Tag Archives: Oka-B

Never REcycle when you can UPcycle (especially shoes!)

I am not entirely sure how it happened, but I accidentally tore off the flower embellishment on one of my Oka-B ballet flats while changing clothes one day. Suddenly it was lying there, alone on the floor, and all my right shoe had left was the pop-rivet. How in the world?

Remembering Oka-B’s 2 year warranty, I decided to email them and let them know of my shoe tragedy. As I had hoped, in just a hop, skip and a few hours, I got an email from them offering me a brand new pair to replace my broken sapphire blue Maris flats. Yes, please!

Now, you know that Oka-B recycles any pair of shoes that gets shipped back to them, as part of their eco-friendly and zero waste production efforts, but I was hesitant to part ways with my original pair.

Why RECYCLE when I can UPCYCLE?! Who wouldn’t want two pairs of these comfy flats in their closet? Two pairs with different decor!

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Before upcycling

Before I added passionate blogger and part-time Swedish tutor to my already full work week, I dabbled a bit with scrapbooking and arts, so naturally I still have a few craft goodies in my stash. I dug it all out knowing exactly what I wanted to use for my “new” shoes: RED GLITTERY STARS.

Though recycling is great, and I love that Oka-B does it, it does consume energy. Keeping your shoes and clothes for a long time and wearing them over and over again is the only way you get to call your closet sustainable. And in order to do that, sometimes you have to be creative, mend and fix stuff!

The stars I used are stickers, and I know they probably won’t last forever. I’ll try to keep the shoes out of the rain but if ruined stars happen, I have blue and white ones too, so I can keep fixing them and changing things up.

This little fix only took 2 minutes. AND I might actually be more fond of this style than I am of the original one… That’s my kind of DIY!

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Star-spangled, made in USA, upcycled ballet flats!

Read my original Oka-B review here

Made in USA style series part 2: Celebrating American beauty

This is the second post in a five piece made in USA style series, featuring my beautiful friend Mary Beth. She is an awesome mom of two, a supportive wife, gifted music teacher, singer and humanitarian. She’s always looking for ways to improve society and I am so impressed by her spirit, intellect and efforts. Therefore, I decided to call this post “Celebrating American beauty”.

Last week I wrote that putting together a perfect outfit often requires some foreign pieces. Mostly that is true, but this week we did it, head to toe, using only made right here apparel! Another reason to celebrate.

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Let’s start with the blouse, which is made by Collective Concepts – a wholesale brand you’ll find at department stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Nordstrom Rack to name a few. This one with roll up sleeves and a cute leaf print was about 40 dollars at Nordstrom.

For anyone just starting out hoping to add made in America fashion to their closet, I truly recommend Nordstrom Rack. I have found so many stylish, reasonably priced, US made garments there over the past year! Yes, it requires some digging, tag-checking and effort, but rarely have I left empty handed. From 20 dollar shirts to 60 dollar Citizens of Humanity Jeans, most of what I have found there have become instant made in USA favorites.

The fabric of Mary Beth’s blouse is polyester, and it’s all USA made. The style kind of reminds me of the orange polyester blouse we showed last week, also made right here. You can read all about it and its petroleum based fabric here.

Leaves and feathers go well together. Love the light in this picture!
Leaves and feathers go well together. Love the light in this picture!

For a stylish pop of color we added an American feather design necklace, made in Tulsa, Oklahoma by the inspiring Gleeful Peacock Designs. Their collections are an ode to vintage designs, nature, warmth and beauty. All their items are hand-painted, so no two items are exactly alike. Mary Beth actually introduced me to this brand, when she bought me a bracelet for my birthday last year. I love the brand name (!) and the simple, yet timeless pieces.

The biggest challenge when it comes to dressing head to toe in made in USA items is shoes! Stylish options are few, and often expensive if available. The only shoes I have found that are affordable, yet appropriate for the office, dinners and outings, are (you guessed it) the Oka-B ballet flats! I bought myself a pair back in October, and we happen to wear the same size, so Mary Beth ‘borrowed’ them in order to complete this outfit. They are vegan, zero waste, 100% recyclable and made right here in Georgia by a company committed to American manufacturing. The price tag for a pair of Oka-B ballet flats (all styles) is 45 dollars. I love them because they are super comfortable, cute and eco-friendly.

Luckily, one can find America’s favorite garment, jeans, made here quite easily. Last week I featured Rag & Bone and this week Mary Beth is wearing the Victoria Skinny Cigarette by True Religion. They are rather expensive, like many other US-made jeans, the tag is around 200 dollars (Mary Beth got them for $75 at the Rack!). Unfortunately they’re made of imported materials but at least local hands stitched them together.

I’m sure you’ve seen that tag from time to time; “Made in USA of imported fabrics”. It’s definitely something worth talking about, in terms of what it means and why it’s done. I will share some facts about labeling and my personal approach to imported fabrics in my next post. So check back in!

There you have it! Four stylish items we found in Mary Beth’s closet, put together into an all made in USA outfit – pretty incredible right?

Celebrating American beauty, indeed :)

Photographs by the gracious Shutterluv by Ashley.

Now that’s what I call an eco-friendly ballet flat!

I need to write some more about the navy blue ballerina flats I added to the LookBook last week. Why? Because they are quite special!

okabporchThe reason I got new shoes in the first place, is that I finally came to terms with the fact that my old, navy blue Keds really had to be demoted to yard shoes & CVS runs (sob, sob), and with that leaving an opening in the hallway for new, blue shoes. I wear a lot of blue to the office, navy and dark blues are my favorites and I love pairing dark blue jeans with blue flats.

I saw a picture on twitter of an Oka-B Lilly ballet flat and thought, “Wow, how can those cute, made in USA, ballerinas only be 45 dollars?” I had to investigate.

As it turns out, there’s more to this brand than meets the eye. First, all the shoes are actually made of plastic, which is fully recyclable. If you are not comfortable putting your shoes in the recycling bin when you’ve worn them out; send them back to Oka-B and they’ll recycle them for you. Second, they’re all made in Georgia by a team that stands by their product enough to offer a two year warranty. Warranty on shoes? That’s awesome! There are women’s flats, wedges and sandals in a variety of styles and colors to choose from.

Five minutes into surfing their website, I found that Oka-B is the daughter company of Okabashi shoes, who go by the same concept of made right here, vegan, recyclable, ergonomic, easy clean shoes, but offers another set of styles; including flip flops, sandals and clogs for men and women. Both Oka-B’s and Okabashi’s manufacturing process is virtually waste-free since scrap material is recycled into new products. It’s local manufacturing combined with zero waste; made in USA at its finest!

Now, last, but most definitely, not least; let’s talk about the box in which my “Sapphire with Navy Knit Flower” ballet flats came.

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Oh, goodness. It is quite possibly the most beautiful shoe box I have ever seen! I paid 35 dollars for my shoes (I found a 10 dollar coupon code on okabashi.com – yay) and that included this magnificent box.

Shoes fit true to size and they are comfy! The fact that they’re plastic happens to be a great bonus for someone living in monsoon land, also known as Houston, Texas.

In a few years, after I have reused, reused and enjoyed, should they get worn out; I will definitely recycle them! The box on the other hand, is staying with me. For EVER.

[LINK to Oka-B]