Posts Tagged ‘fashion’

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By Reshmi Mehta, Revel In It founder

We all know that the fashion industry is pretty harmful to a lot of people and the planet. Yet somehow, there are little to no readily available avenues to enable us to change our buying and producing behaviors. So, here’s my starter guide to mindfully interact with clothing in Washington, D.C.

Clothes you have

Learning to love what you have is step #1. We all have our own way of getting better at this step. If you have thoughts to share, write them in the comments! Learning to care for what you love is a way to level up.

Caring for your clothes means doing what you can to prolong the life of your clothes. Like washing them only when you absolutely need to, and learning the way they should be cleaned. Understand what those symbols on the care labels of your clothes actually mean here! There’s actually a lot on the internet about keeping your beloved items wearable. Check out some useful articles here, here here, here and here.

But, this list is about accessible resources to us in D.C. So, when you run into tears in your clothing, or find yourself in need of a hem, mending is the way to go! There are some fun and quick ways to mend your clothes in our city. FabLab is a D.C. public library initiative that hosts free mending and sewing 101 workshops in libraries around D.C. Soon it will have a permanent physical space with instructors and sewing machines and more! This will be free and accessible to anyone with a library account. The space is set to open later this year.

Fellow community members take action by hosting their own mending workshops around D.C., like the folks who teach classes through their Sew Queer series. Their workshops are sometimes free and sometimes cost $. Do you know of any other free or low cost mending workshops in D.C.? Share your knowledge in the comments.

Then, there are more in-depth workshops for those who want to invest in yourself a bit more and build-up your skills in mending and sewing from scratch. The Stitch Sew Shop in Alexandria is a beautiful space that holds sewing patterns to purchase, and has an impressive array of classes and workshops, but be ready to spend some $$. Another pricey-but-worth-the-skills workshop is the occasional embroidery and sewing 101 workshops hosted by The Lemon Collective up in Petworth. I bet there are more workshops like these in D.C., and the broader DMV, so feel free to leave information on those in the comments too.

Clothes you don’t want anymore

Knowing that you don’t like a piece of clothing is great! Learning to responsibly get rid of those items is the hard part. One way you can get rid of them, and find something new to you, is to swap! I host seasonal clothing swaps through my community organization called Revel In It. I look for different venues around the city to host in, and I make them free and open to all, like really free – no money or clothing are required to participate. The next one will be at the West End Library on Saturday March 23rd, from 1-4 pm.

Other swaps have been known to take place at Potter’s House and different venues around D.C., as well as through the organization Swap DC. Their swaps require a low up-front cost to participate.

You can also donate your unwanted clothes to organizations that are serving our community. Great examples include Martha’s Table, Dress for Success and Casa Ruby. Each organization has its own needs in terms of types of clothes, so check-out their sites for more information.

Finding new clothes

The best way to shop ethically and sustainably is to thrift. D.C. has some great options, like the Mt. Pleasant boutique Rosalia’s, which has a decent selection, specifically for work wear, winter coats and menswear. Bonus: there is a fabulous seamstress in house! I also swear by Second Story Boutique on Georgia Avenue, which is actually a consignment shop as well, and holds a constant rotation of eclectic feminine wear. Tell me your go to thrift shops in the comments.

As for buying brand new in D.C., the options are slim. There’s some homegrown brands like Mimi Miller that design and produce their garments in the District, as well as some other brands that are showcased at the Steadfast Supply shop. The great thing about locally made items is that you can find the makers’ information and ask more questions about their production processes. Another exciting local venture is Lady Farmer, a brand run by a mother daughter duo who are experimenting with a farm-to-closet business with their farm just outside D.C.

But let’s be real, a lot of us shop online from businesses that are not local, and definitely not ethical in their practices. To help sift through all the noise, I created a Facebook group for my D.C. community, and beyond, to share our ethical and sustainable finds and to learn to mindfully interact with our clothes together. Come join the discussion!

Some more information on what “ethical” and “sustainable” clothing is, resources to help you when buying online, and more, are below.

Resources

Reshmi Mehta is an international development and social impact professional currently in DC and leads the community organization, Revel in It, a slow fashion enabler. You can find her at coffee shops around the city, searching the web for more opportunities to advocate for slow fashion and a decent espresso.

Photo Credits: fashionrevolution.org & Reshmi Mehta

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By Amy Loder

As an EcoWoman, you recycle, use reusable shopping bags and bring a water bottle wherever you go. But are you being mindful during your morning routine?

When I took a look at my morning routine, I decided to make some changes that are better for my health and kinder to the environment too.

NaturalBeauty

1. Shower Power

My shower goals: to use less water and choose products that are both good for my body and less harmful to the water supply.

For body: Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap is ethically-sourced and is made with certified fair trade ingredients, plus it’s manufactured in the USA and packaged in a 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottle.

For body: My Salux Beauty Skin Cloth. I’ve used loofahs in the past, but this bad boy really does the trick. Plus, it reaches every spot. The cloth is washable and reusable. I pair the cloth with Dr. Bronner’s soap, and don’t need to use an additional exfoliation product.

For hair: I use Duross and Langel, a Philadelphia-based, independently-owned business. They make all of their products by hand on the second floor of their retail shop. I order online which means packaging and fuel consumption with every purchase, but these impacts are minimal.

Shower Tips:

  • Just say no to microbeads! You can learn more on this topic by checking out Robin Garcia’s DC EcoWomen blog post.
  • Take shorter showers and turn the water off while you soap up and exfoliate. When you’re ready to rinse, turn the water back on.

2. Skin care routine

My skincare goals: Cleanse, moisturize and prevent sun-damage and wrinkles while doing the least harm to my body and the planet.

For gentle cleansing: I’m a devotee of Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash. It is widely available, and it’s fragrance and dye free. (Disclaimer: it’s a Johnson & Johnson product, so manufacturing practices and possible animal testing are something to take into consideration).

For deep cleansing: Glycolic-based products are great pore cleansers, encouraging skin cell turnover and preventing blemishes. I use M-61 brand products, which are created by the D.C.-based entrepreneurial duo that founded Blue Mercury. No parabens, sulfates, fragrances or dyes.


  • Parabens are preservatives and prevent bacteria growth in products. Sulfates are synthetic ingredients that make products nice and foamy. Most scientists and doctors say both are ok to use, but I prefer to avoid these when possible.
  • Fragrances and dyes can be irritating to the skin and potentially hazardous to your health. The majority of manufacturers don’t disclose fragrance ingredients on websites or product labels.

For moisturizing: Anything La Roche Posay. This company scores well with cosmetic watch groups when it comes to human-friendly ingredients. This moisturizer allows me to skip foundation entirely; I create my own by mixing the Anthelios tinted and un-tinted SPF mineral moisturizes.

There are many similar products available, these are my favorites, which are yours?

3. The natural deodorant debate

SkinProductThere are conflicting reports about the potential health implications of antiperspirants. I’ve decided to err on the side of caution, so I’m a natural deodorant convert.

Several girlfriends helped me field-test a variety of natural deodorant brands. We compared notes on product effectiveness and scents. Here are my top two recommendations:

Dermalogica Environmental Control Deodorant This is the most effective for when I exercise. This product is gel-based, free of potentially-irritating Aluminum Chlorohydrate and S.D. Alcohol and it lasts forever. I use it regularly, alternating it with my other go-to favorite.

Priya Means Love makes an amazing spray product. Bonus: Priya is based in Baltimore, so your money supports a local woman who creates wonderful, natural products.

Note: It’s important to find a product that works well with your unique body chemistry. It might take multiple attempts to find the brand that works well for you.

4. Coffee

coffee-beans-759024_960_720Several months ago, I read an article about the number of paper cups consumed by American coffee drinkers each year. Appalling!

I’m a five-day-a-week, coffee on the go consumer. If my buying habits are continually creating waste, then I’m doing more harm than good. Buh-bye paper cups!

KeepCup saved my morning routine. These reusable cups come in recycled plastic or glass and in a variety of standard barista sizes. Now I make coffee at home or take my KeepCup to a local coffee joint for a fill up.

How are you making your morning routine green? Please share your best tips in the comments.

5. The more you know

I like to stay in-the-know about new developments that help keep my morning routine nice and green. Here are my top three favorite websites for eco-friendly style and beauty news.

The Environmental Working Group I’m especially fond of the “skin deep” page  – you can look at the ingredients and health scores for your favorite skin care products.  

Ecouterre This is my go-to website for the latest info on eco fashion, sustainable style, organic beauty products and ethical apparel.

Mother Nature Network This is a fantastic site focused on environmental news, being socially responsible at home, healthy families, green living and everything in between.  

Editor’s note: While DC EcoWomen does not endorse any specific products or services, we do endorse a conscious effort to live with the environment and sustainability in mind.

Amy Loder is a personal stylist and a Business Development Director at Blackboard Inc., a firm specializing in higher education technology and solutions. Amy has extensive experience in both the fashion industry and business development. She is passionate about women creating their most authentic personal style and using human and environmentally friendly clothing and products.

 

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I’m pleased to introduce you to one of my favorite new sustainable style retailers: Modavanti. Even though they are less than a year old, they’ve already pulled together a solid collection of stylin’ clothes and accessories that are environmentally friendly, ethically sourced and/or promoting social good. I put together a few of my favorite pieces in the image above, but those are just the highlights!

Modavanti also makes their sustainable evaluation process easy to understand by using a simple badge system that is nearly identical to what some of your may already know as my Fair Elements of Style:

But even if you put all of that do-gooding aside, the items they carry are simply well-made and on-trend, which is exactly as it should be. Probably the strongest section is the selection of bags, which has a variety of styles available at several price points, from polished clutches to fringed hobos. These make Modavanti a solid option for the ladies on your holiday shopping list! If you’re going to consumer, this is a place where you can be a proudly eco-conscious consumer.

On the more affordable side of the spectrum (and my personal favorites) are the bags by Angela + Roi that are pictured below. Not only do they come in a slew of beautiful colors, but $5 from the purchase of each bag is donated to a worthy cause related to the color of the bag in some way. For example, the poppy red bag benefits AIDS research in Chicago.

 

And guess what: I still have more good news for you! This month, I’ve partnered with Modavanti to offer the DC Ecowomen (and MFV readers) two ways to save a little cash as the holiday shopping season approaches:

1.  Take 15% off all of your purchases at Modavanti through the month of November with special code MYFAIRVANITY.

2. Each one of you can enter to WIN a red Angela + Roi bag over on My Fair Vanity!

In the meantime, I’ll be seeking out more eco-friendly online retailers, brands and style advice to share with you in December. Until then, may the Sustainable Style Force be with you.

Ecowomen fashion blogger Rachel Mlinarchik curates sustainable style that is kind to the earth and the people on it at www.myfairvanity.com
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Guest writer Rachel Mlinarchik is the voice behind My Fair Vanity, a blog dedicated to style that is kind to the earth and the people on it.

Even if it still feels like summer, I’m ready to get  excited for fall, so I’ve put together some of my favorite eco-friendly items for when cooler temperatures roll in. These selections will allow you to try out some of fall’s  hottest trends while still being kind to the earth and the people on it, and I’ll offer a few tips on finding sustainable options in your hometown or online.

Downtown Prepster

 

First up is a snazzy dress shirt from Zady. Proudly made in the New York garment district, the price might be high, but this shirt is made to last for years. The beautifully structured messenger bag is made exclusively for ASOS’ new “Green Room,” a fantastic effort on  the part of the company to be transparent about where and how some of  its products are made. This particular bag is leather, but it is also made in local factories in the U.K. It comes in every color of the rainbow and even though it wouldn’t be very eco-friendly, I want all of them.

The patent leather tortoise shell oxford shoe is made by Attilio Giusti Leombruni in a 3rd-generation-owned family factory in Italy. It’s perfect to wear  with chunky sweaters or slim-cut collared shirts in the fall and winter  to incorporate a little menswear into your style. Although I would  rather buy made in the USA, I believe that investing in  high-quality products made in countries with minimum wage and  fair labor laws is also solid, sustainable choice.

I’m very excited to share two pieces from one of my favorite jewelry lines: Alkemie. Both the elephant ring and the nautilus earrings are made in Los Angeles of 100% reclaimed metal with sterling silver posts.

Right along those lines is the chain link cuff bracelet by Mettle (available from Collective Habit). All of Mettle’s products are  hand-forged, fair trade accredited, and made from recycled bombshell  brass in Cambodia and Indonesia  within a small, not for profit, income generating and training project  owned by its members. Boom.

When I see this kind  of thought, care and kindness behind such beautiful clothing and  jewelry, it makes me want to march in to the offices of the larger  retailers (with far more capital and potential to change lives) and  say, calmly and clearly: You can do better. No. Seriously. You can.

Instead of finger-wagging, though, one thing we can all do is ask, ask, ask. Whenever you’re shopping online, if the products you’re browsing aren’t clearly labeled with information about  where or how they are made, send a quick email to customer service with your question. In a physical store, politely ask the sales associates to point you towards  goods that are made in the USA or made using fair labor practices. The  more you and I ask, the more managers and buyers will start to think about where and from whom they are making purchases.

But I digress.

Add A Little Edge

Let’s move on to the edgier, modern punk look. I’m loving these leather-waisted, pleated trousers by Milly, and loving even more that they are made in the USA.  Bonus: many of you will be pleased to learn that the silver oxfords by Jeffrey Campbell are part of a special vegan line he produces for Convert. Convert, for the record, is an apparel, shoe and accessories store dedicated to both style and sustainability.

The bangles are handmade from locally sourced woods and  metallic leathers by marginalized women in Northern India for Raven and Lilly. Proceeds from this particular collection fund literacy programs for women artisans and their children.

The crazy leggings by Conditions Apply for Shop Ethicare are so eco-friendly that they require a bulleted list to get all the goodness across:

  • Made at a company-owned factory in Gurgaon, India, allowing the  brand to control working conditions throughout its supply chain
  • Water at the manufacturing facility is collected and recycled
  • Fabric scraps are salvaged and used to make one-of-a-kind pieces
  • Employees have access to medical care and micro-loans
  • Production is based on orders, not forecasts, to reduce waste and avoid surpluses

And last but certainly not least, the exposed zipper black sheath dress is another item from the ASOS Green Room. This one is perfect to wear with a cardigan at work during the day, all the while knowing you are ready for date night once evening falls. Business in the front, party in the back!

Looking for another way to ramp up your wardrobe sustainably? Join DC EcoWomen for our clothing swap on September 29th! Just bring in your gently used clothes, accessories, or shoes, to “shop” for each other’s items. Go to the Event Page to sign up today!

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The following is a guest post by Rachel Mlinarchik of My Fair Vanity

A Guide to DC’s #1 Second-hand Style Source

The last time I visited with you, I shared a few eco-friendly options for the office. Today I’m going to sing the praises of one of our local area consignment super-stars. After all, purchasing (and selling my own) lightly-used clothing is my favorite way to:

  • Trade my rarely worn items for cash to buy clothing I will wear.
  • Build quality items into my wardrobe from labels I couldn’t normally afford, thereby avoiding disposable, fast fashion that won’t last.
  • Reuse and recycle, keeping perfectly good clothing and accessories out of landfills and inside my closet—or yours!

Refinery29 has already done a thorough accounting of awesome consignment stores in the DC metro area, so I’m going to focus on what I consider to be the best of the best: Secondi.

I would estimate that more than 50% of my regularly worn clothing and accessories were purchased from Secondi. I can say this with some confidence because, looking back through a gallery of my outfit posts, it’s difficult to find an outfit that doesn’t include at least one item from my favorite local store, whether it’s a bangle, a coat, or a blouse.

Below, I’ve put together just a few examples of the ever-growing Secondi collection I have amassed over the years. Every single item I’ve listed is from Secondi:

 

As you can see, Secondi has me well-equipped for all four seasons, but I made sure to stop in yesterday evening right before closing time to scope out the latest spring treasures on offer for my favorite eco women:

Perfect for a summer wedding or a hot date, these Marc Jacobs sandals are in mint condition.

Tangerine Manolo heels and fuschia Talbots flats are perfect for spring.

A well-cut trench is a key staple for April and summer showers.

These cheery pencil skirts are from JCrew, Tory Burch, Cynthia Rowley and Leifsdottir.

What impresses me most about Secondi is the range of price points they carry and the keen editorial eye of their staff. Any one of the clutches pictured above may be priced at $15, but those who are looking for more of an investment piece can snap up a structured, tomato red Michael Kors bag.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to head back in tomorrow to pick up a few things. Consider this your fair warning that the good stuff at Secondi goes fast, so if you see something that catches your eye, get thee there today!

To continue with me on my quest for personal style that is kind to the earth and the people on it, I hope you’ll visit with me now and again at My Fair Vanity, or better yet, I hope to see you in person at the DC EcoWomen conference in May. I’ve reserved my spot…have you?

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If you’re like me, the phrase ‘business casual’ throws you into a panic attack.  Depending on the workplace, that phrase can mean anything from jeans and a nice blouse to dress pants and a button up.  So if you’re looking to ‘dress to impress’, just what does that mean?

Lots of people weigh in on what women should wear to work.  Some adhere to the philosophy that women in the workplace should look masculine and no-nonsense – pantsuits are required.  Others argue that style has a place in the workplace, making pencil skirts and blouses the norm.  Still others eschew the idea of dressing in anything other than what makes you feel comfortable and confident.

With all the ideas of what women should wear, it can get complicated.  So here’s a list of general guidelines to follow.

1. Dress for the audience.  Remember that not all workplaces are the same, nor are all meetings the same.  Think about wh you’re meeting with before you get dressed that day.  Do you have a meeting with an important client? Maybe a suit is best.  Or is your day going to be sitting at your desk reading emails? Something more causal may be ok.

2. Pay attention to fit and style. While it’s easy to wear the same thing you were wearing ten years ago, maybe it’s time for a change.  Changing up what you wear, or who you wear, can boost confidence.  Wearing clothes that actually fit can too! It’s not easy to get things tailored on a budget, but it’s easy to reject things that don’t fit as not a good use of your spare pennies.  So make each item count and get them to fit right.

3. Don’t be afraid to copy co-workers.  It’s absolutely ok to watch what your co-workers wear and copy their style.  Not exactly of course (stick to your own unique style!), but it’s ok to copy the tone and timing of their clothes.  If all your co-workers tend to wear suits for the Monday meeting, you probably should too.

For more great tips, check out this and this.

What’s your best dressed secret?