How to Throw a Zero Waste, Socially Distanced Party

posted in holidays, low waste

If you look up anything about having a socially distant, covid-safe party, there’s plastic everywhere. So when planning a small gathering for my daughter’s birthday I wanted to see if I could keep it plastic free. Here’s what I learned and some tips for hosting a safe, socially distanced, and low waste party! (These are my suggestions but make sure to only do what you’re comfortable with, the risks vary greatly depending where you live and your personal situation so these ideas might not work for everyone)

Keep it Small & Simple

Small is pretty obvious, the fewer people the less risk of infection and also the less you will need. Try to not see it as a negative, but instead embrace the intimate nature of a small gathering.

Also keep it simple! A few snacks and drinks, afternoon cake, or ordering pizzas are all great. The important thing is spending time together, the elaborate table spreads and platters can wait.

Hosting outdoors is safest and you’ll want to choose an area where you can space out chairs, picnic blankets or other seating.

Small, outdoor party in the evening

Clearly Communicate

It will work best and go smoothest if everyone knows what to expect.

Let your guests know if the party will be indoors or outdoors so they can dress appropriately and come prepared. It’s also nice to let everyone know how many are coming so you can make sure they are comfortable being around that many people. If guests are expected to wear masks or you don’t want people going inside to use the bathroom make sure everyone knows beforehand and can plan accordingly. Also include with the invite if people should bring chairs, their own cups, etc.

When guests arrive let them know where they can sit and also if there are any other things they should know about.

BYO…

One of the best ways to keep things hygienic is have your guests bring their own stuff.

You can have people bring everything including their own food, or if you want to serve food (see some ideas below) then maybe have guests bring their own plates, cutlery, cups, etc. or maybe just have people bring their own chairs. However you want to manage it, don’t be afraid to ask your guests to bring things!

Food & Drink Ideas

Here is where most of the plastic comes from as you want everything individually portioned. Gone are the easy zero waste cheese, fruit, and charcuterie boards, and definitely avoid anything the involves people touching the same knife, handles, bottles, etc.

Also serving food that people can easily eat with their hands and a napkin or small plate are often best when you don’t have everyone seated at a table.

Here are some ideas of plastic-free food and snacks you can serve where most of the ingredients can be bought in bulk, without packaging, or with plastic free packaging:

  • Popcorn in individual paper bags or little bowls
  • Bake cupcakes with compostable wrappers (helpful guide to zero waste baking)
  • Homemade cookies
  • Naturally wrapped fruit such as mandarins and bananas
  • Homemade fruit popsicles
  • BBQ corn on the cob
  • BBQ veggie skewers
  • Ordering pizza can also be an option if you know of a local pizza place that deliver plastic-free and you can compost the boxes
Plastic-free party food ideas

Drinks are a bit trickier to avoid waste as you don’t want people touching the same pitchers and bottles. Either have drinks in recyclable glass bottles or cans (and support local breweries/drink companies if you can!), or have people bring their own drinks or water bottles.

Food Prep & Serving

It’s of course best to make sure whoever is preparing the food regularly cleans their hands and wears a mask while preparing and plating the party food.

You can space the food out on a serving plate for easy, minimal-contact grabbing or even better, set up multiple serving plates around the space. You can also pre-make individual plates if you think that would work well, but this can also increase food waste.

Decorations

For zero waste decorations, I think going natural is always lovely. Depending on the season you can decorate with flowers from local farms, squash and leaves in autumn, or pine branches and holly in winter.

Zero waste natural decorations

Candles are always loves for ambience. Some DIY bunting using scrap fabric or paper is also a great re-useable option and adds a special charm for birthdays.

You can also often find themed decorations, candles, lights, decorative serving platters, and party supplies secondhand at thrift stores and through “buy nothing groups”.

Also set up a…

Sanitation Station

It’s best if there’s an easy and obvious place for people to sanitize their hands. Set-up a pump or spray bottle of sanitizer for guests to use when coming into the party and during the event.

You might want to also set one up by the door, bathroom, or anywhere people will be touching handles or the same items.

Green tip: Many distilleries are now selling cans of sanitizer which you can use to refill your bottles and avoid more plastic!

Compost & Dirty Dishes Bin

Label a bucket for guests to put any paper, food scraps or compost.

If you’re using dishes, cutlery and cups it can be helpful to have a large bucket or bin where people can put their used items, and you can add hot water and soap after the party for easy cleanup.


Those are my socially-distanced and low waste party tips and please share yours in the comments too!

๐Ÿ’š

What Your Unworn Clothes Can Teach You About Personal Style

posted in shopping tips, style

Those unworn clothes hiding in your closet? They can teach you A TON about your personal style and what types of clothing actually work for you.

Many women around the world only wear about 20-35% of their wardrobe (but believe it’s a lot higher). This discrepancy has a lot to do with our aesthetic and perceived style vs. our lifestyle and practical style – how we think we would like to dress, vs what we actually end up wearing day-to-day. Having a better understanding of this difference can not only allow you to shop smarter and buy clothes you will definitely use, but it can also help you figure out how to showcase your style preferences in your everyday outfits, or help find your personal style if you’re feeling a little lost with it.

What your Unworn Clothes are Telling You

It’s Not Functional for Your Lifestyle

This is one of the top issues I saw while working as a personal shopper and stylist – people buy clothes they love but don’t actually work well for their life.

I used to do this all the time – I love dresses and would buy fancy ones for all the imagined brunches and cocktail parties I was going to attend which never actually happened (I maybe have a handful of dressy events a year). It’s very easy to dress our “dream selves” instead of our more realistic selves. However it’s important to focus on what you actually wear the most and build your wardrobe around that.

This can also happen if there is a significant change in your life, maybe you switched jobs, graduated from school, had a child, took up a new hobby, etc. There are many life phases that require different clothing, so while you had pieces that worked before, they might not be right for you anymore.

Your lifestyle is an incredibly important aspect of personal style because no matter how much you love the style and look of something, if it doesn’t work for your life then it’s just going to be a waste of money and collect dust. I talk more about the role of lifestyle in finding your personal style in this video!

Something is Off

I think we’ve all owned pieces that just aren’t quite right.

Whether it’s too tight or loose, twists or rides up, or the colour just doesn’t make you feel good, no matter how you try it’s simply not a piece that’s easy or enjoyable to wear. These are the ones that typically only come out when everything else is in the laundry.

Make note of what in particular you don’t like or doesn’t quite work. Unless we’re aware of what exactly the problem is it’s easy to repeat these mistakes, so be mindful of avoiding the same issues when acquiring any new pieces.

It Doesn’t Work with the Rest of Your Wardrobe

This is another common problem, we have items we really like but they never go with anything and therefore always sit it our closet.

If you follow me you know that I think a capsule wardrobe is an incredible tool to build a wardrobe where everything works well together, however if you don’t want to commit to a minimalist wardrobe you can still take a lot of ideas and inspiration from the capsule concept to give yourself lots of outfit options.

I usually never recommend buying more clothing and accessories just to make certain pieces in your wardrobe work, so often these items are best to let go of, however if you really love the garment and adding one or two more items could make it much more wearable and those items can be worn with many other pieces then it might be worth keeping it.

There’s a Similar But Better Option

A typical wardrobe will have similar items and pieces that serve the same role or function. It becomes an issue when we either have too many of the same type of item or some that are more comfortable, fit better, or are more versatile than others.

Take a look at how many items serve a certain function in your wardrobe – which ones are worn and which aren’t? This is a great opportunity to understand some less obvious clothing preferences you may have. Maybe differences like the feel of fabrics, certain details, colours, or construction elements have you reaching for one over the other. Make note of these more subtle things you like and dislike.

Your Style Has Changed

As mentioned, your lifestyle can change which affects your wardrobe and style, but your aesthetic can also shift and change.

Looking at your unworn clothes is an opportunity to assess and redefine your personal style. Take some time to think about what styles and pieces you feel your best in and compare those to the unworn garments. You might also want to look for some outfit and style inspiration and consider how your current wardrobe fits with the styles you like.

Your Body Has Changed

This is normal and our wardrobes shift along with our bodies as we move through life.

If your body fluctuates a lot, look at which clothes you’ve been able to wear through body changes – often prioritizing adjustable and stretchy garments helps.

It’s also up to you whether you want to hang on to pieces that no longer fit – some people prefer to pass them on as they bring up negative emotions, but if you decide to hang on to them I think it’s always good to pack them away for a while so your working with a wardrobe of clothes that fit and you can actually wear.


Let Go of Guilt

Often looking at what we don’t wear comes with a lot of guilty feelings – we feel bad about the money we spent, maybe some items were gifts, or maybe we just feel guilty they aren’t getting worn. Guilt is normal, but try to refocus it into learning and lessons you can take away. The clothes we don’t wear can teach us a lot about ourselves, help us not make the same mistakes, and give us a path to build a wardrobe that works best for our style, body, and life! Try to let go of the guilt and instead focus on the things you can learn and apply to your wardrobe and future clothing purchases. ๐Ÿ™‚


If you’re interested in learning more and some activities to help you analyze your wardrobe, find your personal style, and curate a more conscious closet check out my ebook Quit Fast Fashion & Build Your Conscious Closet.


๐Ÿ’š

Why You Should Join a Local Freecycle Group (or How to Start One)!

posted in home, low waste


Have you heard of Freecycle/Buy Nothing groups?

They are an amazing way to get things you need (for free!) and easily pass on items you no longer need to people who can use them. It’s incredibly sustainable and budget friendly, plus I love that they are growing in popularity as they get even better with more people taking part! So here are some of my tips for finding and participating in these groups as well as how to start one if there isn’t a good one in your area.

But what are they exactly?

Freecycle or buy nothing groups are a way for communities to share and create gift economies. Too many people have stuff sitting around they don’t need or no longer use while others might be looking for those exact products, these groups create that link!

People list items they have or are looking for and connect with others who need or have that item to give. It’s that simple!


How to Find & Use Freecycle Groups

Where to Find Them

I’ve found Facebook to be the best place to find and use these groups. They can go by different names so try searching “freecycle”, “free”, “buy nothing”, “upcycling”, or any other words that makes sense in your language or area, along with your city and/or neighborhood (the groups have different geographical scopes). You can also try looking for barter or swap groups but these will have more requirements for getting and giving stuff.

Additionally there are groups focused on more specific products such as tool sharing, sports equipment, or children’s items, so also try those terms if there are areas you’re more interested in.

Also check out Buy Nothing Project’s group listings and Freecycle.org.

How to Join

Most groups will have rules and requirements, be sure to read these carefully and follow them! Be aware that some groups require posting an item before you are allowed to receive anything and many groups are focused on a specific neighborhood, so make sure you live within the boundaries.

Tips for Posting an Item or ISO

It’s most helpful to be as clear and concise as possible with listing any items to give or ISO (in search of) posts.

  1. Follow any group posting requirements.
  2. Photos are always helpful.
  3. Mention the condition of the item and if there is anything the person should be aware of.
  4. Most people want to know if there was smoking or pets around the item – I’ve often seen this listed as SF (smoke free) or it will say “from a cat-friendly/dog-friendly home” if there are pets.
  5. Include if the item is pick-up only or possibility of deliver and roughly where you are located.
  6. It’s helpful to include how you will select someone if there is a lot of interest – random, first response, best fit for pickup (have people say when they can come get it) etc. Some groups will also have rules around how to choose people.
  7. If you are listing multiple items include if you would like everything picked up together or will give items separately.

For ISOs you don’t have to just post about a specific product eg. “I need a can opener”, you can also make general inquiries and see what people have eg. “looking to fix up the yard and for gardening supplies”. If you are open and flexible, I’ve actually seen some very creative solutions and exchanges come from ISO posts.

Pick-up or Give Safely

One benefit of freecycle groups vs. buying/selling secondhand items is you can totally avoid coming in contact with the other person.

Since we are living in a pandemic it’s of course prudent to wash and sanitize your hands and wipe down the item after picking up, and if you will be close to or coming in contact with anyone, wear a mask!

The method I prefer is porch or front door pickup – the giver will leave the item in a designated spot, usually on front steps or in the front vestibule of an apartment building, and the receiver can go pick it up at the arranged time.

Like with buying items secondhand, it’s important to exchange in a safe situation – only arrange to meet or pickup in open areas and during the day; if I’m doing a front door pickup, I’ll look a the address on google maps to see what the front of the house/apartment and street looks like and make sure I feel okay picking up there. If you do feel unsure or uncomfortable, bring someone else along or arrange an exchange you are more comfortable with.

How to Start a Freecycle Group

No group in your area? Why not start one! It only takes a little work to set up and after it’s running you can ask for volunteers to help with admin and moderation.

What to decide about your group:

  • What area do you want to include? Your whole city, a part of the city/few neighborhoods, or just your immediate neighborhood?
  • Is it going to be open or focused on specific things? eg. children’s items
  • What rules do you want to have? Check out other groups for examples of rules, and some good things to include in your rules are:
    • Items must be 100% free, no selling, trading/bartering or “strings attached”
    • Age minimum for members
    • If there are any things people can’t post, for example some groups allow the sharing of free services, some are items only
    • Member must participate as themselves ie. no business accounts on FB
    • Members must be respectful to each other and use appropriate language or can be removed
    • Only PM the person posting when requested by that person
    • Posts must be offers or ISOs, do not use the group for other purposes
  • Decide if you want to require members to list an item before being able to receive anything and how you’d like to track that.

You can also start your own Buy Nothing group though the Buy Nothing Project. The have tools to help you set up the group, rules to use and follow, and will list your group.

After you set up your group it’s time to get members! A good place to start is by asking friends, family, and neighbors to join and help spread the word. You can also reach out to other community organizations or local, community-focused businesses to see if they will help you share the group.



I love being part of these groups. Not only have I been able to pass on some things we no longer use but we’ve also saved a bunch of money and scored some great items, my favorite so far is a small pool which Baby B has been so thrilled to splash in this summer.

If you have things to get rid of or are in need of certain items then I would highly encourage you to join or start a freecycle/buy nothing group. It’s not only wonderfully sustainable, but also a great way to support and connect with your community, and of course you can save a lot of money!

Are you a member of freecycle/buy nothing groups? Do you have any more tips to share?

Also check out my post about how we managed to furnish (almost) our entire home with secondhand items!

๐Ÿ’š

Images from Unsplash.

Sustainable Shoes for All Your Needs

posted in brand roundups

Footwear is difficult when it comes to sustainability since there are so many different materials and components needed to make shoes. While, like with anything, there are no “perfect” sustainable shoes there are some brands working to improve the industry and worth supporting!

For this roundup I compiled footwear brands who take a more conscious approach but with different areas of focus – there are vegan options, leather options, completely natural and plastic-free shoes, as well as brands using everything from innovative techniques and materials like pinatex, apple leather, and 3D knit recycled plastics, to traditional artisan techniques and materials like vegetable-tanned leather, handwoven grasses, and block-printed cotton. Some brands also have a stronger focus on ethical manufacturing, supporting communities, and artisan partnerships. Ultimately though I hope there is something to fit everyone’s style and values!

Like with all my brand roundups there are North American, European, and some Australian options – plus this one also has more international brands!

Quick-Reference Symbols

๐Ÿฐ – Vegan
๐Ÿ„ – Leather
๐ŸŒฟ – Natural Materials
โ™ป๏ธ – Recycled Materials
๐Ÿค – Fair Trade Certified Materials and/or Production
๐Ÿ’š – A brand I personally own

Jump to…

(please note: some affiliate links are used in this roundup)

Sneakers & Runners

Ahimsa – ๐Ÿฐ Large variety of vegan shoes made from PU leathers. Based in Brazil, ships international.

AKS – ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿค Hand-embroidered, organic cotton, hi and lo cut sneakers with natural rubber soles. Based in USA, ships within USA.

Allbirds – ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿ’š Natural everyday sneakers (and one of only a few brands who makes running shoes – their “Dashers”) made from wool and/or Tencel with bio-based and recycled components. Stores in USA, Canada, UK, EU, NZ, Australia, China, and Japan.

Ethletic – ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿค Vegan brand making everyday sneakers, trainers, and “Converse-style” shoes from fair trade certified organic cotton and natural rubber. Based in Germany, ships within EU, UK, and to USA.

Etiko – ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿค (right) Vegan sneakers made from organic cotton and natural rubber. Based in Australia, ships international.

Lunge – ๐Ÿฐโ™ป๏ธ Vegan running and walking shoes made in Germany with some recycled materials. Based in Germany, ships within Europe.

Nae – ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŒฟโ™ป๏ธ๐Ÿ’š Large variety of vegan shoes made from PU leathers, recycled and/or natural materials like cork, pinatex, and organic cotton. Based in Portugal, ships international.

Po-Zu – ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿ„๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿค Everyday sneakers and hi-tops made from a variety of natural materials including linen, pinatex, organic cotton, cork, wool, and fair trade natural rubber, as well as some chrome-free leather and vegan leather options. They also have a Star Wars collaboration! Based in UK, ships international.

Rothy’s – โ™ป๏ธ 3D knit shoes made from recycled water bottles and ocean plastic. Shoes styles also contain vegan leather, leather, wool, and/or bio-based components. Based in USA, ships international.

SoleRebels – ๐ŸŒฟโ™ป๏ธ Casual shoes made from hand loomed fabrics, mainly cotton and natural materials used with recycled tire soles. Some leather components and vegan options. Based in Ethiopia, ships international (many countries duty free).

Thousand Fell – ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŒฟโ™ป๏ธ White sneakers and slip-ons made from innovative sustainable materials and designed for closed-loop circularity with a recycling program. Based in USA, ships to US & Canada.

Veja – ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿ„โ™ป๏ธ Sneakers and runners in both leather and vegan leather, as well as some cotton canvas and recycled plastic options. Based in France, ships international.
๐Ÿšฉ Note: My husband used to own a pair and we were unfortunately not happy with the quality, but I know others who have had good experiences with Veja.

Wildling – ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŒฟ Barefoot shoes made from a variety of materials, many sustainable and natural, and with some vegan options. Based in Germany, ships international.

Will’s Vegan – ๐Ÿฐ Sneakers and walking/hiking shoes made in Europe from mainly bio-oil derived vegan leather. Based in UK, ships international.

Womsh – ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿ„ Sneakers made in Italy from either heavy-metal-free leather or vegan “apple leather” with some recycled components. Based in Italy, ships international.

My Allbirds Tree Dashers – they are super comfy!


Boots

Ahimsa – ๐Ÿฐ Large variety of vegan shoes made from PU leathers. Based in Brazil, ships international.

Alice + Whittles – ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŒฟโ™ป๏ธ๐Ÿค๐Ÿ’š Plastic-free rain boots and hiking/walking boots primarily made from fair trade natural rubber. Based in USA, ships international to select countries.

BHAVA – ๐Ÿฐ (right) Stylish vegan leather shoes with natural components/accents like wooden heels and some interchangeable designs. They also have actual winter boots! Based in USA, ships international.

Christy Dawn – ๐Ÿ„โ™ป๏ธ Lace-up boots made in LA from upcycled leather. Based in USA, ships international.

Fortress of Inca – ๐Ÿ„ Leather shoes made by artisans in Peru. Based in USA, ships international.

Nae – ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŒฟโ™ป๏ธ๐Ÿ’š Large variety of vegan shoes made from PU leathers, recycled and/or natural materials like cork, pinatex, and organic cotton. Based in Portugal, ships international.

Nisolo – ๐Ÿ„ Leather shoes. While Nisolo doesn’t have a strong sustainability focus they are very transparent about their wages and manufacturing. Based in USA, ships only within USA.

Swedish Hasbeens – ๐Ÿ„๐ŸŒฟ Platform and heeled boots made from vegetable-tanned leather with carved wooden or natural rubber soles. Made by artisans in Europe. Based in Sweden, ships international.

The Root Collective – ๐Ÿ„ Boots made from leather and handwoven fabrics made by artisans in Guatemala. Based in USA, ships international.

Will’s Vegan – ๐Ÿฐ Casual, heeled, insulated, and hiking boots made in Europe from mainly bio-oil derived vegan leather. Based in UK, ships international.

Alice + Whittles natural rubber ankle rain boots in mustard
My Alice + Whittles boots have held up great in the rainy weather!


Flats

Ahimsa – ๐Ÿฐ Large variety of vegan shoes made from PU leathers. Based in Brazil, ships international.

Allbirds – ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿ’š Knit ballet flat and slip on styles made from wool and/or Tencel with bio-based and recycled components. Stores in USA, Canada, UK, EU, NZ, Australia, China, and Japan.

BHAVA – ๐Ÿฐ Stylish vegan leather shoes with natural components/accents like wooden heels and some interchangeable designs. Based in USA, ships international.

CANO – ๐Ÿ„ Shoes handwoven and handcrafted by Mexican artisans from vegetable-tanned leather, with natural rubber and upcycled tire soles. Based in Germany, ships international, or shop from the US here.

Darzah – ๐Ÿ„๐Ÿค (right) Leather sandals, slides, and flats hand-embroidered by women artisans in Palestine, Darzah is a non-profit and is fair trade certified. Based in USA, ships international.

Fortress of Inca – ๐Ÿ„ Leather shoes made by artisans in Peru. Based in USA, ships international.

Funky Kalakar – ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŒฟโ™ป๏ธ Vegan artisan brand with a circularity model using vegan leather, cotton and recycled materials. Based in India, ships international.

Nae – ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŒฟโ™ป๏ธ๐Ÿ’š Large variety of vegan shoes made from PU leathers, recycled and/or natural materials like cork, pinatex, and organic cotton. Based in Portugal, ships international.

Rothy’s – โ™ป๏ธ (right) 3D knit shoes made from recycled water bottles and ocean plastic. Shoe styles also contain vegan leather, leather, wool, and/or bio-based components. Based in USA, ships international.

SoleRebels – ๐ŸŒฟโ™ป๏ธ Casual shoes made from hand loomed fabrics, mainly cotton and natural materials used with recycled tire soles. Some leather and vegan options. Based in Ethiopia, ships international (many countries duty free).

The Root Collective – ๐Ÿ„ Flats made from leather and handwoven fabrics made by artisans in Guatemala. Based in USA, ships international.

Veerah – ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿ’š Dressy flats made from vegan “apple leather” and a combination of bio-based, natural, and recycled materials. Their designs have interchangeable accessories for different looks. Based in USA, ships international.

Will’s Vegan – ๐Ÿฐ Casual and dressy flats made in Europe from mainly bio-oil derived vegan leather. Based in UK, ships international.


Heels

Ahimsa – ๐Ÿฐ Large variety of vegan shoes made from PU leathers. Based in Brazil, ships international.

BHAVA – ๐Ÿฐ Stylish vegan leather shoes with natural components/accents like wooden heels and some interchangeable designs. Based in USA, ships international.

Brother Vellies – ๐Ÿ„ Heels made from vegetable tanned leather with some sustainable components like recycled tire soles by artisans around the globe. Based in USA, ships international.

Jo-Anne Vernay – ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŒฟ Vegan heels made in Italy from Pinatex, wood, and cotton. Based in USA, ships within USA.

Nae – ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŒฟโ™ป๏ธ๐Ÿ’š Large variety of vegan shoes made from PU leathers, recycled and/or natural materials like cork, pinatex, and organic cotton. Based in Portugal, ships international.

Veerah – ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿ’š Various heel styles and heights made from vegan “apple leather” and a combination of bio-based, natural, and recycled materials. Their designs have interchangeable accessories for different looks. Based in USA, ships international.

Will’s Vegan – ๐Ÿฐ Classic pumps made in Europe from mainly bio-oil derived vegan leather. Based in UK, ships international.

Veerah heels with some of their detachable accessories


Sandals

Ahimsa – ๐Ÿฐ Large variety of vegan shoes made from PU leathers. Based in Brazil, ships international.

BHAVA – ๐Ÿฐ Stylish vegan leather shoes with natural components/accents like wooden heels and some interchangeable designs. Based in USA, ships international.

Brave Soles – ๐Ÿ„โ™ป๏ธ Sandals and slides made by artisans in the Dominican Republic from leather and recycled tires. Based in Canada, ships international.

Brother Vellies – ๐Ÿ„ Heels made from vegetable tanned leather with some sustainable components like recycled tire soles by artisans around the globe. Based in USA, ships international.

CANO – ๐Ÿ„ (right) Shoes handwoven and handcrafted by Mexican artisans from vegetable-tanned leather, with natural rubber and upcycled tire soles. Based in Germany, ships international, or shop from the US here.

Christy Dawn – ๐Ÿ„โ™ป๏ธ Sandals made in LA from upcycled leather. Based in USA, ships international.

Darzah – ๐Ÿ„๐Ÿค Leather sandals, slides, and flats hand-embroidered by women artisans in Palestine, Darzah is a non-profit and is fair trade certified. Based in USA, ships international.

Deux Mains – ๐Ÿ„โ™ป๏ธ Leather sandals and slides with recycled tire soles made by artisans in Haiti. Based in USA, ships international.

Etiko – ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿค Vegan thongs/flip flops made from organic cotton and natural rubber. Based in Australia, ships international.

Fortress of Inca – ๐Ÿ„ Leather shoes made by artisans in Peru. Based in USA, ships international.

Indosole – ๐Ÿฐโ™ป๏ธ Flip flops and slides made with natural rubber and recycled tire soles. Based in USA, ships international.

Nae – ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŒฟโ™ป๏ธ๐Ÿ’š (right) Large variety of vegan shoes made from PU leathers, recycled and/or natural materials like cork, pinatex, and organic cotton. Based in Portugal, ships international.

Nisolo – ๐Ÿ„ Leather sandals. While Nisolo doesn’t have a strong sustainability focus they are very transparent about their wages and manufacturing. Based in USA, ships only within USA.

Proud Mary – ๐Ÿ„๐ŸŒฟ Sandals and slides handmade by Moroccan artisans from raffia (a type of grass) with leather soles. Based in USA, ships international to select countries.

Rothy’s – โ™ป๏ธ 3D knit shoes made from recycled water bottles and ocean plastic. Shoe styles also contain vegan leather, leather, wool, and/or bio-based components. Based in USA, ships international.

Swedish Hasbeens – ๐Ÿ„๐ŸŒฟ Platform and heeled sandals and clogs made from vegetable-tanned leather with carved wooden soles. Made by artisans in Europe. Based in Sweden, ships international.

I wear my Nae cork sandals almost every day during the summer!


Unisex & Men’s Shoes

Ahimsa – ๐Ÿฐ (right) Large variety of vegan shoes made from PU leathers. Based in Brazil, ships international.

AKS – ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿค Hand-embroidered, organic cotton, hi and lo cut sneakers with natural rubber soles. Based in USA, ships within USA.

Allbirds – ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿ’š Natural knit everyday shoes, sneakers, and running shoes (“Dashers”) made from wool and/or Tencel with bio-based and recycled components. Stores in USA, Canada, UK, EU, NZ, Australia, China, and Japan.

CANO – ๐Ÿ„ Shoes handwoven and handcrafted by Mexican artisans from vegetable-tanned leather, with natural rubber and upcycled tire soles. Based in Germany, ships international, or shop from the US here.

Ethletic – ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿค Everyday sneakers, trainers, and “Converse-style” shoes made from fair trade certified organic cotton and natural rubber. Based in Germany, ships within EU, UK, and to USA

Etiko – ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿค Vegan sneakers and sandals made from organic cotton and natural rubber. Based in Australia, ships international.

Funky Kalakar – ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŒฟโ™ป๏ธ Vegan artisan brand with a circularity model using vegan leather, cotton and recycled materials. Based in India, ships international.

Indosole – ๐Ÿฐโ™ป๏ธ Flip flops and slides made with natural rubber and recycled tire soles. Based in USA, ships international.

Lunge – ๐Ÿฐโ™ป๏ธ Vegan running and walking shoes made in Germany with some recycled materials. Based in Germany, ships within Europe.

Nae – ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŒฟโ™ป๏ธ๐Ÿ’š Large variety of vegan shoes made from PU leathers, recycled and/or natural materials like cork, pinatex, and organic cotton. Based in Portugal, ships international.

Nisolo – ๐Ÿ„ Leather sneakers, slip-ons, and boots. While Nisolo doesn’t have a strong sustainability focus they are very transparent about their wages and manufacturing. Based in USA, ships only within USA.

Po-Zu – ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿ„๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿค (right) Everyday sneakers and hi-tops made from a variety of natural materials including linen, pinatex, organic cotton, cork, wool, and fair trade natural rubber, as well as some chrome-free leather and vegan leather options. They also have a Star Wars collaboration! Based in UK, ships international.

SoleRebels – ๐ŸŒฟโ™ป๏ธ Casual shoes made from hand loomed fabrics, mainly cotton and natural materials used with recycled tire soles. Some leather and vegan options. Based in Ethiopia, ships international (many countries duty free).

Thousand Fell – ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŒฟโ™ป๏ธ White sneakers and slip-ons made from innovative sustainable materials and designed for closed-loop circularity with a recycling program. Based in USA, ships to US & Canada.

Veja – ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿ„โ™ป๏ธ Sneakers and runners in both leather and vegan leather, as well as some cotton canvas and recycled plastic options. Based in France, ships international.
๐Ÿšฉ Note: My husband used to own a pair and we were unfortunately not happy with the quality, but I know others who have had good experiences with Veja.

Wildling – ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŒฟ Barefoot shoes made from a variety of materials, many sustainable and natural, and with some vegan options. Based in Germany, ships international.

Will’s Vegan – ๐Ÿฐ Casual and dress shoes made in Europe from mainly bio-oil derived vegan leather. Based in UK, ships international.

Womsh – ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿ„ Sneakers made in Italy from either heavy-metal-free leather or vegan “apple leather” with some recycled components. Based in Italy, ships international.

Men’s shoes from Nisolo


Children’s Shoes

Etiko – ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿค Vegan sneakers made from organic cotton and natural rubber. Based in Australia, ships international.

Indosole – ๐Ÿฐโ™ป๏ธ Flip flops and slides made with natural rubber and recycled tire soles. Based in USA, ships international.

Nooks Design – ๐Ÿ„๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿค (right) Baby/toddler boots and shoes made from wool and leather in a Fair Trade Certified factory in Nepal. Based in Canada, ships international.

Rothy’s – โ™ป๏ธ 3D knit shoes made from recycled water bottles and ocean plastic. Shoe styles also contain vegan leather, leather, wool, and/or bio-based components. Based in USA, ships international.

Soft Soul – ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŒฟ Baby/toddler slippers made in Canada from cork and vegan sustainable materials. Based in Canada, ships international.

Veja – ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿ„โ™ป๏ธ Sneakers and runners in both leather and vegan leather, as well as some cotton canvas and recycled plastic options. Based in France, ships international.
๐Ÿšฉ Note: My husband used to own a pair and we were unfortunately not happy with the quality, but I know others who have had good experiences with Veja.

Wildling – ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŒฟ Barefoot shoes made from a variety of materials, many sustainable and natural, and with some vegan options. Based in Germany, ships international.


Online Stores with Multiple Shoe Brands

Avesu – Vegan shoe store with a large selection of vegan brands. Based in Germany, ships international to select countries.

DoneGood – A curated ethical and sustainable marketplace with many of the shoe brands listed and more! Based in USA, ships from many locations.

Made Trade – Large selection of artisan, fairly-made shoes. Most made from leather. Based in the USA, ships international.

Ocelot Market – Variety of artisan made shoe styles, most from leather. Artisan marketplace which ships from many locations.




Are there shoe brands I missed? Please share them in the comments!

๐Ÿ’š

Is your Makeup Actually Cruelty Free? Beauty Brands who use Ethical Mica

posted in makeup

Mica is incredibly common – if you check your makeup products you will likely find it listed as an ingredient in most of them (it can also be labelled as CI 77019). Mica is a mineral that gives us glowing highlights, shiny lips, and glittery eyes. It’s also unfortunately an ingredient with ethical issues, child labour, and human rights abuses.

After learning more about mica I started looking for info about where brands were getting theirs, it was incredibly disappointing to see so many brands who market themselves as “cruelty free” having zero transparency about their mica sourcing. Why is this something so many beauty brands seem to be ignoring or trying to sweep under the rug?

So I’ve done some digging (no pun intended) and put together a list of cruelty free makeup brands that also have ethical mica.

But first, what is Mica and why is it bad?

Mica is group of shimmery minerals which are obtained through mining and the industry has a huge child labour problem. Children are unfortunately especially suited to mica mining as they can easily maneuver through the narrow mines and reach small spaces. It’s also extremely dangerous, according to SOMO’s mica mining report, “of all forms of hazardous work, mining is by far the most mortally dangerous sector for children”.

I highly recommend watching this short documentary to get a good overview of the child labour issues with mica:


Also, while I know the term “cruelty free” is used in regards to animal testing, it does feel incredibly hypocritical to call yourself a proud cruelty free brand while having dangerous and unethical child labour in your supply chain. ๐Ÿค”


Ethical Mica

So far the brands who are actually addressing the issue seem to be taking two different routes – some are using synthetic mica created in a lab (also called synthetic fluorphlogopite) while others are trying to ethically and transparently source their mica. While I think both approaches have pros and cons, I definitely think it’s something brands need to be taking action on and looking into their supply chain!

Can you avoid mica by sticking to matte products?

This was one of my first thoughts, but unfortunately no. Even though mica is best known for adding shimmer, it’s also used to colour matte products as well. There are some mica-free products, but generally they’re difficult to find.

FYI – while mica is the base material, it’s actually coated in oxides to achieve the different colours, for makeup titanium dioxide (CI 77891) is most commonly used but I’ve often seen iron oxides used as well.

Are there certifications to look for?

One issue with trying to find ethical mica is there isn’t a third party certification or regulatory body to audit and oversee suppliers. The Responsible Mica Initiative is an organization set up to help monitor and improve child labour and poor working conditions however they rely on “voluntary collaboration” and don’t perform audits.

Unfortunately in almost all cases we have to take the brand’s word that their mica is mined fairly and without child labour. There definitely is some trust involved.

While we can’t be 100% certain, I would like to believe the following brands I’ve researched do care and are honest about their mica sourcing…


Makeup Brands who are Cruelty Free AND use Ethically-Sourced or Synthetic Mica

(note: some affiliate links are used in this list)
Pure Anada mineral pressed eyeshadow with child labour free mica

Pure Anada

A Canadian natural cosmetics and skincare line.

What they say: “Our Mica supplier ensures that their product is mined ethically in India without the use of child labour.  They own their own mines, fund schools and daycare centers so that the quality of life for their employees is fair.”

๐Ÿ‘ I really appreciate that this information is included and easily found in their “about” section unlike many other brands where it can be quite hard to find or not publicly available at all.

LUSH

A bath, body, and beauty company who is vocal about mica issues and uses synthetic mica.

Dr. Hauschka

A large natural beauty and skincare brand.

I couldn’t find anything on their website, but after reaching out they sent me a statement from their head company (WALA Heilmittel GmbH) which includes this: “Due to close co-operation with the local authorities, a better co-operation with the miners and regular and unannounced on-site audits, our supplier can guarantee, since the middle of 2011, that all mica retrieved by them from India is free of child labour.”

The rep also said that they were in the process of re-doing their website which is why I couldn’t find this info publicly.

Au Naturale creme highlighter in "rose gold" with child labor free mica

Au Naturale

A “clean beauty” cosmetics line.

What they say: “our micas are child labor free – mined, processed and distributed sustainably world wide. We take a purists stance when it comes to color – refusing to partake in unethical sourcing practices that are harmful to people, animals or the environment”

And on a mica blog post they say “Because our suppliers own their supply chain from harvesting to processing and distribution, we can assure only the highest quality micas, mined without the use of child labor, are used in our formulations”

Aether Beauty

Vegan “clean beauty” brand which uses both natural and synthetic mica.

They have a whole blog post about mica in makeup. Pertaining to their own use they say: “When we use natural mica, we source only from suppliers in the US or Malaysia. These areas have (and enforce) ethical labor standards which prevent the use of child labor. We avoid all mica from India or Madagascar where labor standards are unregulated and child labor is rampant. We choose synthetic mica when we canโ€™t vet and guarantee that the source of our mica is child-labor-free.”

๐Ÿšฉ I want to note that the SOMO report does list Malaysia as a “high risk” country “suspected of illegal mining” so the part of their statement about Malaysia enforcing ethical standards doesn’t seem accurate.

Red Apple Lipstick Eyeshadow with ethically sourced mica

Red Apple Lipstick

A gluten free, vegan, natural beauty brand (not just lipstick).

I couldn’t find anything on their website, but when I reached out to them they said: “we source all of our ingredients from the United States, a few from Europe and some others from Canada. All of which we make sure do not involve child labor, and that workers are paid fairly.” Specifically about their mica they said, “We source all of our mica from the US from privately owned mines. This allows us to be assured that child-labor is never used, and that miners are paid fairly + treated very well.”

Inika

A natural and organic beauty and skincare brand.

What they say: “Our suppliers work within the Ethical Trade Initiative and do not employ child labour in the mining and processing of their products. Our suppliers have been carefully selected with their guarantee that they work within the Ethical Trade Initiative, from regions where ethical business practices are transparent and do not employ child labour.”

Fat and the Moon

I couldn’t find anything on their website, but when I reached out to them they said they use synthetic mica.

From a DM: “The mica that we use is lab-created, not mined. We know about the horrendous circumstances in which mined mica is a result and do not support those practices. The mica that we use is made of natural ingredients that mimic mined mica”

๐Ÿšฉ Note that they just list “Mica” in their ingredients, which is legal however I would definitely prefer if brands specify that it is synthetic mica.

RMS Luminizers with child labor free mica

RMS

Organic and “clean” makeup brand.

I couldn’t find anything on their website, but when I reached out to them they said: “All of our ingredients are sourced fair-trade and cruelty-free. For proprietary reasons, we cannot provide specific sourcing information for the mica we use, but please know that our founder Rose-Marie spends much of her time sourcing ingredients from sustainable and environmentally friendly sources. We would never source ingredients from a facility that utilizes child labor.”

And they also said: “We are working on getting ours โ€œcertified child labor freeโ€œ but the certification has not been finalized yet.”

I really wish this info was available publicly in their ingredients break-down!

Jane Iredale

A mineral makeup company who uses synthetic mica.

๐Ÿšฉ Note that they just list “Mica” in their ingredients, which is legal however I would definitely prefer if brands specify that it is synthetic mica.

100% Pure

100% Pure "moonstone glow" Gemmed Luminizer with ethical mica

A natural makeup, skincare, and beauty brand.

What they say: “All of our products use ethically sourced mica.”

I reached out to them for more info and this was their statement: “We condemn the use of child labor in particular, in manufacture and service of any raw materials. All of our mica suppliers are required to annually provide certificates that child labor is not used in mica mining and the subsequent manufacturing processes.”

Elate Cosmetics

A Canadian natural and low waste makeup brand. Shopping from the US? You can find them here.

What they say: “The mica used in Elate products is fair trade, and sourced from suppliers who are active members of the Responsible Mica Initiative.”

๐Ÿšฉ Please see above about about certifications and the RMI


Mica-Free Makeup

Haut Cosmetics

Canadian makeup and beauty line with all mica-free products.

Omiana

Has a mica-free collection, they also say the mica in their other products is ethically sourced but so far I haven’t been able to find more information.



Those are the brands I’ve found so far and definitely check back as I will be updating this post as I discover new brands and hear back from brands I’ve reached out to. Overall I still feel there is a lack of transparency which I hope will improve, but I think this is at least a good start.

Also if you know of any other mica-free or ethically sourced makeup brands please share them in the comments!

Is Mica found in Other Products?

I think it’s also important to add that mica isn’t only used in makeup. Electronics is actually the industry that consumes the most mica (about 26%), followed by paint (24%), construction – typically used in drywall (20%) and then cosmetics which uses about 18% of mica produced. (source)

The unfortunate thing is that in these other industries it’s even harder to avoid or find transparent and ethical alternatives. With makeup we at least have some more power as consumers to make better choices.


LAST UPDATED: 23/08/20

10 Sustainable Sock Brands to Keep your Feet Cosy ๐Ÿงฆ

posted in brand roundups

Socks are something many of us use regularly and a great way to support sustainable and ethical brands as they aren’t an item most people can (or want to) buy secondhand. Also since they don’t have the same fit issues as clothing they are easier to order online and more affordable at a lower price point than clothes!

Whether you’re looking for fun colours and patterns or classic neutrals, these are some great sustainable sock brands I’ve found – many of which my husband and I own and love. ๐Ÿ’š

(please note: some affiliate links are used in this roundup)


Conscious Step

Organic cotton and fair trade socks that give back – every pair donates $1 to a partnered charity or organization.

My husband and I both own Conscious Step socks and we like the fit and arch support!

Ben & I in our Conscious Step socks – mine gives to breast cancer research, his help give clean water

-The Breakdown-
Product: men’s and women’s socks, classic and ankle styles in patterns and colourful solids
Great for: everyday wear and gifts
Conscious Highlights: GOTS certified cotton & factories, fair trade certified, vegan brand, gives back
Ordering: based in USA, ships international (but not all countries)


Organic Basics

Classic, neutral socks in a variety of cuts as well as sport socks (which include anti-odor technology). You can also save $ with their sock packs and use code MYGREENCLOSET10 for an extra 10% off!

-The Breakdown-
Product: men’s and women’s socks, classic, ankle, no-show and sport styles in neutrals
Great for: everyday wear and sports, affordable packs
Conscious Highlights: sustainable materials, GOTS certified organic cotton, certified factories (check out the various certifications each factory has here)
Ordering: based in Denmark, ships international – they have both an EU site and US site


PACT

Variety of sock styles in neutral colours, made from organic cotton. Their ankle socks are my go-to! You can also save $ with their sock packs.

-The Breakdown-
Product: men’s and women’s socks, classic, ankle, knee and no-show styles in neutrals
Great for: everyday wear, affordable packs
Conscious Highlights: GOTS certified organic cotton, fair trade certified factories
Ordering: based in USA, ships international


Kind Socks

Fun and colourful patterned socks ethically made from organic cotton.

-The Breakdown-
Product: unisex socks, classic/crew style in colourful patterns
Great for: fun and bright statement socks
Conscious Highlights: GOTS certified, gives back
Ordering: based in Sweden, ships international


Maggie’s Organics

Large selection of organic cotton and wool socks in a variety of styles and cuts.

Maggies Organics rainbow socks
B & I in our rainbow Maggie’s Organics socks

-The Breakdown-
Product: unisex and baby socks, classic, ankle, sport, and dress style in colours, patterns & neutrals
Great for: something for everyone
Conscious Highlights: GOTS certified, made in USA, gives back
Ordering: based in US, ships international


Swedish Stockings

Best known as a sustainable tights/stockings brand, Swedish Stockings also had a selection of fashion-forward sock styles made from their recycled nylon. I have both a pair of open knit and over-the-knee socks and love using them to add some interest to an outfit.

-The Breakdown-
Product: women’s socks
Great for: stylish statement socks
Conscious Highlights: recycled materials, take-back/recycling program
Ordering: based in Sweden, ships international


Boody

Bamboo socks in neutral colours and a variety of classic cuts.

-The Breakdown-
Product: men’s, women’s, and baby socks, classic, ankle, sport, and no-show styles in neutrals
Great for:
classic styles in neutral colours
Conscious Highlights: Ecocert certified, Oeko-Tex certified, FSC certified, WRAP certified, vegan brand
Ordering: initially based in Australia but now with many branches internationally


Qnoop

Organic cotton colourful and neutral socks with buttons to keep pairs together in the wash.

-The Breakdown-
Product: men’s, women’s, and kid’s socks, classic style in neutral and colourful patterns and solids
Great for: anyone who is tired of losing socks
Conscious Highlights: GOTS certified
Ordering: based in the Netherlands, ships international


Allbirds

Made from a blend of Tencel, Merino wool, recycled nylon and spandex, available in a selection of cuts and colours.

-The Breakdown-
Product: unisex socks, classic, ankle, no-show, and sport style in a range of colours
Great for: odor and moisture wicking properties
Conscious Highlights: sustainable materials, certified B Corp
Ordering: based in US, ships international, also have a Canadian store


Thought

Huge selection of patterned socks, mostly made from a bamboo & recycled polyester blend but also with organic cotton and hemp options.

-The Breakdown-
Product: men’s and women’s socks, classic and ankle styles in colourful patterns and solids
Great for: fun patterns, statement socks, and gifts
Conscious Highlights: sustainable materials, plastic-free packaging
Ordering: based in UK, ships international



Do you have a favourite sustainable sock brand I missed? Please share them in the comments!

๐Ÿ’š

How to Fall in Love with Your Closet Again

posted in capsule wardrobes


A question that comes up a lot when discussing a capsule wardrobe (although this doesn’t just apply to capsules!) is:

“Doesn’t it get boring/dull/uninspiring wearing the same clothes all the time?”

I chatted a bit about this in my recent spring/summer capsule video, but I wanted to dig into it more. I completely understand why people think this because I also had these worries, it’s why I initially just challenged myself to try the capsule wardrobe for a year – I thought it would be an interesting experiment and help me understand my style and wardrobe needs better but that I would likely go back after because it would be too “boring”. (Spoiler: 6 years later I still love my capsule!)

Here are some of the things I’ve learned to keep my closet feeling fresh and how I fall in love with my pieces again and again:

Forget about Trends

Trends are designed to make you feel like what you have isn’t good enough and you can only be cool/pretty/sexy/stylish if you wear the newest style. Fast fashion in particular has a ridiculous 52 micro-trends a year. The business model relies on constantly selling clothes and therefore needs you to always be shopping, fast fashion is intentionally designed to make you feel like you constantly need new and “better” things.

Letting go of and ignoring trends can be hard at first but it’s incredibly liberating. If you focus on finding your personal style and wearing the clothes you feel best in, you can have a much more fulfilling wardrobe that uniquely reflects you, your lifestyle, and aesthetic.

Give your Star Pieces their Time to Shine

Too often we don’t wear special pieces our of fear of damaging/losing them, wearing them out, or that if they are worn too often they will somehow be less special.

For me this was an eye-opener when I started minimizing my closet and building a capsule wardrobe, some of my most precious pieces were rarely worn – what a waste! You can’t truly enjoy a garment when it’s just hanging in your closet.

Is there a risk it could get damaged? Yes, but that is part of life and I think it’s worse to never wear it. I’ve had very treasured items get worn out/damaged over the years, and while it’s sad I remind myself that I actually got to enjoy the piece instead of it rarely or never seeing the light of day. It also feels wonderful to wear your most special pieces!

If it is something quite formal, try dressing it down – a pair of flats and jacket can do wonders! Or plan some occasions to wear it, maybe a fancy dress brunch with friends or dress up for a date night (even if it’s just sharing a bottle of wine at home).

Step Out of your Comfort Zone

We tend to gravitate towards the same looks and outfits which over time can feel stale and boring. To combat this, push yourself to try new combinations or ways of styling your clothes.

Try challenging yourself to wear an outfit you’ve never worn before. A fun way to get creative can be to blindly pull two pieces from your wardrobe and try to build an outfit around them. You can also look on social media for inspiration and see if there are outfits you can recreate with what you already have.

An easy way to change up your look is also styling them differently – try belts, different tucks, ties, cuffs, playing with layers, or different accessories. Even a small change can really reinvigorate an outfit!

Are you Comparing Yourself to Others?

Oof this is a tough one. Seeing friends, peers, and people you follow always in new outfits, constantly shopping, or with huge closets can definitely make you and your wardrobe feel boring and “less than”. Unfortunately recognizing when you’re comparing yourself to others and mentally combating it can take a lot of work and is an ongoing process, however one thing that’s helpful is simply unfollowing people who only bring up negative feelings for you.

It’s also important to remember the benefits of not shopping – how wasteful, destructive, and unethical the fast fashion consumption cycle is. While all the new outfits may look glamorous and exciting on social media it’s the product of a very ugly industry.

Remember Why you Bought a Piece

What did you love about your clothes when you got them? Sometimes just recalling when they were new can reignite that feeling.

Ask yourself if the items still have the qualities you initially bought them for – was it a great fit? You loved the style/colour/shape? It filled a hole in your wardrobe? Or you simply felt amazing in it? If the answer is no, then is there a way the piece can be altered or styled differently to bring those features you loved back out?

How is your Closet Organized/Arranged?

We will usually pick what is easiest to see and find and this can result in wearing the same pieces and combinations over and over.

Re-organizing your closet or arranging your clothes in a different way so they are easier to see or that certain pieces are more centered can help with creativity or remind you of pieces that were forgotten in the corners or bottoms of piles.

Also clear out the clutter – if there are pieces you definitely aren’t wearing (maybe they no longer fit, need mending, etc.) put these somewhere else. The clearer and more easy to navigate your closet is, the easier it will be to find and put together outfits and get creative with new combinations.

Even if you don’t re-organize it’s helpful to go through everything and remind yourself of all the pieces in your closet and which ones might deserve some more wear.

Put your Clothes Away for a Season or Two

One of my favourite things about having a capsule wardrobe is bringing my seasonal clothes back out of storage. Even though I’ve had them for years, it’s exciting to see them again and brings a freshness and creatively to my wardrobe and outfit planning.

If you have clothes you are bored with or on the fence about keeping, pack them away for a season or two. When you pull them out see how you feel with them re-introduced to your wardrobe. This is a great way to help decide if they work for your closet or it’s time to let them go.


Are there any other ways you’ve found to get creative or relieve wardrobe-boredom without shopping? I’d love to hear them!

If you’d like more tips and guidance on assessing your wardrobe needs, changing shopping habits and building a conscious closet, check out my ebook!

๐Ÿ’š

Note: All images from Unsplash

18+ WOC-Owned Slow Fashion Brands

posted in brand roundups

This roundup is long overdue, but with the #amplifymelanatedvoices challenge this week I especially want to highlight some sustainable and ethical clothing brands owned by women of colour.

Minority-owned businesses have also been disproportionately affected by the pandemic so now more than ever can use your support!

This roundup includes everything from evening dresses and officewear, to underwear and swimsuits, so there’s something to match your wardrobe needs. ๐Ÿ’š

* Also I want to mention that unlike my other roundups this post does not include affiliate links so any commission I might receive will also go to the brand.


AFF&JAM

UK-based duo who rework and hand-paint vintage pieces turning them into wearable art.

Black-owned upcycling clothing brand AFF&JAM
AFF&JAM maxi dress and blouse

Aliya Wanek

Eponymous label based in the US. Her collection is made in the Bay Area from sustainable and natural materials (lots of hemp!) with a focus on comfort and style.

Black woman owned sustainable clothing brand Aliya Wanek
From Aliya Wanek’s spring 2020 lookbook

Bhoomki

Garments featuring sustainable, artisan textiles including hand-woven, block printed, embroidered, naturally dyed textiles and more.

Their own collection is fair made in India and they also carry other brands in their store (which I had the pleasure of visiting on a trip to New York a couple years ago and it’s lovely!)

WOC-owned slow fashion, artisan clothing brand Bhoomki
Bhoomki dress and overalls

BOLD Swim

US-based colourful, cute, and sexy swimwear brand. Their swimsuits are made in Brazil from Amniยฎ Soul Eco which is a biodegradable polyamide.

Black woman owned sustainable swimwear brand Bold Swim
BOLD Swim halter set and one-piece

Galerie.LA

While not directly a clothing brand, Galerie.LA carries a beautiful, curated selection of sustainable and ethical fashion, accessories, and lifestyle goods. They have an online shop as well as a brick and mortar store in LA.


Gracemade

A modesty-focused clothing line made in LA from deadstock and natural materials.

Black woman owned modest natural clothing brand Gracemade
Gracemade dress and jumpsuit

J. Jackman

Workwear is definitely hard to find in the sustainable/ethical fashion space, but Germany-based J.Jackman‘s chic womenswear is filling that gap! The office-appropriate dresses and separates are all made in their Berlin studio from natural materials.

Black woman owned sustainable work/office clothing brand J.Jackman
J. Jackman dress and skirt suit

Kaela Kay

Bright, colourful and size-inclusive Canadian brand featuring African textiles in contemporary silhouettes. Their pieces are all made in Toronto, the line goes up to a size 22/3X, and they will do custom work for any size!

Black woman owned Made-in-Canada colourful clothing brand Kaela Kay
Kaela Kay wrap dress, top & skirt

Kamso

Children’s and baby clothing brand based in the UK. Their pieces are ethically made in Nigeria and India.


Proclaim.

Size inclusive (up to 3x) underwear and bralettes in a range of nude shades. Made in LA from sustainable materials.

WOC-owned inclusive nude underwear line Proclaim
Proclaim Tencel briefs and bralette

MATTER

Unique, seasonless styles showcasing artisan textiles. MATTER is based in Singapore and fairly manufactures in India. They also do great work sharing information and promoting slow fashion.
(I have many pieces from them which I love!)

WOC-owned artisan slow fashion brand MATTER
Matter jumpsuit and wrap top (some of my personal favourites)

Milo + Niki

Cruelty-free brand based in Texas and made in New York. They use a variety of sustainable materials including a fabric derived from bananas.

WOC-owned sustainable and vegan clothing brand Milo + Niki
Milo + Niki dress, top & trousers

Msichana

A brand from my hometown! Canadian label showcasing African textiles and fairly made by women artisans in Africa. They also have a collection of jewellery and accessories.

Black woman owned clothing brand Msichana
Msichana jumpsuit and pants

Poplinen

Size inclusive (up to 3x) sustainable brand made in downtown Los Angeles. Wardrobe basics made from natural materials.

WOC-owned sustainable and plus size clothing brand Poplinen
Poplinen muscle tank and sweatshirt

SIKA

UK-based label with bold cuts, colours, and prints, fairly made in Ghana.

Black woman owned colorful clothing brand Sika
SIKA trousers, shirt, and dress

Taylor Jay

Eponymous womenswear line made in Oakland, California from sustainable materials.

Black woman owned sustainable clothing brand Taylor Jay
Taylor Jay wrap cardigan and dress

The Tiny Closet

Unique silhouettes and elevated minimalist essentials designed as timeless capsule pieces. The clothes are made in LA from deadstock fabrics.

Black woman owned sustainable clothing brand The Tiny Closet
The Tiny Closet dress and tunic

Two Days Off

A US-based brand making effortless, minimalist pieces. Their garments are made-to-order in LA from natural and deadstock materials.

Black woman owned sustainable clothing brand Two Days Off
Two Days Off dress and linen tee

Wasi Clothing

A fun, colourful line with lots of graphics and prints as well as art prints! Based and made in the US.

WOC-owned clothing brand Wasi
Wasi Clothing printed tee and matching set



I’m sure there are brands I’ve missed, so please share any other sustainable/ethical WOC-owned fashion brands you love in the comments!

Also be sure to check out Melanin & Sustainable Style and Buy From BIPOC, they are both excellent resources for lifestyle, home, fashion, beauty, and wellness brands owned by people of colour.

๐Ÿ’š

Spring/Summer 2020 Capsule Wardrobe

posted in capsule wardrobes

The weather is finally nice out so it’s time to transition to a spring capsule, I decided to do a combined spring/summer capsule wardrobe as the pieces I chose work for both and I can’t see much changing going into summer.

(Please note: this post does contain some affiliate links and some gifted products however this does not affect my opinion of the products)


The Clothes in my Capsule:

Tops

Bottoms

  • Jeans – Mud Jeans
  • Ikat pants – MATTER
  • Black โ€œdressy sweatpantsโ€ – Encircled
  • Black denim shorts – thrifted
  • Green shorts – ArmedAngels
  • Black/grey knit skirt – thrifted (Eileen Fisher)
  • Green midi skirt – Son de Flor
Encircled top and “dressy sweatpants”

Dresses

Layers/Jackets

  • Beige cardigan – very old
  • Rust cardigan โ€“ Eileen Fisher
  • Grey hoodie โ€“ TenTree
  • Red printed maxi robe – TAMGA Designs
  • Denim jacket – secondhand
  • Oversized wool jacket – NAZ

Accessories

100+ Canadian Slow Fashion Brands๐Ÿ

posted in brand roundups

Now more than ever, local businesses need our support!

Far too many Canadian businesses have been hard-hit by the pandemic and are struggling. Also, supporting small business has a beneficial ripple though our economy – a BC study found that local businesses recirculated 2.6x more revenue back into the economy compared to chains!

So if you’re looking to add some pieces to your wardrobe, shopping from Canadian clothing brands can not only give you beautiful, unique pieces but also support amazing independent fashion labels. Plus most of these brands incorporate sustainability into their business and products so you’re making a kinder choice for the planet too. ๐Ÿ’š

I loved putting this list together and found some new brands I hope to support soon. I know you’ll discover some great Canadian slow fashion brands too! x

Symbol quick guide:

๐ŸŒฟ – Sustainable Materials
๐Ÿงต – Sewn/Made in Canada
โ™ป๏ธ – Low Waste Initiatives
๐Ÿฐ – Proud Vegan Brand
๐ŸŽ – Gives back to charities or organizations
โž• – Plus Sizing
โค๏ธ – A brand I personally own and love

(Please note: this list does contain a few affiliate links)

Clothing Brands

18 Waits – menswear ๐Ÿงต

Aleur – loungewear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต

Allison Wonderland – womenswear, eco-friendly line “Pillar” ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต

Anne Mulaire – womenswear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงตโ™ป๏ธ

Anthology35 – womenswear ๐Ÿงต

Arraei – women’s natural clothing ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต

Arturo Denim Co. – jeans & denim repairing ๐Ÿงต๐Ÿฐโž•

Atelier B – women’s, men’s & children’s clothing ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงตโž•

Batik Boutik – women’s & men’s clothing, accessories & home good featuring African textiles

Beaton – women’s clothing, lots of linen ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงตโž•

Bellantoni – womenswear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงตโ™ป๏ธ๐Ÿฐ

Beth Richards – swimwear ๐Ÿงต

Birds of North America – cute & colourful women’s clothing ๐Ÿงต

Blue Sky Clothing Co. – womenswear ๐ŸŒฟโž•

Bodybag by Jude – womenswear ๐Ÿงต

Buttercream – casual knitwear ๐Ÿงตโž•

Cedar & Vine – minimalist linen capsule collection ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต

Cherry Gardens – minimalist loungewear ๐Ÿงต

Cherry Velvet – vintage style dresses & accessories ๐Ÿงตโž•

Daub + Design – yoga & activewear ๐Ÿงต

Duffield Design – womenswear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต

Ecologyst – active & outdoor apparel ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต(some products)๐ŸŽ

Eliza Faulkner – womenswear ๐Ÿงต

Encircled – women’s knitwear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงตโค๏ธ

Canadian slow fashion - Encircled
Encircled top and pants, Kotn socks, Pyrrha necklace

Eve Gravel – womenswear ๐Ÿงต

Fortnight – lingerie & intimates ๐Ÿงต

Franc – women’s basics ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต๐Ÿฐโž•

Free Label – womenswear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต๐Ÿฐโž•

Gaia Dubos – womenswear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต

Glasnost – waxed cotton raincoats ๐Ÿงต

Granted – handknit sweaters & wool accessories ๐Ÿงต

Gus Sloan – jumpsuits ๐Ÿงตโž•(made to measure)

Harly Jae – womenswear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต

Hernest Project – women’s sleep & loungewear ๐ŸŒฟ

Hilary MacMillion – womenswear ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŽโž•

Hoi Bo – women’s clothing & accessories ๐Ÿงต

Horses Atelier – womenswear ๐Ÿงต

Jennifer Glasglow Design – womenswear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงตโ™ป๏ธ

Kaela Kay – colourful womenswear ๐Ÿงตโž•

Kotn – cotton tees & basics (watch my review)

La Monarch – womenswear โ™ป๏ธ

Lights of All – womenswear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงตโ™ป๏ธ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŽ

Lola & August – luxury lingerie ๐Ÿงต

Londre – swimwear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต

Lumber Jill Apparel – flannel wraps & coats ๐Ÿงต

Mary Young – women’s & men’s underwear & intimates ๐Ÿงต๐ŸŽ

Meemoza – womenswear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต

MeMi Collective – womenswear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต

Message Factory – women’s & men’s casual & knit clothing ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต

Mettamade – women’s knitwear ๐Ÿงต๐ŸŽโž•

Miik – women’s knitwear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงตโ™ป๏ธ

Mildred – womenswear ๐Ÿงต

Minnow – swimwear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงตโ™ป๏ธ๐ŸŽ

Msichana – colourful womenswear from artisan fabrics & accessories โ™ป๏ธโž•

My Inner Fire – yoga & activewear ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŽ

Nettle’s Tale – women’s clothing & swimwear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต๐ŸŽโž•

NoMiNou – yoga & activewear featuring artist collaborations ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต

Obakki – womenswear & homegoods

OkayOk – unisex & kid’s tees & streetwear ๐Ÿงต

Ovate – minimalist womenswear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต

Power of My People – button down shirts & work/casual wear๐Ÿงตโž•

Prairie Sweater Co. – women’s casual, maternity, & nursing clothing ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงตโž•

Prana Vida – women’s yogawear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต

Preloved – women’s lounge & casualwear from deadstock fabric ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงตโ™ป๏ธ

Saltwater Collective – swimwear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงตโž•

Sarah Sue Design – womenswear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงตโ™ป๏ธโž•

Sessa Wearables – women’s & men’s clothing from deadstock fabric ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงตโ™ป๏ธ

Siggi – colourful women’s clothing ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต

Simone’s Rose – womenswear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงตโž•

Smash + Tess – women’s, men’s & children’s loungewear ๐Ÿงต

Smoking Lily – women’s & children’s clothing, accessories, & home textiles

Sokoloff Lingerie – lingerie & intimates ๐Ÿงต

Tamga – womenswear ๐ŸŒฟโค๏ธ (check out my video about styling colour and pattern with Tamga)

Canadian slow fashion - TAMGA Designs
Tamga skirt

Tentree – casual & outdoor apparel ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŽโค๏ธ

The Good Tee – women’s, men’s & children’s fair trade basics ๐ŸŒฟ

Thief & Bandit – hand-printed womenswear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงตโž•

This is J – women’s, men’s & children’s pajamas & loungewear ๐Ÿงต

Tony Chestnut Design – womenswear ๐Ÿงต

Uniform – women’s natural casualwear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต

Unika Swim – swimwear ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงตโž•

Ursa Minor – womenswear ๐Ÿงต

Yoga Jeans – women’s jeans & denim ๐Ÿงต

Accessory Brands

457 Anew – recycled & upcycled bags ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงตโ™ป๏ธ

Anupaya – hats & homegoods ๐Ÿงต(some products)

Berg + Betts – Watches with upcycled leather straps

Brave Soles – leather shoes & bags โ™ป๏ธ (recycled tires in some products)

Duval – leather bags ๐Ÿงต

Erin Templeton – leather bags ๐Ÿงตโ™ป๏ธ (some recycled leather products)

Friday Sock Co. – men’s, women’s, & kid’s patterned socks

Mariclaro – upcycled bags ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงตโ™ป๏ธ

Poppy Barley – women’s & men’s leather shoes & accessories ๐ŸŽ

Pyrrha – recycled precious metal jewellery ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงตโ™ป๏ธโค๏ธ

Rok Cork – cork bags ๐ŸŒฟ

Stay Home Club – various accessories & homegoods ๐Ÿงต(some products)

Unbelts – elastic belts ๐ŸŽโž•

Canadian Stores Carrying Multiple Sustainable & Ethical Brands

Arc – women’s clothing, underwear, & accessories

Azura Bay – underwear, lingerie & loungewear

New Classics – women’s clothing & accessories

Zinnia Textiles – women’s, men’s & children’s clothing & accessories

Parade Organics romper and Modern Baby bandana bib & teething toy

Children’s Clothing & Accessories

Bajoue – baby & kid’s clothing & accessories ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต

Jax + Lennon – baby, children’s & adult clothing ๐Ÿงต

Les Petite Natures – baby & kids clothing ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต

Little & Lively – baby, kids, & youth clothing ๐Ÿงต

Lux and Dae – kid’s accessories ๐Ÿงต

Mini Mioche – baby & kid’s clothing & accessories ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต๐ŸŽ

Mini Street – kids & “mommy + me” clothing ๐Ÿงต

Modern Baby – baby clothing & accessories ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต

Nooks Design – baby & kid’s wool footwear & accessories

NudNik – kid’s zero waste clothing ๐ŸŒฟโ™ป๏ธ

Parade Organics – baby & kid’s clothing & accessories ๐ŸŒฟ

Pure Colour Baby – baby & kid’s clothing ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต

Rain People – baby & kids clothing & bonnets ๐Ÿงต

Simply Merino – wool baby, kid’s & adult clothing ๐Ÿงต

Soft Soul – baby & toddler shoes/slippers ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿงต๐Ÿฐ

Wee Woollies – wool baby & kid’s clothing ๐Ÿงต



Is there a brand I missed? Please share them in the comments!

๐Ÿ’š

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