I finally know about a place where I can recycle old lingerie! Such as underwire bras, negligees and polyester underwear that you can’t donate and feel awful just tossing in landfill.
This is Lingerie cycle™ – a collaboration between American underwear brand Hanky Panky and B.R.A Recycling Agency.
Coincidentally, I found out about their recycling services while shopping. And, in case you are wondering; no, no, no, this post-baby-number-two-breastfeeding-mama is not back to my “nice” underwear yet, I was shopping for my sister :) This is our favorite underwear brand, for fit reasons, and of course we love that it’s beautiful, made in USA and organic.
Lingerie cycle (via BRA Recycling Agency) takes your old undergarments and turns them into red carpet filler, and sells the metal parts for cash they donate to Breast Cancer Research.
You can send them your stuff by ordering a free envelope when you shop at Hanky Panky – which is what I did – or get loads of more info on their website brarecyclingagency.com
I stuffed my bag with five bras, a night gown thingy and a pair of fancy underwear and I ended up paying about 7 dollars in postage. I do realize it can be a deal breaker for some to pay to recycle but if you shop at an expensive place like Hanky Panky, (one organic bralette is $68, one pair of hipsters $32) adding a few dollars to that shouldn’t be major for that type shopper. And you are paying for a program that does good – so basically charity :)
A free option could be these guys I found, brarecycling.com, which actually has some drop-off locations around the country.
Just curious; what do you do with your/your family’s broken, or old, underwear and socks?
Let me start by admitting that I do a lot of my shopping from clearance racks and department store outlets. Bloomingdale’s, Saks, Nordstrom – bring it on.
The reason shopping clearance works quite well for me is that I am able to find natural fibers and made in USA or Europe clothes without breaking the bank. Plus, I am not the one to jump on the latest trends, so whatever I like at the store – last or current season – is what I buy.
And yes, this is a legitimate question of mine, one which I’d really like your input.
Is it environmentally friendly to shop clearance racks?
First, here’s what all major fashion retailers do with unsold clothes:
They try to sell them at the clearance rack.
They donate them to organizations and hope they will be sold or given away.
They try to sell them thru programs that distribute merchandise in other countries. (Often talking about poorer countries that are already overflowing with western unwanted goods.)
They throw them away in a dumpster. (After making the clothes unusable by staining, cutting or similar so no one can have that fancy shirt for free.)
They shred them and recycle the fabric into, for example, rugs.
They burn them.
According to statistics from the World Resources Institute, it takes 2,700 liters of water to make a single cotton shirt and polyester production for textiles releases something like 1.5 trillion pounds of greenhouse gases yearly, all while 26 billion pounds of clothing end up in American landfills every year. Us consumers are responsible for throwing away plenty of clothes after we’ve worn them a few times, and we need to buy better, yes, but it is without a doubt that corporations are contributing huge amounts of waste to that number. (Do we need a #FashionRevolution? YES!)
I just bought the most amazing shirt at the Bloomingdale’s outlet. It’s a Helmut Lang made in Portugal, checkered, wool, button down shirt with some interesting details, like a frayed hem and a real pocket. I paid 88 dollars for this shirt, originally listed at $395.
So I am thinking, from an environmentalist’s stand point, that had I not bought this shirt – at the 78% discounted price – it would have ended up in a dumpster or burned. What are the chances that another size small woman, walking around the outlet, would want the same shirt, since it hadn’t already sold?
I don’t have the answer to this question. Which, of course, is why I am asking and rambling.
I love shopping clearance, like I said, and I’d like to think that it is better. If I were to buy the latest new shirt at H&M and they end up selling out real quick, wouldn’t they just order a similar batch as soon as possible? The rack doesn’t have that option.
On the other hand, outlets and clearances encourage impulse shopping, which leads to over consumption of goods – something I’m very much against.
Let me know what you think, please!
PS. My favorite way to buy new clothes is to do it from shops that produce upon order. The downside to that is that they’re available online only and I do love to actually browse and try on clothes now and then :)
It’s been a bit crunchy on the blog lately; plant based meals, recycling and Earth Day chit chat. Thankfully, the last week of “Earth Month” is Fashion Revolution week (April 23-29), so with that we have a good excuse to talk about clothes.
It’s funny because when we say “fashion revolution” we’re not mainly talking about shopping second hand or choosing sustainable fabrics, rather it’s about ethical labor, feminism and ending the extreme wealth inequality in this world.
Because I am Swedish I am guilty of (maybe) hating on H&M more than I should. Sure, they have a conscious collection, which is a step in the right direction (and super), however, I can’t applaud them yet because I know they could do so much more. Plus I feel like they could have started to make positive changes a long time ago. Not only to tackle environmental issues but for ensuring ethical treatment of workers. Do you think Stefan can afford it?
Stefan Persson, whose father founded H&M, is ranked 43 in the Forbes list of the richest people in the world, and received €658m ($917M) in share dividends last year. Meanwhile, a female garment worker in Bangladesh works 12 hours a day (no lunch break) and earns just over $900 dollars a year.
It’s not just H&M; Zara, Gap, and similar big clothing brands can do quite a bit more as well. We are not asking for perfection right now. We’re okay with a few polyester blouses in the fall lineup, we know there’ll be imports from the East. We ourselves are not perfect either. We’re simply asking the big players to make an honest effort when it comes to moving the fashion industry towards a more sustainable future.
This is why, this week, we ask them “Who made my clothes?”
Oxfam, a global non-profit organization that works to end injustice of poverty, just published a fascinating (yet sad) report about today’s current state when it comes to inequality in the supply chain. It’s called “Reward work, Not wealth” and I recommend you read it. I decided to share some of the statistics and findings here on the blog, in order to bring awareness to these issues and prove why we actually need a fashion revolution.
In Bangladesh, many young women working in garment factories suffer from repeated urinary tract infections because of not being allowed to go the toilet. (Similarly, a study by Oxfam of poultry workers in the United States found that they were wearing nappies, as they were not permitted to go to the toilet.)
New data from Credit Suisse shows that 42 people now own the same wealth as the bottom 3.7 billion people.
It would cost $2.2bn a year to increase the wages of all 2.5 million Vietnamese garment workers from the average wage to a living wage. This is the equivalent of a third of the amount paid out to shareholders by the top five companies in the garment sector.
Gender inequality is neither an accident nor new: our economies have been built by rich and powerful men for their own sake. The neoliberal economic model has made this worse – reductions in public services, cuts to taxes for the richest, and a race to the bottom on wages and labor rights have all hurt women more than men.
The International Labor Organization has estimated that 40 million people were enslaved in 2016, 25 million of them in forced labor.
We, the fashionistas, can be part of the change, by shopping with intent, researching brands before supporting them and reaching out to them through social media, emails or calls demanding transparent supply chains; fair wages, safe workplaces, eco-friendly materials, local sourcing. Initiatives like H&M’s Conscious Collection is proof that consumers like us indeed have the power to change industries by demanding change.
Which companies are you reaching out to this week?
Fashion Revolution is a global movement that runs all year long, not just on Fashion revolution week! Read more about the movement and the organization behind it at FashionRevolution.org.
Have you ever thought to yourself “Man, these eco bloggers sure are missing out”?
I have. Sometimes I wonder if zero waste warriors miss devouring the contents of an unrecyclable bag of chips or drinking a coffee they hadn’t planned for. I wonder if sustainable fashion bloggers secretly want that new coat from Banana Republic. I think some of them do, while others are so addicted to their green lifestyle that they’re all good just being green.
Me, I still get mad and sad when I am out browsing at Marshalls and all the nice cardigans are made by underpaid workers in China and Bangladesh; something I have decided not to support. Basically, I sometimes feel like I am missing out on wearing what I really want to wear.
“Go buy clothes second hand!” greenies will say. Sure, but, it’s just not the same. The stores aren’t as nice and the size options and variety isn’t there. It’s great for browsing and being spontaneous but harder for when you want specific things.
Here’s the deal. I am SUPER tired of my wardrobe. I have two shirts I love at the moment, one cardigan and maybe five tops that are “ok” with a scarf. I know I sound like a western brat, but do you feel me?
I am not 100% sure why this happened all of a sudden. It could be the pregnancy that changed my body a bit so clothes don’t fit right. Or it could be the blonder hair and the bangs (yay bangs!). Or that I am a mom now and my style has changed. Or that I changed jobs. Or that I watched American Horror Story Roanoke and now want to look like Sarah Paulson’s character. Or that during pregnancy I inherited a bunch on new-to-me clothes from my sister (which made me feel brand new and gorge) and then after baby I went back to all the same old stuff I’ve been wearing since 1863.
Let’s just say, I am on the lookout for new clothes! I cleaned out my closet AND I did something completely illegal. I bought the most unethical freaking awesome shoes ever.
Yes, I did.
Everyone knows the shoes change the outfit! I was so tired of only having winter boots, work-out sneakers (and by “work-out” this mama means weekend outings and walks with the stroller) and two pairs of ballerina shoes. I do have heels in my closet (pre 2013) and hiking shoes but I don’t wear those very often.
I did my research online; I looked at the websites of Amour Vert and dozens of other ethical, vegan, made in USA shoe stores. I didn’t find anything I liked, so I dragged my boys to the Ecco store, also known as Euro style heaven, instead.
Sneakers. Made in Indonesia. Leather. Plastic sole. [Insert panic emoji.]
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THEM.
I thought about naming this blog post “Sorry, not sorry” because that song kept playing in my head while I was thinking about what to write about these shoes. “Baby, I am sorry, I’m not sorry, being so bad got me feelin’ so good” most definitely describes this event. I haven’t regretted this buy for one second. I am not apologizing for not compromising and buying something ethical that wasn’t right for me either – that’s not really sustainable. I got what I wanted, and it wasn’t even made in China! Ha!
“Your shoes are so stylish” said my coworker. “Yeah, they are.”
(And comfortable I might add.)
I do think getting good quality things, that we love, has to be part of being sustainable too. It’s not like I’ll wear these to just one party (who has time for parties!?) and then toss.
So know this, friends. Living perfectly green is my goal, zero waste is a great thought, vegan, sustainable fashion is preferred, always doing my best is a must, yet I think I have the right (ooh, entitlement!) to feel like I am not always missing out.
What do you think?
Can I get a “yay” for new shoes?
PS. Not that I am trying to sell you these shoes, but Ecco isn’t the worst of companies when it comes to employee rights and environmental policies. You can read more here. Hopefully they’ll move towards using vegan leather soon!
There’s nothing better than ordering something online and being pleasantly surprised by the quality, is there? So often we find ourselves in the opposite situation.
Lucky for me, buying mostly made in USA, my latest purchases have all been grand. That Tradlands’ flannel this winter, all the US-made cloth diapers for baby, and now, a green, cotton tee from American Giant.
I got this t-shirt on a bit of impulse, adding it to the cart as my husband was ordering two more of American Giant’s 100% cotton “fleece” workman’s jackets ($89). He had one and wanted another two (in other colors) simply because they fit great, work great, and look great. Though they call it fleece, which traditionally is made of polyester, these are made with a long fiber cotton that holds up during the yarning and knitting process with minimal breakage and produces a heavyweight, durable fabric. (And no plastic microfibers to worry about like with plastic fleece!)
My Premium Crew T is made from 100% slub cotton, sourced in the USA. “Slub” was originally considered a defect, caused by knotting in the yarn during the knitting process resulting in a uniquely textured look and feel. Slubs tend to be flimsy and transparent but the fabric used here is thicker than regular slub and not see-thru at all (yay!). At the same time it allows the shirt to actually be quite form fitted. I love it. It’s well made.
There’s also a surprise seam on the back that adds a bit of interest.
I envision wearing this tee with my beige blazer, black skinnies, Oka-B black flats and a necklace when I head back to work. For now, I am wearing it casually, out and about with baby. I wore it to the Overland Expo in Flagstaff a couple of weekends ago, and got some cute pictures of it.
Yes, I am holding an unsustainable one-time-use Sprite bottle (thirsty!), but I’m making up for it with my all US-made clothes and baby’s fashion is all second-hand. We did recycle that bottle at least! ;)
This comfy classic sells for $36.50 at AmericanGiant.com and they’ve got free returns! (I’m wearing a size S, I’m 5′ 8.5″, 140 lbs.)
Some readers will see this gorgeous bag and think “Oh, look at that FABULOUS, made in USA leather bag!” while, others will say, or more like grunt, “Why is a self-proclaimed environmentalist showing a leather bag on an eco-blog? Yuck!!”
Leather is not exactly an eco-friendly material (more on that later), so why am I blogging about a bag made of just that?
Easy. Because I hate seeing individual and stylish women go to Coach, Michael Kors, Fossil or Cole Haan and end up with the same Chinese-made bag everyone else has. This blog is a space of options, and when I say that I mean a space where I am trying to help consumers make better choices. Is an American-made, small business, handcrafted, locally grown leather bag a better choice than an imported Coach bag is? Absolutely!
This one is my friend Mary Beth’s and made by Satchel: three female artisans in a small Savannah, Georgia design studio, handcrafting leather goods and custom handbags. If you’re interested, you’ll have to call and place an order. Though there are some styles in their studio for sale, nothing is “ready to buy” online.
It’s always good to have an excuse to talk about leather too, isn’t it? Ever thought about what the word actually means? Us humans are good at coming up with words that distance us from what we’re actually dealing with. Kind of like how we eat “beef” not cows and “pork” not pigs. Current generations are farther removed from nature than ever before, so it makes sense that when we talk about animal skins or hides, we just call it “leather”.
Leather is the processed and polished version of the skin of the animal, the end result if you will. It’s important to remember that as a conscious consumer.
You may have run into companies that handcraft their goods in USA of Italian leather? Italian leather is known to be good quality and it has a nice ring to it, so businesses like to flaunt it, however the animal that became that “Italian leather” may have emigrated after death; it could have come from any other country, but it was processed in Italy. So, in other words, we have no idea where the hide came from (China? India?).
What we are looking for as conscious consumers in the USA, are key words like “native” or “domestic” hides. Some small businesses will be open about their sources and proudly promise to only use domestics. Cattle is not slaughtered for hides in USA but for cow-meat (see what I did there?), so essentially with current demand, domestic hides are a byproduct of the beef and dairy industry.
It’s hard to argue about or measure a byproduct’s impact on the environment. “Since beef is bad for the environment and its production contributes excessively to climate change, then cow skin must be also” sounds like too easy of a conclusion. Do the fashionistas consume more skin than the steak eaters left behind? No way! But, in many cases the livestock owner gets paid more for the skin than any other part of the animal. What does that mean for the argument? And, what about when animals (other than cows or cows in other countries) are raised for their skin or fur alone? Well, then we have a whole new set of ethics and environmental impact to consider, don’t we?
The processing or “tanning” (what turns “skin” into “leather”) on the other hand is extremely toxic and for that reason alone; leather is indeed a bad eco-choice. No matter where it’s from.
Vegetable tanning is probably the least environmentally damaging process and you’ll see some brands promise that their leather has been tanned that way (it’s expensive though, not stable in water and can discolor over time), however 90% of hides are tanned using chrome (think Erin Brockovich!). That’s what leads to toxic rivers and polluted lands, as well as serious birth defects and cancers in countries with lax regulations, like India and China. (Make no mistake, chrome tanning is used everywhere, here too, it just pollutes a little bit less where laws are stricter!) Processing one ton of skin produces up to 80 cubic meters of waste water, with high levels of chromium, sulfides, fat and other solid wastes, and notable pathogen contamination. Producers often add pesticides to protect hides during transport as well.
Leather bags and shoes last a long time, and despite the fact that leather biodegrades faster than plastic, which is good, I don’t see either product group disappearing anytime soon. That’s why I love to take the opportunity to talk about this, present some facts that might help a reader out who is looking for a new leather bag. There are small businesses out there offering small batch, American-made styles. A bag like this one from Satchel can be yours for around $250 to $300, pretty much the same price as the imported bags sell for. (I’ll have to blog about vegan handbags soon!)
Personally my leather bag shopping days are over. I have a black one (bought in ’07), a brown one (’09) and a blue one (’13) that I am sure will last forever. New boots or leather seats in a new car? Very likely to happen in my life still. It’s a journey. We’re on our way to having mainstream plant-based, “just-as-nice” alternatives to animal leather, but the market is not quite there yet. In the meantime, I will shop locally grown, well-chosen and only when absolutely necessary.
The sweater Mary Beth is wearing, if you are wondering, is by Tea N’ Rose, from its boho-chic Orange Creek premium line. (I LOVE the elbow patches!) Tea N’ Rose is not committed to American-made clothing, though the style we are showing off is, of course, made in USA.
This is the second post in a four post series focusing on American-made style featuring the beautiful Mary Beth in her own locally made clothes, photographed in some neat Houston locations by our friend Ashley. Check out last week’s post on a cool t-shirt HERE.
Since my baby bump is becoming more planet-like by the hour, thankfully, my dear friend Mary Beth agreed to model and contribute to the series once again. See, this lovely lady was so inspired by this little blog of mine that she decided last year that if the fashion isn’t made in USA, it simply isn’t worth buying. The result? She’s bought ONLY American-made clothes, bags, accessories and jewelry since her last appearance on the blog. Quite impressive, isn’t it?! Getting to inspire others is WHY I BLOG, so thanks MB!
Now, let’s get down to business and talk about the first American-made garment we picked for the blog – a statement tee from Good hYOUman.
I love that we’re starting with this brand because Mary Beth is such a good human.
This company, based out in LA (of course) is all about delivering high quality basics, giving back to the community and manufacturing ALL its products in the United States of America.
They’ve got tanks, tees, sweatshirts and sports bras for women; beanies, short- and long sleeved shirts for men and onesies and tops for the kiddos. Most tees are cotton/modal blends or 100% cotton which make for great eco-friendly picks. They do have some polyester mixes as well, but it’s all stated clearly on the website so you can easily manage your choice of fabric. Transparency is how we like it.
They can be found in smaller boutiques all over the USA (check out the store locator) and of course you can shop on online at GoodhYOUman.com – domestic shipping is free!
T-shirts sell for $40 to $48, and sweatshirts are in the $60 to $85 range.
Go check out Good hYOUman and come back and see us soon as I’ve got more Made in USA fashion posts coming! This is the first post in a four post series focusing on American-made style, all featuring the beautiful Mary Beth in her own locally made clothes, photographed in some neat Houston locations by our lovely friend Ashley.
I decided early on in my pregnancy to limit buying maternity clothes as much as possible and instead try to master pregnancy style using pretty much only my regular clothes and a few, versatile, basic hand-me-downs (thanks sis!). It’s worked out pretty well so far, and with that, left room in the budget for other clothes.
Christina El Moussa (of HGTV’s Flip or Flop) has been my number one pregnancy style inspiration. While she was pregnant with their second kid last year, she kept rocking outfits that fit her growing belly, showed it off even, but was never centered around it. One of my favorite looks of hers was the open plaid shirt, white top, boots and skinny jeans.
Time has come to introduce my new (lovely) flannel.
Made in the USA by a small company called Tradlands.
I am not often at a loss for words (blogger!), but when I first tried this shirt on at home (after it came in the mail) all I could say was “wow”. Followed by some more wows. Since I started the challenge almost three years ago, I haven’t encountered any American-made clothes as nice as this. This is the most beautifully crafted garment you can imagine. The flannel is thick and 100% cotton. The seams are flawless and the colors are vibrant and deep.
The shirt fits just like I was hoping it would. Of course I can’t button it over the bump, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to ;). Going by Tradlands’ online size guide, I’d be an XS which also matches the size of most button-up shirts I have in my closet. And here’s something amazing: my arms are monkey-style and rarely does an XS shirt have sleeves long enough for me, but this one does. Another wow.
Tradlands offers a wide range of women’s button-up shirts, everything from dress shirts for the office to heavier outdoor flannels like mine. They’ve also got some gorgeous sweaters. Many styles are made from organic cotton!
This amazing shirt sells for $167 online. I had a coupon code and ended up paying only $142 (free shipping and returns!). I almost regret using the coupon now. Had I known the excellence in craftsmanship, I would have been more than willing to pay full price to support the company. That’s what this challenge is all about after all, spending my money where it makes a difference.
This is an investment piece. A garment to keep forever. And the last thing I am buying myself in 2016. Ending on a high note!
In case you were wondering; the boots are old, the top and the skinny jeans are hand-me-downs from my sister. The jeans are actually made in USA too by AG Jeans!
The AMAZING glasses? Yes, they’re made right here and blog post coming soon!
NOTE: After this post was published, Tradlands.com has started to produce some garments at international production sites (China, Vietnam). Check the labels. Unfortunately this “Made in USA company” may have deserted their original patriotism.
It’s November! Finally some resemblance of fall in Houston. Actually, that’s a lie, it’s hot as hell but the calendar says November and with that it’s officially scarf season, my favorite one by far.
On my quest for sustainable maternity fashion, I went second hand shopping in Greenville, SC when we visited the region about a month ago, and found a pair of maternity jeans ($12) and this cotton-rayon mix dress. Perfect for cooler weather.
Yes, it’s another straight line dress with stripes (you know that’s my thing!). It is one size up from what I’d normally wear, so I have some room, but there ain’t nothing maternity about it. Generally speaking, I want to be able to wear the clothes I invest in again and again, why not also the ones I buy while pregnant?
I paid $22 for the dress, and I swear it looks brand new. Great deal!
To me, sustainable fashion is using what’s in my closet as much and as long as possible, avoiding at all costs garments going to landfill. Especially ones that still look great. Did you know that by wearing a piece of clothing 50 times instead of five (the fast fashion average), you reduce carbon emissions by 400 percent per year, per garment?
So, I’m wearing my new dress with my (also) new, made in USA maternity tights from Storq.com and pre-challenge (unethically made) favorites from my ever so modest closet. Namely, my very favorite fall scarf (DSW 2012) that goes with everything, a bag my husband bought me (Coach 2012) and impulse purchased booties (Steve Madden 2009). If it’s already in my closet, I make sure I rock it. Bump or no bump!
I don’t normally use filters on pictures but I figured Houston could use a little extra fall spirit created by one. And I happen to think little eco-baby on the way looks really cute in this light :)
How are you showing off what’s already in your closet this fall?
Because I am always looking for a reason not to shop, I decided that in order to buy as few maternity outfits as possible, I had to start by going through my closet to see what items I already had that could possibly work for a while, or come along for most of the baby-baking ride.
What I’ve learned so far is that although a pair of maternity jeans is needed, many pieces of clothing in my closet actually work! Any loose fitting, jersey or stretchy tops still fit and since I’ve always preferred soft dresses with straight lines (no specific waist line), I was happy to discover that I actually have quite a few that will help me look super cute and put together this fall (fingers crossed). I just needed one little thing to rock some of these dresses in the office.
Made in USA, eco-friendly, small business, black tights to be more exact. How lucky am I that the perfect pair happened to be just a google search away?
Introducing Storq. A California based maternity-wear brand that makes simple, no-squeeze basics and intimates for all growing bellies and changing bodies.
Each piece is made in USA; more specifically, it’s knitted, dyed, cut and sewn in Los Angeles, all within a 10-mile radius.* All labels are screen printed using PVC-free, water-based ink and are sewn flat or printed on the fabric so nothing irritates the skin.
Many Storq products, just like the tights ($60), are made of 95% lenzing modal, a CO2-neutral fiber that comes from sustainably harvested Austrian beech wood forests and 5% spandex for stretch. (I recently promoted modal in my guide to eco-friendly fabrics too.)
My new tights are unbelievably soft and luxurious! They can be worn pulled up, over the belly, or folded down to sit at the hip. Houston is still kind of hot so I am wearing them low.
They’re meant to work for growing bodies, all nine months, and although I haven’t quite “grown into” my tights yet, they never slide down or become uncomfortable. It is a solid design, made by women who know how maternity wear should fit and function.
Since I was already buying the tights online I decided to throw in a nursing bra while I was at it. I figured I might not run into many planet-friendly, made in USA, soft, no underwire bras, so I better strike when I see one. It stretches and is super comfy, just like the tights. Actually, I can’t find a reason why not all women, pregnant or not, wouldn’t love this bra! ($42)
I’m still counting these two items as my one new thing purchased in October. ONE SET of undergarments. See? ;)
A little eco-bonus is that Storq knows how annoying is it for women to invest in a temporary pregnancy wardrobe, therefore they have partnered with a recycling company, 2ReWear, to help us recycle anything we can’t give to a friend or use again. All we have to do is contact them and mail our things.
Check them out at Storq.com
Ps. The tunic I’m wearing has become my favorite bump-friendly dress. Believe it or not, I bought it in 2004! The shoes are US-made Oka-Bs and the tote is also US-made from Seltzer Goods.
*UPDATE. Storq has in 2018 ditched made in USA for MADE IN CHINA! Unacceptable. Keeping the post up because I love this outfit and post.
Now, this scarf is very special. Not only is the New York designer who made it committed to American manufacturing, but most garments Tabii Just offers is sewn from scrap fabrics. Yes! The most beautiful discarded yardage from American mills and designers that would otherwise end up in landfill (or maybe once in a blue moon be recycled/downcycled). A great way to reduce a garment’s carbon footprint!
Due to the fact that fabrics are “leftovers”, quantities of some styles are limited and the exact fabric content is not always known. The most common threads made locally are rayon, polyester and conventionally grown cotton, so one or more of those most likely. I actually shot Tabii an email and asked, and the owner replied that my scarf is some sort of rayon blend. The ball hem is “new” and made ethically by artisans in Mexico.
As we’re talking about a piece of clothing made from scrap material, the rayon’s biggest eco-issue in this case becomes the microfibers released when washing, but I don’t really wash my scarfs a whole lot ;)
Another way Tabii Just is focusing on zero waste is by making patterns and designs with minimal scrap and cut-outs. And of course, a scarf is actually the ultimate zero waste item since, well, it’s basically just a square of fabric!
I am super excited to spend colder fall and winter days in this scarf. Happy birthday to me indeed.
We’re mid-way through September, and although temperatures are cooling off, Houston still allows us to wear dresses. And that’s pretty lucky for me, considering I have a brand new one!
Have you heard of Via 74 before?
It’s an online shopping site with ONLY made in USA garments from which I got my new dress! The clothes are not only stitched together here, the actual fabrics are made in USA as well. Via 74 source from different trustworthy wholesellers and you don’t know exactly what the what the brand label will say (other than made in USA) until the garment shows up at your doorstep. This mix of sources adds up to quite a versatile collection.
For me, being not just a “support local” consumer but also an eco-woman, I always want to know the contents of the fabric too, and at Via 74 it’s listed loudly and clearly for each item.
That’s how I came to decide on exactly this dress (there are so many!) for myself. It’s made of 95% modal (and 5% spandex) which is an eco-friendly choice made from beech wood. There were lots of pretty dresses that I liked, but since they were made of polyester or rayon they weren’t for me. Transparency online is so awesome.
This dress was on sale for 3o-something dollars, but I ended up paying only 22 after rebates. And on top of that, shipping was free! What!
I’m very excited about this.
Via 74 is a member of the Made in America Movement; they are committed to American made goods and honest domestic sourcing. Check them out here (you won’t believe their colorful selection :)).
My sister suggested a long time ago that I write something about fabrics. She asked: When it comes to shopping planet-friendly, which fabrics should I go for?
Here’s what I’ve come up with, based on internet research, articles I’ve read and some personal eco ideas that make sense to me :)
Step 1: Go for natural fibers
Why? Because in thousands of years when we’re no longer here, the fabric will have degraded, posing little or no harm to the planet. A fabric made from a plant or tree is CO2 neutral, if done right. It absorbs carbon it as it grows, releases it as it is cut down and when a new tree grows up in its place, carbon is absorbed again.
Where? Well, cotton is everywhere you shop, while the Internet will most likely be your best bet for materials like hemp and modal. I see these fabrics more and more when I browse, often on eco-conscious shopping websites.
Whoa! Rayon is a common natural fiber used in all types of stretchy materials. It is made from wood pulp, but unfortunately due to the heavy chemical processing it takes to make the fabric, it is considered semi-syntethic (see step 2). Rayon is also worrisome as it is often linked to deforestation! There is no need to cut down our rainforests when we’ve got so many other natural choices.
Step 2: Poly-blends are the enemy
Why? Well, they’re made from oil (yuck!) and wearing plastic is not cool when you think about it. These fabrics do not biodegrade – ever. Recent studies have shown that polybased fabrics release up to 4,500 microscopic plastic fibers each time they’re washed, polluting our waterways and oceans. As fish ingest them, the fibers accumulate and act as a “sponge” for toxic material. (Eat that fish later, and you just ate plastic microfibers seasoned with toxins.)
Which?Polyesters, elastane, nylon and fleece. (Fleece being the worst microfiber polluter!)
Where? These fabrics are everywhere! Watch out!
Whoa! Recycled polyester has become popular lately, and although it has a lower initial environmental footprint, it still releases microfibers when washed, making it a bad eco-fabric. If you already own poly-blend/synthetic fiber clothing (which we all do) air out instead of washing as often as possible.
Step 3: Always look for sustainably-made fabrics
Why? Because the more eco-friendly – the better!
Which? Organic cotton is a great choice. Grown without pesticides and fertilizers, it’s safer than regular cotton for the farmers, the lands and the consumers. Modal is generally sourced from sustainably harvested beechwood trees. Hemp and bamboo are fast growing plants, and generally labeled very sustainable. All these fabrics are (95%+) recyclable.
How? Look for stamps (like Oeko-tex or GOTS) and descriptions of how the fabric’s material was grown and harvested. If the store includes a sustainability statement – that’s a good sign. And look for locally grown, domestic fabrics!
Where? Most likely you’ll find the most sustainable fabrics and clothes online, hopefully with details on where the fabric was sourced and how it was prepared (dyes, labor practices, etc.) too.
Step 4: Shop second hand
Why? Second hand shopping has a negligible environmental footprint compared to buying something new!
Which? Go for natural fibers again so washing is a weekly task not a weekly ocean polluter. If you are into wool or leather goods, second hand is the way to shop them! Both are materials with a heavy environmental footprint, especially leather with the toxic tanning practices, heavy chemical use and the questionable treatment of animals. If it’s already worn, your impact becomes minimal. Isn’t that awesome?
Where? At your local resale store, in your mom’s closet, or using online services like Thread Up. Vintage stores and markets are always fun too.
That’s it! Quite easy, right?!
Remember, clothes are “want to haves” not “need to haves” (most of the time) and any new garment you buy impacts the planet negatively even when it is made from, by definition, an eco-friendly fabric. Shop wisely my friends.
Post shared on eco-gites.blogspot.com and skipthebag.blogspot.com/