways, last night after sorting through literally everything they had in my size, I found this cute top. It works great with my work outfit today, but will also be fabulous for real life with a pair of cute high-waisted shorts or jeans! See! Versatile!

I need to figure out a better system for taking photos of myself. This at-work-bathroom-cell phone-business is not working!
And now just a little rant... 
I know my rules allow me to shop for new things if they are made in the USA or made from sustainable fabrics, however I've just been avoiding it in general because not buying anything is really the best for the environment. But you know what? I do need to shop for new things! Shopping only secondhand or not shopping at all really isn't feasible. I've been looking at my wardrobe lately and thinking that a lot of my clothes are shabby and worn out. Like my mid-weight coat that I've been wearing the past few days for the warmer weather is missing buttons and has rips in the sleeves that really can't be fixed. I'm sort of embarrassed to wear it, but I don't have a better option. Which brings me to the conclusion that buying new clothes is OK. I can't look professional and put together if my dress is pilling and my shirt is full of holes.

So I am going to buy something new, heck maybe two new things! A few weekends ago I was at Anthropologie in Harvard Square drooling over their gorgeous clothes, wishing I could buy something, and cursing my rules. Then I started checking labels and found quite a few cute pieces which were made in the USA. I didn't have enough time to really look at anything that day, but I'm going to go back when I have more time and find something lovely, and not feel guilty about it!

Friday, April 8, 2011

This week's eco-boutiques

So I'm going to try to post once a week on interesting eco-websites that I discover on my way!

The ones below were not found through They are a little less fashion-forward than I'd like, but they seemed to be more reasonably priced, and they all have a strong ethical standpoint.

Econscious Market,
Boulder, Colorado
A site for all things green, from clothing, to beauty products, to home decor. I don't find the fashions particularly interesting, but it's nice that they donate to non-profits.

Econscious sells "thousands of the finest ecologically (eCo "friendlier") and socially responsible products available and donate up to 10% of every purchase to the exceptional Non-Profit Organizations ".

Pictured, Andria + Rain Forest V-Neck, $36

Really simple, basic clothing (T-shirts and sweatshirts) made from organic cotton. Reasonable prices.

"We are proud to be serving the growing market for organic and sustainable apparel by creating clothing that is durable, comfortable, and great looking".

Pictured, Women's Classic Washed Tee, $18

Fashion Ethic,
Ethical fashions from various designers. Some good designs, some are not so exciting to me...

"All of our items come from designers and companies following some sort of ethical compass; whether it be using organic and sustainable materials, recycling or repurposing goods, practicing fair labor and fair trade, giving back to the community, or... a combination of these ethics". 

Pictured, Bamboo/Organic Cotton"Alex" Tee, $52 sale price $25

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The rising cost of cotton

Interesting article on this morning about the rising cost of cotton.
Cost of cotton drives up clothes prices - The Boston Globe

(Image from
The article describes how the cost of cotton has skyrocketed in the last few months, and that for the first time since the 90s, retailers will either need to pass this increase on to costumers or cut corners to reduce costs. There is an predicted 10 - 20 percent increase in clothing due to the rising costs of producing cotton and other resources...

"The apparel industry was hurt after poor weather hurt cotton crops in China and Pakistan over the past several years and speculators then cornered the market. Demand far outstripped supply, and prices skyrocketed. Cotton hit a record high of $2.44 per pound on March 8: last year, cotton averaged about 77 cents a pound."

However interestingly enough, the article mentions that some think consumers are willing to pay more for clothing:

"Cotton Inc. said a new survey revealed that consumers would be willing to pay more than 20 percent above the average price for a pair of jeans and T-shirt, if necessary."

So what this means for eco-fashion? Well I think the fact that they think consumers are willing to pay a little more for clothes instead of sacrificing quality is an overall good thing. Maybe down the road when eco-friendly fashion has become more popular, the average consumer will be able to justify the increased cost of that product for its materials and quality.

But will the increase in the cost of cotton affect the cost of organic cotton as well? According to this article I found from printwear magazine, it's uncertain. It seems that as the cost of conventional cotton rises, it closes the price gap between conventional cotton and organic cotton, which is great (can you imagine if there was no price difference!). However often organic cotton's prices are determined by adding a premium to conventional cotton, which would essentially mean that as conventional cotton prices rise so will those of organic cotton.

“We believe that the price differential for organic cotton is going to increase above conventional but not by as high a percentage as in the past... It could be a differential of twenty-five to thirty percent, but not the fifty percent it sometimes was in the past. It is important to realize that there are no fixed international rules that benchmark organic cotton prices. Rather, prices are fixed by market conditions and commodity traders” -Dale Denkensohn, president of econscious (from printwear article)

photo from
I'm very curious to see how the increase in conventional cotton could affect the fashion industry. Will people actually be willing pay more for clothing? Will consumers start to steer away from fast-fashion? Will the price gap between conventional cotton and organic close up? I guess we shall see!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Umbrella dress - work in progress

So Mobius, an art space in the South End, is having a Wearable Art Show for Boston Cyberarts Festival, on May 6th. They have an open call for "wearable art" and I've decided that I'd really like to submit something inspired by my eco-fashion interest.

A few weeks ago my friend Gabriela and I went to a business conference for our work. We got a grab bag full of a dozen cheap giveaway items with company logos, such as pens, notebooks, gummy bears (my fave), and an umbrella... As is common with these giveaway items, the umbrellas both broke after one use, so I decided to transform them into a dress!!

Before: Two umbrellas

 After: on its way to being wearable.

It's not finished at all yet! But I thought I'd show what I have so far. It's going to be a dress in the end. The hardest part is that I don't have a lot of fabric to work with. I'd like to make a head piece out of the leftover metal umbrella skeleton as well.

I'll be sure to provide an update when the dress is done (and hopefully in the show).

Next project after this one: make a dress for myself to wear to my friend's wedding...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Shopping spree!

Oh no, I hate to admit it but I broke my rules!

I went on a crazy shopping spree last night, I couldn't help myself. I bought 2 new dress from H&M (so cute!) and a new pair of work pants from Ann Taylor Loft. Then I went to the gap and went kind of crazy over some cheap comfy T-shirts they had on sale... I got like 5! Oh my goodness...

It feels so good to have gotten that shopping spree out of my system! 

Hahaha - April Fools!
Gotcha, didn't break my rules at all! Haven't gone shopping since February actually*! :P
*edit: and when I shopped in February I bought a second-hand dress which fit with my rules*