as you know, dear reader, i’ve been working on slowing my roll and making more conscious fashion choices. after watching the documentary the true cost i felt sufficiently inspired (read: riddled with guilt) and determined to find a way out of the fast fashion hole that we’ve all buried ourselves in. it’s encouraging to discover that you don’t have to look very hard anymore for consciously made clothing. “artisan” and “green” have been buzz words for a few years now, and it’s definitely changing the landscape of retail and even big retailers are paying attention.
a word here about the big retailers featured: companies like urban outfitters and especially h&m are certainly guilty of producing clothing that is far from ethically or consciously made. however, they both do carry items that are consciously made. my feeling is that neither of these companies are going anywhere, and by purchasing only items that are labeled “conscious” you are sending a clear, distinct vote to these companies and giving them the message that producing these items will make them a profit. if they see that they are selling clothing that is made fairly and without such a huge environmental impact, they will keep producing it. nothing speaks louder than money. with that said, i put together 20 things, from makeup to underwear to shoes, from high end to very affordable, that are all made with respect for the people making the goods and/or for the environment.
- faircloth and supply is a charitable clothing company started by phoebe dahl (granddaughter of author roald dahl). for every item sold a school uniform is donated to a girl in nepal. all of the pieces are linen, and they have a lovely, elegant, playful look to them. these overalls are seriously darling. on sale for $149.99 via urban outfitters.
- urban outfitters “urban renewal” line of clothing takes vintage pieces and re-purposes them, and the clothing is all produced in philadelphia (subject to us labor laws). i adore this remade ballet rib tank dress. $89.
- cotton basics has been designing, sewing and dying it’s own garments in oakland for more than 30 years. i sort of think of them as the less scandalous american apparel. the quality of their stuff is amazing, and their pieces last forever. this adorable hooded catherine jacket is $66.75.
- reformation is an amazing company that manufactures their clothing in los angeles. they source sustainable fabrics and use vintage garments to make their lines, they use renewable energy in their factory and use 100% recycled packaging to ship their items. they have some pricey pieces (that are gorgeous, by the way) and some affordable pieces like this cute striped dan tee for $28.
- jesse kamm is easily my favorite current designer. the former model started her line in 2005 and sources most of her fabrics from a small mill in japan, and all of her clothing is made in los angeles. i don’t think i need to say again how obsessed i am with her sailor pants. $395.
- while i realize that h&m is the big bad fast fashion company, and that this jumpsuit is by design a big part of that wrongness (as it so completely rips off this isabel marant boiler suit), it is part of their conscious collection. while it’s a lot of charts and graphs and marketing, the basic concept is to use organic cotton and to require factories producing this clothing to pay a “fair living wage”. here is hoping that all of their clothing lives up to these standards in the next couple of years. the jumpsuit is $58, by the way.
- kowtow clothing makes clothing only using 100% fair trade cotton and their factory in india pays a living wage with incredible benefits (including a rent credit, pension, and schooling for their children, to name a few). their pieces have a brilliant, minimal elegance to them like this beautiful uniform dress which is on sale for $101.63.
- womanswork was a finalist for martha stewart’s american made program. they are a woman owned family business that makes gardening gloves designed for women’s hands. my husband got me these leather and canvas gauntlet gloves for my birthday and they are so wonderful. $42.
- fat and the moon produces handcrafted, herbal body care products that are seriously amazing. i’m crazy about this clay idol lip paint, which is an awesome alternative to chemical filled lipsticks. $24.
- straw and gold is a general store type collective for artisans and makers, and all of their products are 100% handmade. they typically feature the most incredible handmade jewelry. my favorites are this mountain necklace by christina nicole ($40), this sustainable 14k gold siren ring by elisha garza jewelry ($45), and most of all this brass & us mined turquoise ring (stamped NM for New Mexico) by knot and splice ($120), which is pretty much my dream ring.
- i started using organic wear’s tinted moisturizer about 15 years ago, when organic skincare was pretty much unheard of. it’s got 100% natural origin and 80% organic ingredients and i love how light it is on my skin. i notice such a difference between this and standard tinted moisturizers or beauty balms. and you can’t beat the $11.95 price.
- brook there‘s garments are designed, cut & sewn in america and they primarily use organic cotton. their lingerie is comfortable and highly cute, like this gingham and black organic lingerie set for $77.
- i have such a girl crush on harper poe and her amazing company, proud mary. proud mary works with artisans from countries like peru, morocco, mexico & different parts of africa to create its line. sadly their beautiful raffia flats are sold out, but there is so much goodness going on in the online shop.
- when i discovered that beautiful clogs were being handcrafted in san francisco, i had to know all about it. every pair of bryr shoes are handcrafted by isobel schofield and her small team in sf. i am completely obsessed with these sofie booties, which i believe to be utter perfection in shoe form, for $240.
- fashionABLE is another amazing company who’s mission is to create sustainable business in africa. they partner with women to help them start small business co-operatives, and they require manufacturers to employ women with fair wages & fair hiring practices. their leather goods are so lovely, like this heta wallet for $68.
- sustainably made sunglasses seems like an impossible thing, but proof eyewear has it covered. i heart these hayburn wood shades for $120, handmade from sustainably sourced wood.
- despite all of the scandal over the past few years, i have to wonder where we would be without american apparel. they really did get the party started, and they are still the largest manufacturer of clothing in the united states. and winter just wouldn’t be the same without their recycled yarn boot socks ($14).
- last but not least is osborn shoes, a husband and wife, brooklyn based team that works collaboratively with fair trade weaving cooperatives to make their gorgeous, handmade shoes. i’ve been dreaming about these hala huipil flats for months ($145).