Eco-fashion tips, Uncategorized

Every Day Pro Tips for Eco-Friendly Style

You recycle, you eat clean, and save electricity.  So far, the average person can incorporate eco-friendly habits into their daily lives fairly easily.  In a lot of areas this is true, except for how we dress.  The fact is, we still need to concentrate heavily on changes in our closets if we are to make the next steps to sustainability.  Here are some pro tips to step up your game in that department:

 

Check your label. ¬†Does you clothing have more than 50% synthetic content? ¬†Synthetics like polyester are derived from petrol, use up scarce natural resources and pollute the air and water in the process of fabrication. ¬†It could also contain microfibers which pollute our water each time the clothing is washed. ¬†When you’re finished with these toxic fabrics, cut them into dusting cloths. ¬†From now on, check the fiber content to avoid synthetics, and never purchase another 100% polyester item.

Repairs.  Take a youtube video tutorial and teach yourself how to mend your clothing.  You can even make alterations to your own clothes to improve and enliven your closet.  The longer things last, the longer they stay out of the landfill.

Damage Control.  Keep your silk clothing in excellent condition by caring for it properly, go to an organic cleaner, or hand wash in cold water and hang dry.  A lasting garment of high quality silk that is cared for correctly is not only more respectable, it also is healthier to wear silk agains the skin than any other fabric.

 

 

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Eco-fashion tips, Uncategorized

how the mass hysteria of fashion expertise gave way to the industry’s demise (and what we should have done about it)

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Feminists are impervious to advertising. ¬†I get it. ¬†Anyone who can differentiate the subject/object relationship of imagery knows better than to believe the fashion media’s drivel or to identify with the unattainable photoshopped emaciated or occasional left-field tokenism.

That doesn’t mean those of us who are well-heeled should trade our perks of feminine beauty for a walk in last summer’s birkenstocks or this year’s teva sandals in the name of peer-pressured shame. ¬†And those who wear cheap clothes out of rebellion, do you really understand whose pockets you are lining when you choose cheap? It’s the same people who are taking away your Planned Parenthood.

Lets take a step back and assess the big changes that were addressed in the industry recently: as response to fast fashion, we gave brands permission to show “Buy now, wear now” collections, in an effort to circumvent the style biters stealing our looks we paid to create. ¬†Speed to market, everyone agrees, is the key to the non-discerning consumer’s wallet. ¬†The result? Now Banana Republic has their bloody footprints on the CFDA runway, straight to NYC consumers from the mass grave of Bangladeshi women workers that nobody wants to talk about. ¬†Enter the next generation of designers and their ears perk up to follow the footsteps of what the dead dinosaurs tell them is how they should run their business.

Re-thinking The Fashion Calendar, is that really enough?  What about the entire dysfunctional business model? As an industry, the business model we are expected to follow is Not Sustainable.  I know that nobody wants to come out and address it, because anybody who experienced a small measure of success is probably hiding the bodies somewhere.

So, why does everybody do it this way? ¬†Mainly, I think it’s because a few sociopaths got a hold of the reins, and did whatever it took to make profits their number one objective. ¬†The biggest offenders of women’s rights are¬†namely: Uniqlo, H&M, Forever 21, Banana Republic, and Urban Outfitters/Anthropologie. ¬†That would have been okay if we weren’t looking at forced slavery and a death toll in the tens of thousands. ¬†So as an act of public service, I would like to inform others, while it is Earth Month, what are erroneously called business practices which are actually huge mistakes if you are running a real business,¬†and most importantly why they are not sustainable. ¬†If you call yourself a feminist, you should spot these malignant behaviors and whenever possible withdraw your consumer support.

Price Reductions: Not Sustainable.  Everyone expects the price of an item of clothing to go down drastically within a short period of time.  Why?  If we are going to shop Sustainable fashion brands, we have to understand that the designers need to set their own standards, price based on sustainable fabric and labor costs (not market) and most importantly, the price must stay consistent.  If an item of clothing is not worn or previously owned, if there is no damage to an item that cannot be repaired, the price should stay the same over any amount of time or it should even go up.  Examples: a piece of artwork made by a visual artist goes up in value over time.  Chanel handbag prices go up every year.  Precious metals and gemstones have a consistent resale value.  Until we protect the value of clothing, we are looking at business model for a global industry that is designed to self-destruct and disempower the women who make these pieces. Is a bargain that enslaves women worldwide really something you want to brag about?

Counterfeit Enablers: Not Sustainable. ¬†Whether you know it or not, if you’ve purchased an item of clothing or an accessory that does not have a designer’s name associated with it, you have most likely purchased an item of counterfeit goods. ¬†When you do that, you are enabling thieves who have such a low level of discernment, you can go ahead and¬†assume that they have stolen wages from their workers, and lives from innocent families overseas. ¬†We need very visible designers who create their own point of view to oversee the process, because they are in the unique position to take responsibility for the work. ¬†When the work is stolen from a legitimate designer, that accountability goes out the window along with it.

The Legal System in America: Not Sustainable.¬† Fashion designers’ work is not legally protected in the United States, which subsequently turns the creative process of American designers into a free public service. ¬†As a result, designers in the US cannot show their work in public or on social media without a feeding frenzy on their intellectual property by counterfeiters worldwide. ¬†Until this changes, we need privacy for our work, to show in intimate gatherings of people who are trustworthy and support the work financially, and we need to ask our friends, consumers, to boycott the frauds who cannibalize our work because we know right from wrong.

Overproduction: Not Sustainable. ¬†We get it, high volume sales are what drives profits. ¬†But for designers who go through the process and spend the money to make things one by one, the assumption that success or growth means big orders and meeting factory minimums simply does not add up. ¬†There’s an ongoing pressure to come up with more silhouettes, and provide an overabundance of size runs in every style, then turn out another new collection at lightning speed, but what does that actually accomplish? The pressure to make those manufacturers’ payments along with the misguided mass retailers’ endless price slashing is an automatic recipe for disaster. ¬†Sometimes one of something is enough.

Fast Fashion: Not Sustainable. ¬†Duh. ¬†We all know this by now, so why are we still doing this? ¬†Designers are so hurt by the aggressive market shares having taken over by fast fashion, that they are acting defenseless, and even trying to compete still. ¬†The problem with that is we can’t compete. ¬†We instead should take more time. ¬†The design process is creative, and deserves to be respected. ¬†There should be more time to develop the work, to create the work, and to allow others to take it in. ¬†Give us that time. Pre-order and wait for something specially created just for you. Then, you can proudly call yourself a feminist and brag about something you did to bring women workers more dignity worldwide.

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Eco-fashion tips, trend, Uncategorized

HELL NO UNIQLO

Happy April and happy Earth Month. ¬†Let’s talk about Uniqlo … while we have a veritable¬†pig¬†engaging in pissing contests with the wealthiest men all over the world, scheming to build walls in the urinals so he can change the rules of said pissing contest, the new feud between fast fashion earth-destroyer Tadashi Yanai and our own embarrassing guy here raises an important topic. ¬†The problem? ¬†They’re worried about the wrong things.

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Image: Spirited Away

If you recall, a couple years ago, I wrote a letter to Obama asking him to even the playing field in the US market by taxing imports from human-rights violating countries which manufacture clothing at a price point below $50.  He wrote me back, but did nothing to fix the problem. The current face-off has overseas manufacturers whose violations of human rights have left over ten thousand people dead without consequence at Rana Plaza and bumped textiles to the number two source of pollution worldwide, and Trump wants to stop them.  Why? Because they took our jobs.  Yes, they did in fact take our jobs, and that is a very important point, but examining the side effects of sociopathic driven brands Uniqlo, Zara, H & M and Urban Outfitters / Anthropologie, you would understand that this issue is just important to liberals as it is for conservatives.

As a response to taxing imports, Uniqlo’s owner was quoted saying “We would not be able to make really good products [in the U.S.] at costs that are beneficial to customers¬†…¬†It would become meaningless to do business in the U.S.” ¬†But what he fails to explain is the reasons why he would not be able to manufacture in the US. ¬†Could it be that our labor force is unskilled? No, that’s not it. ¬†Maybe it’s because we don’t allow CHILD LABOR in our country. ¬†Probably. ¬†Now let’s get back to the part about “really good products.” ¬†What’s a really good product that Uniqlo makes … the cheap cashmere that if you’re lucky¬†lasts 1/10th as long as authentic Italian cashmere? ¬†Not good in my book, I’d rather pay full price for quality cashmere that lasts years. ¬†Or what about the Heat Tech ™ microfiber, tech means it’s really good, better than anything else, right? ¬†Think again: the first time you wash it, those micro fibers dissolve irreversibly into our drinking water and cannot be filtered out. ¬†Each subsequent wash releases more and more tiny synthetic particles that glob together in the ocean and destroy marine life. ¬†The synthetic-heavy textiles created overseas spew toxic gases into the air and use excessive amounts of water in the process. ¬†Wow if you didn’t know already, you may begin to see we don’t need these inferior products and their planet-devastating¬†side effects.

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Image: Spirited Away

Internationally speaking, I worked a lot with professionals from Japan, and learned about the market from the Japanese consumer’s point of view when I was establishing my business. ¬†When Uniqlo first brought their brand to the US, the Japanese people in my industry all agreed it was a desperate attempt for validation. ¬†It turns out the mediocre brand was doing “meh” in its home country and sought to take on specifically the New York market to add prestige to its brand. ¬†Fast forward to now, their aggressive takeover of the US market has undercut quality goods which have a better cost per wear by bamboozling customers, is well on its way to ruining our water supply just from normal wash and wear, and let’s not forget they left¬†a body count that is comparable if not higher than the number of deaths here on that awful day Sept 11. ¬†WE DON’T WANT YOU UNIQLO. ¬†Please stop messing with us, your aggressive takeover is over, please pack up and go while we can still¬†clean up the mess and do better without you.

Now the brand name, (ironically a portmanteau for Unique Clothing … there’s nothing unique about their basic garbage) is a lie. ¬†So, why are they a fashion brand with no designers? ¬†You always know that a brand is shady when no designer will show their face or put their name on something. ¬†Designers are in a unique point of view because their eyes can potentially see the suffering and damage caused by the work, which consumers often do not see. ¬†Most often when it’s a noname brand (Zara, H&M, UO/Anthro and celebrities who aren’t professional designers,) the silhouettes are stolen from legit designers, a symptom indicative of shady practices from the top all the way down every step of the supply chain. ¬†Only sometimes to fool us, they pick up graphic designers to endorse tee shirts simply as a marketing ploy. ¬†If we are to begin to establish a sustainable future, and move textiles off the list of the top violators of our one and only planet earth, we need to take down these sociopaths and put designers back in charge.

If you care about the planet and want to help end the suffering, or you just want your job in the fashion industry, join me in using the hashtag Р#HELLNOUNIQLO in conjunction with earth month related tweets and social media posts.  Stay tuned for next week when we go over the current qualifiers for what makes sustainable fashion brands.

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Eco-fashion tips, the personal fables, Uncategorized

Monte Carlo Fashion Week Highlights

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Chanel aka Epcot Center with barricades and a dry fountain.

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Intimate cocktail reception on the terrace above the Cafe de Paris, overlooking the Casino.

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Phone frenzy as the Princess of Monaco arrives to view the shows.

IMG_1455SPECIAL MCFW AWARD ‚Äď ETHICAL FASHION BRAND – TO STELLA JEAN

The Chambre MoneŐĀgasque de la Mode awarded Stella Jean for her engagement and contribution in the creation of an ethical and sustainable fashion brand. When accepting her award, Jean said, “We can make beautiful things, but we also have the chance to do so much more.”

 

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View from all the way up! in Beausoleil.

 

 

 

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Eco-fashion tips, Uncategorized

Celebrating Earth Day Every Day

If You Care:

We can celebrate Earth Day every day by improving our dressing habits with consideration for the impact our actions have on the environment.

Care for your clothing responsibly. If your clothes have minor holes at the seam or hem, a tailor can easily repair them so you can continue to wear.

  • Hand Wash: Lingerie, nylon hosiery, slips.
  • Machine Wash: Towels, linens, socks & pajamas.
  • Organic Dry Clean: Coats, blouses, dresses, suits, outer wear.

With the best care, you will see that cost per wear go down significantly.

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Overabundance, what to do? 

Hand-me-down: when you are finished with a piece of clothing, pass it on to someone you know will wear it.

Road Trip: Gather wearable used clothing and take it personally to impoverished areas, especially those which are affected by harsh weather conditions. Be responsible!

Sunday Clothes: What do you do with the holey tee shirts? Use them to clean the floor or dust windowsills. Old tee shirts can be used to pack fragile objects for shipping or storage.

What you really need: 

Avoid future offenders: When shopping, check the content: Steer clear of microfiber, nylon, plastic, rayon, pleather, plush and synthetic fur.  NEVER shop at H & M, even when they pose as sustainable, because they are mis-allocating their colossal budgets to PR instead of being responsible.

Seek out natural fibers: opt for GOT Certified Organic Cotton, 100% silk, linen or clothing made from deadstock materials. If you can splurge, treat yourself to a piece of high fashion or something made from the raw materials.

Personalize: get clothing locally made just for you. Monograms or customized clothing is available in-store at I Love You Bedford.

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Get the best quality clothing possible and find styles you‚Äôll want to wear numerous times. Just think about how you felt after the last time you ate fast food: Gross, am I right? Once you realize how good it feels to wear better clothing, you won’t even want to go back to wearing garbage.

 

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Image credits: Photos by Jammi York, model: Ilona MAJOR Model NY, Hair & Makeup: Rachel Lopez (c) 2016 Alisha Trimble

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Eco-fashion tips, Uncategorized

The Sustainability Scale

What makes sustainable fashion so difficult? This year, the garment industry went from top three to the Number Two source of pollution worldwide. Clearly we haven’t made any progress in the last year.  How come?

The reason is because the market isn’t supporting absolute sustainability. We know that in the current climate it cannot be profitable to go from one extreme to another with a quick solution. Green fashion is a work in progress, and while 100% sustainability is an excellent goal to work towards, let’s break it down into smaller choices we can each make in the progress toward sustainability.

Natural Fibers

Natural fibers are overall more sustainable options. The best ones are:

  • Cotton
  • Silk
  • Linen
  • Hemp
  • Wool

One thing to remember when selecting clothing made from natural fibers is that they are often created in a manner of ‚Äúcut and sew‚ÄĚ using woven fabrics.¬† Woven fabrics are lacking the versatility of a stretch fabric, making it more of a labor-intensive process to create a properly fitted garment. This is why clothing made from woven fabrics will cost more and take longer to produce.

The benefit to working with woven fabrics is that you can accomplish sophistication in silhouette. The result can look polished, professional, even formal.  The benefit to wearing well-made clothing is you look better. Whether you work in sales or in an office, or are a weekend socialite, a well-dressed professional will be more respected and overall more successful.

Bigger Strides toward Sustainable Options

Organic fabrics:

The popularity of organic cotton has fluctuated, mainly due to the observation that cotton (like most any fabric) is still treated with chemicals in the milling process. There are some who feel it is not worth using because it isn’t 100% sustainable; however, it is my opinion that small steps toward sustainability are always worth taking. The water used to grow the cotton will not be polluted and the people who pick the cotton and work with it in mills will be free of the health risk.  Look for GOT certification when selecting organic fabrics, such as the dress pictured below, available in store at I Love You Bedford.

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Raw Materials:

Silk, wool, mohair and other materials are workable in raw form.  We understand the concept of whole foods, how it is better to buy a whole potato than a bag of chips. Just like with food, the closer you can get to designers working with the raw materials, the bigger the impact it will have on sustainability. For example the wool vests available for purchase on my website were made by hand using the raw materials. An added benefit to purchasing clothing made this way is it is very difficult to copy, ensuring your investment is a valuable original.

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A Sliding Scale

It’s dangerous to look for absolutes when working towards sustainability.  Eco-friendly products have come a long way in other industries: for example look at our current easy access to recycled toilet paper, and our ability to recycle plastic and glass bottles with utmost convenience. We can reduce the harm caused by one of the top culprits currently destroying the earth, not by thinking in absolutes, but by taking small steps. Look for clothing made with 100% natural fibers, pay a better price for them, and don’t give up on organics.  If we were to create a Sustainability scale from 1-10, I would place 100% natural clothing at 5, organic cotton clothing at 6, and handmade clothing from deadstock and/or raw materials as a perfect 10.

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Eco-fashion tips, Uncategorized

The Worst Fabrics for the Environment

We know what we like to wear, but do we know how it’s affecting the environment? Remember, the way we dress today is the Number Two source of pollution worldwide. Let’s see what can be done better by knowing what to avoid.

The Worst Fabrics for the Environment Include:

  • Nylon — When Nylon is made, nitrus oxide is released into the air, a greenhouse gas 310 times more toxic than carbon dioxide. The cooling process of creating this fiber uses an excessive amount of water. It is also not biodegradable.
  • Acrylic — The synthetic material used in sweaters and faux fur is cancer-causing according to the EPA, specifically consisting of polycrylonitriles. It is also not biodegradable.
  • Polyester — Often blended with cotton into tee shirts and stretchy dresses, polyester is made from petrol chemicals, the residue which is absorbed into the skin. Often new garments made from this material give off a toxic odor. It is also not biodegradable.
  • Rayon — Made from wood chips, the creation of this fabric uses an excessive amount of chemicals in the process.
  • Plastics — This one should be obvious but isn’t. If you feel bad about throwing a plastic bottle in the garbage after you drink your Nestle water, then do not buy any clothing or accessories in vinyl, pleather, or otherwise plastic, regardless of how shiny and cool-looking it might be. It can not be recycled, and is destined for¬†a landfill.

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What to Do?

Wear your nylons longer. It’s ok to keep wearing them even after they are torn. ¬†Reuse your old nylons – be creative. They are great as a face mask for a costume. Always buy the best quality you can so they last longer. ¬†The best pair (I’ve had mine for two years without any holes) are Wolford Velvet Deluxe and you can pick up a pair here.¬† Proper care also makes your clothing last longer, the best detergent to use for lingerie and hosiery or just about anything is Forever New. Just 15 mins in the sink and your tights are fresh again!

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Do not buy any more synthetic clothing. ¬†Seeking out alternatives may feel like a difficult task at first, especially when brands make it so enticing to buy cheaply made clothes and it’s so convenient! ¬†But together we must consider what it is doing to the planet and the public health worldwide. Instead of a faux fur jacket full of Nasty toxins, you can order a recycled silk fur piece from I Love You Bedford. There are also many pieces in the store made from Merino Wool sourced sustainably from carefully preserved quality deadstock so there is no need to wear anything acrylic.

Use your old tee shirts as rags for dusting. Give your old clothes to another person you know will wear them, instead of the charities which end up sending most of it to landfills. ¬†Have a trusted tailor keep up your favorite garments with regular repairs. ¬†Check the fabric that clothing is made from before you buy (or accept as a gift for my blogger pals) anything new to make sure it doesn’t have these toxic materials. By avoiding toxic fabrics and caring for our nylons so we can wear them longer, we can ensure the future generations will have cleaner air and water.

 

 

 

 

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