: exploring sustainable fashion, the great outdoors, and an eco-friendly lifestyle :

#SustainableSunday fair-trade fashion...

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Getting dressed is fun.  Really.  Flinging wide the closet doors and obsessively checking Pinterest boards in an effort to create new Pinterest-worthy outfits is a time consuming wonderful way to prepare for a busy week.  But if, like me, you are trying to make those outfits a bit more earth-friendly, you may feel the pinch and squeeze of what you can and cannot wear.

Allow me to come to your rescue.  Over the last decade, I've swung through phases of only wanting to purchase second-hand or eco-friendly clothing and then I've gone totally nuts, buying anything and everything just because I could.  For the last few months, I've really been trying to push myself back to the eco/fair-trade side of things, and let me tell you, since my first eco/fair-trade swing a TON of new boutiques have sprung up to help eco-warriors like myself feel fashionable and give back!  Here
are some of my favorite eco-friendly and fair trade shops:

31 Bits : This company designs beautiful jewelry out of 100% recycled paper beads.  All of the jewelry is handmade in Uganda by women who may have been displaced from their villages and want to create a sustainable future for themselves.  Meet the artisans here and see how I've styled their beautiful work here and here.

Ash & Rose : Ash & Rose is a wonderful company that is all about sustainability and transparency.   The mother/daughter team both designs and curates a wonderful range of eco-friendly clothing and accessories.  The best part?  If you scroll to the bottom of any item listing page, you can see a designer bio with information about how and where each product was created.  See how I've styled pieces from this boutique here, here, and here.

Baabuk : This company emailed me several months ago and asked me to climb aboard their Kickstarter campaign for the Urban Wooler sneaker.  "What in the world is that?" I wondered, so I dove in a bit deeper and fell in love.  The Swiss creators of Baabuk received a pair of Russian "Valenki" boots (made of wool) and were inspired to create a brand of renewable work footwear, and not just slippers... they make wool sneakers!  The soles of the sneakers are made from rubber up-cycled from old tires.  And I love them!  I wore mine all over Scotland last fall!

Better Life Bags :  Another one of my great Instagram finds, Better Life Bags is a US-based company that not only sells gorgeous bags (like the one I proudly carry) but also allows you to design your own bag!  Each bag is handmade by women in Detroit who would otherwise be living in a state of poverty.  Each bag is totally unique!

Half United : I just love their tag line: "Fashion that feeds," because that's exactly what this brand does!  Half United creates beautiful jewelry (like these earrings, and this necklace, and this cuff) and then donates the proceeds of each purchase to feed hungry people in the US, Fiji, Cambodia, and Haiti.  Their jewelry is beautiful, easily wearable and is for a great cause!  What more could you ask for?

Indigo Apparel : This startup company is a proud producer of low-impact, vegan, organic accessories that are all handmade in the USA.  I love the beautiful hand-dyed infinity scarf that they were kind enough to send me to try out.   It's a great pop of color to any simple or monochromatic outfit!

Onno Shirts : This is my go-to shop for t-shirts.  Onno Shirts uses hemp (my favorite), bamboo (the softest ever) and now organic cotton (which I can't wait to try out).  Everything is produced in two factories in China and is marketed out of Boulder, CO.  This company is so into having an ethical and ecological output that they even offset carbon!  I can't think of many other companies that regularly do this!

Purpose Jewelry :  Another fabulous company with a focus on helping women is Purpose Jewelry.  Jewelry from this shop is handcrafted by survivors of modern-day slavery and sex trafficking.  Purpose Jewelry is an absolutely amazing brand that has also partnered with iSanctuary to help these women regain financial stability, become more educated, and provide health care.  I cannot say enough good about this brand.  They sent me a lovely bracelet and a necklace that even my mum (very picky about jewelry) likes to steal from me!

Soko :  I shared Soko on a recent #SustainableSunday post, but I cannot stop wearing the bracelets and earrings that they were kind enough to send me, so I thought I'd share them again!  This company  is based in San Francisco and New York City, but has an office in Nairobi, Kenya, where they meet new artisans and collect beautiful handmade jewelry from over 30 developing countries.  Each piece of jewelry is hand-crafted from sustainable resources and the creation of each piece gives artisans a fair wage that they may not otherwise receive!

The Tote Project :  I wish that more companies could be like The Tote Project.  This shop sells inspiring tote and zipper pouches featuring simple, but inspiring slogans, like my "Free to Grow" pouch.  Each piece in this range is hand sewn by a woman rescued from the sex trade and is made from organic cotton.  The interior of each pouch is sewn from an up-cycled sari and each bag comes with a unique hand-braided tassel that has also been made from a sari.  And if all of that wasn't awesome enough, The Tote Project donates 20% of the proceeds of each purchase to Two Wings, a non-profit organization that provides mentoring and education to sex trade survivors.  

I have more amazing eco and fair trade collaborations in the works and I cannot wait to share them with you soon!  Until then, please take a look and consider shopping around at some of these amazing shops!

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