Saturday, September 20, 2008

New York Fashion Week Coverage

Ok, so I've been MIA for a while now, meanwhile, New York Fashion Week flies by. There was a lot of great coverage and instead of competing with blogs that have budget, I thought I'd do what blogs do - regurgitate press by providing hyperlinks.

Treehugger and Inhabitat have been doing a great job covering the Eko-Laborative fashion exhibition at New York Fashion Week. Feel free to browse their articles at the links above.

The Daily Green did a great job with a behind the scenes slideshow of the Be EcoChic fashion show (bringing together activists, celebs and designers), to featured collections by hessnatur, John Patrick Organic, Eko-Lab, Ekovarhuset and others.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Vegan Shoe Debate

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Recently Natalie Portman appeared on Bravo's Project Runway hocking her vegan shoe line Te Cesan. While her shoes are adorable, I personally don't think certain vegan shoes are sustainable. Pleather isn't sustainable, in fact it's the opposite. With the exception of recycled plastic pleathers, these materials are made from petroleum products.

The desire to end the suffering of animals is noble and necessary. But plastic is not the answer. Leather is a byproduct of the food industry and using all of the animal does more justice to their sacrifice than letting things go to waste.

Truly sustainable shoes are ones that use recycled materials and use responsibly tanned leathers and sustainable production practices (that's more than just recycled packaging...a message to some of the vegan footwear makers).

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Melissa Shoes, a Brazilian company, has been around for years, but recently started showing up everywhere in the US. The jelly style shoe is truly architectural and very appealing. They are made from mono plastics which mean they are 100% recyclable. You can throw them in with your bottles and leave them at the curb. This past season, they came out with the translucent line, Ultra III above, which is made from 100% recycled plastic. Furthermore, the company is committed to sustainability as they capture and filter all the waste in the air and water at their factory so that they can have a minimal impact on the environment. They also support many charities. What a great company, and great shoes!

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Patagonia is another company that's big on sustainability. These shoes are made from pig skin uppers sourced from a small footprint tannery that is committed to clean environmental practices. The mid-sole and foot-bed are made from 20% recycled materials and the rubber out-sole is made from 20% scrap rubber.

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Croc, not my favorite (proud to say they've never donned my feet) is doing some great work. They are gathering old, used crocs and mincing them up into bits, adding the bits to new material and forming brand new crocs. These shoes are sent to Haiti and donated to the poor there who can't afford shoes. A great program called SolesUnited.

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Last, but not least, is Adidas' Grun line. Introduced last spring, these Adidas originals are made from recycled rubbers and hemp textile.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Are you wearing a paper dress?

(Sasawashi dresses by Linda Loudermilk Fall 06)

Dresses made from paper - Japanese papers called Washi. SASAWASHI is a new sustainable fabric woven by twisted Washi yarns which was blended with KUMAZASA. It is a birth of "old and new" wonderful fabric as washable as cotton with the feel of linen.
The Japanese have used WASHI since ancient times. It is most recognizable as calligraphy papers, fans and the iconic Shoji screens. The paper is strong and durable and it stands up well to humidity . Washi is made from wood bark/pulp traditionally but is also made from bamboo, hemp, rice and wheat pulps.
KUMAZASA or SASA is a Japanese herb that has many medicinal applications, it is used in preserving meats and in sushi. Part of the grass family, Kumazasa grows quickly and lives for 100 years. It flowers only once during it's lifetime and then dies.

Is Sasawashi sustainable?

Well many Econistas have issues with cotton. Mostly because the growth of conventional cotton involves tons of pesticides, in fact, cotton uses the most chemicals of all crops. It's mind blowing, but some say that 1 cup of chemicals were used to raise the cotton in one T-shirt. So if you're wearing jeans, T-shirt, socks and undies that are all made from cotton, that outfit could have around 2lbs of chemicals associated with it. These chemicals are destroying water and soil for generations to come. That's why some fashion designers, like Linda Loudermilk, are seeking out fabrics that are kinder to the earth. Since Washi can be made from many different fibers, you can choose ones that are sustainable, such as bamboo which grows like a grass. The Sasa is also a grass and only the leaves are used. Since the creation of washi has been around for hundreds of years and is a sustainable process, the creation of the fabric also requires less chemicals to break down the pulps into the substance used for the fabric.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Renew Your Tired Clothes By Embellishing

Tough economic times can be difficult for econistas who like having a couple new outfits each season. A great way to not only live sustainably with a small footprint but also to satisfy the need for new looks, is through updating cloths you already own.

A new book by Kayte Terry of Love Forever blogging fame, can give you the inspiration you need to take that tired sweater and turn it into a funky and unique little number. "Complete Embellishing"is a diy guide that presents easy to follow instruction for various projects that range from creating flowers for a sweater to embellishing a boho chic lampshade. Terry is an artist and stylist who works with companies like Anthropology, Parents Magazine, Adorn magazine, Cutting Edge magazine and Brooks Brothers. Her sensibility is very apparent in the high quality photos of the projects and the taste level of the projects.

Why not sit down at the sewing machine instead of hitting the mall? It will not only save you money, but you can make a creative, one of a kind piece to add to your wardrobe.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Linda Loudermilk eco fabrics

Linda Loudermilk Fall 08

Another stunning collection by luxury-eco pioneer Linda Loudermilk makes soy and sasawashi, chic and sophisticated. This season, Loudermilk's designs involve more line, geometry and edge than seasons past. Her once feminine and flowing ruffles are transformed into structured, crisp ruffles that are more architectural than feminine. There is no sign of bold graphics or draped layering fabrics but there are hints of plaid which she has used in the past. You can buy some wares from her past seasons from zappos (yes, they sell designer clothes too).

Friday, August 1, 2008

Gone Stitchin'

Before I know it, another week has flown by and econista has gone without love. So what to do when neglecting something? Why sew a personalized hankey! Sublime Stitching is a site that offers a great range of embroidery patterns to satisfy today's DIY itch. Their tagline says it all "this ain't your grandma's embroidery!"

With patterns that have a tatoo flair, you can customize an old pair of jeans and make them into something hip and different. Why not take a cheap, plain hoody and personalize it to make it that funky gift you're looking for? While surfing the site, you start to think of all the fun ways to breath life into everyday things. Themes range from pieces of sushi to unicorns, travel to camping, nice girl to bad girl motifs and more. You can buy starter kits, patterns, instructional books and supplies to get you going. Why not try it, you might just see what grandma loved about it?

Here's a fun econista idea - Trading Stiches: get together with a friend and trade on old piece of clothing, embroider something for them and give it back.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bravo's "In!" the Green Revolution

This was the first officially green episode of Project Runway. Yay, good job Bravo and Project Runway!! The fabrics used in this weeks episode were made of sustainable silks, bamboo jerseys and hemp blends. Unfortunately, they didn't discuss the fabrics that much, and the challenge was to make a cocktail dress so the audience didn't get to see the wide variety of sustainable fabrics there are out there. Nonetheless, the movement is alive and well. In the past, PR has used recycled cloths for challenges which is the ultimate in sustainability because it doesn't require new raw materials. Perhaps someone will comment on the eco-consciousness of repurposing clothing in a future episode this season.

The episode featured guest star econista Natalie Portman who was there to not only support green fashion but to plug her vegan shoe line that was produced by Te Cesan. Portman has been a vergitarian since she was 8 and has been looking for quality stylish vegan shoes for a long time, until she decided to design her own line. Much like her personal style, the shoes are delicate, eclectic and fun. She's donating 100% of the proceeds to various charities that benefit the environment and animal rights.

Thanks Bravo for elevating awareness and calling out the main stream fashion world... you either in or you out ... of the green revolution.

Oh, and for all you PR fans, Christian Seriano's collection is for sale on Blue Fly. It ain't cheap but it's hella fierce!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Zerkahloostrah Custom Handmade Shoes

Circus b'zerkus handmade platform pumps women's 8.5 $365

Yes, cobblers do still exist and you can find them on Etsy. Here is one of the best, Zerkahloostrah. A wonderful sense of style and (as it appears on the monitor) great quality. Of course they aren't cheap, but the whole point of buying custom or handmade shoes is to avoid the mass produced, sweat shop marketplace and go with something traditional and long lasting. This is type of buying power is in the tradition of getting value from longevity - not disposable trend, which is why this Etsy seller is on the right track. The styles are an elegant fit season upon season.

custom retro platform pumps $500

custom purple and green sandals $500

custom red delicate mary janes $500

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Who Loves Elroy?

I do! Just a few weeks ago, I was feeling like there wasn't much going on in the sustainable fashion world. But after digging a little deeper I stumbled across a vein that led to a perfect nugget of gold: designer Leanne McElroy's collection Elroy. Why didn't I know about it sooner?

Based in Vancouver BC, Elroy is a fully sustainable collection using bamboo and organic cotton fabrics. "I found there was this missing niche…that just wasn't available out there. There was yoga wear and the elastic pants and elastic tank tops. It just wasn't stuff I was looking for." Says McElroy. "I'm really drawn to Asian minimalism and the style of the '40s and '50s. I have a couple of jackets that are definitely inspired by an Audrey Hepburn–type look. I try to make structured and tailored pieces that really fit a woman's body."

These influences are very apparent in the spring collection of well tailored and meticulously detailed designs. McElroy understands the woman she's dressing - the Audrey Hepburn of today, a true econista who's elegance is beyond fashionable, it's responsible. I'm sure Elroy's fall 2008 collection will be fabulous, I'll be sure to keep an eye on this nugget and pass it on.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Paper Doll by Heather Treadway

I love it when I encounter a designer in a round about way only to realize I've seen and admired their work before. It makes me feel like there's a purpose in all of this googling. The purpose being: finding talent! Here we have Portland Oregon based designer, Heather Treadway who hand makes all of her garments (etsy store) from conventional fabrics. The not-so-preppy deconstructed woven argyle sweatshirt is absolute genius, but it's a deceiving introduction to her sensibility. The collection as a whole is more sporty and futuristic than the argyle would suggest. Treadway takes classic streetwear pieces and spices them up with scifi flavored details. When considered as a whole, the streetwear line is very west coast party ready wear - stylish layering, comfortable and easy to move in. Whether dancing to a DJ in the woods, on the beach or in the desert, Paper Doll will get you through the fun in style.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lizzie Parker Fall 08 Misses the Mark

I'm a fan of Lizzie Parker, the eco-chic designer who's design sensibility is perky, fresh and comfortable. But the Fall 08 collection is anything but fresh, in fact, it's drab and drapey. What econista wants to be draped in drab? With layers of Jersey hanging around the neck and over the shoulders, the designs look more like yoga wear... which for fashion designers who want to be more chic than eco, that's the kiss of death. We all know we can find bamboo yogawear anywhere... Econistas are looking for style, and Lizzie Parker Fall 08 doesn't deliver. Is there a glimmer of hope? Maybe, if you can find something from her spring collection like the outfit below on sale...Sorry Lizzie.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sharyl Crow Developing an Eco-chic Line

Word on Rodeo Drive is that Sharyl Crow is heading down under to meet with some business partners at Western Glove Works about launching an eco-chic denim line. Not only is she, herself a gorgeous gal in cowboy boots and jeans, but she's been a spokesperson for the environment for years. In fact, this spring she hit the road on a nationwide tour Rocking the Globe-L Warming Tour and even blogged about the people who came out to protest (are there still skeptics out there... perhaps they were paid by Exxon).

In April, Crow was invited to the White House Correspondence dinner, and, like a good econista, she confronted Carl Rove about Global Warming (she was supposed to introduce him at the dinner). After flinging some well researched statistics and facts at Rove and receiving a few short tempered responses, Rove turned to stomp away like a spoiled little boy. Sharyl touched him on the shoulder and Rove spun around, probably foaming at the mouth, and said "Don't touch me!!". What heterosexual man refuses a caress from Sharyl Crow? I digress. So, econista will keep you informed about Sharyl's eco-friendly line. Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Made in the USA

4th of July means all things american. Celebrate your Independence from corporate greed and big business this year by supporting your local, hand-makers. Here's a made-in-the-USA roundup of etsy treats.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Nasty Gal Vintage

A great way to kick off the new month is by getting nasty. I recognize nasty gal vintage from her ebay shop a year ago, but she's branched out into her own online storefront and is getting some big time press. Only problem with letting this little know secret out of the bag...everything is sold out. Not only are the cloths funky, but her photography is wonderful! So bookmark this site and check back regularly so you can take advantage of the owner's funky eye and wonderful ability to find these unique, one of a kind pieces.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Jewelery always cheers me up!

Seeing a theme here? Accessories are an econista's best friend. Here's a wonderful etsy designer who makes paper jewelery. By wonderfully intricate folding colorful pieces of paper, shop owner FrucciDesign, handmakes modern pieces that have a sense of the organic. Just visit her site and swoop up some of these happy adornments.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Handbags always cheer me up!

I haven't visited U-handblog in a long time, and wow, I forgot how fun the site is. Lisa Lam's blog not only displays her wonderfully sweet handmade bags, she includes tutorials for you to make them as well! Plus, you can buy some of her bags, some fabrics and trimmings to help join in the fun. Perhaps the best therapy is a few quiet hours behind a sewing machine, something I haven't done in a year. I think I'll do some therapeutic diy time this coming holiday weekend.

Where have I been?

I haven't been anywhere! The weeks have slipped by as I, like so many Americans these days, put in long hours to stay afloat. Every time I've sat down to dig up some content, I felt discouraged and annoyed. I'm sure you get what I'm saying.

I always complain about "feeling" global warming in my bones, like, the air just seems different than it did just 10 years ago. But over the past few weeks, there have been fires all around me here in SF and the pink sunlight filtered through the smoke is eerie. In the Midwest there's massive floods and once a week another American community is in peril. And the headline on Yahoo yesterday about the first summer without any arctic ice is just the topper. The main stream news doesn't seem to care, they're living in a NYC bubble, out of tune with the rest of the nation and stuck in an endless loop chatter about hillary and obama, obama and hillary.

Part of the reason for my malaise is the state of the economy. It feels kind of stupid to be absorbed in all the neat stuff we can buy to green our lives, when the future seems bleak. What ever the reason for the instability, falling dollar and recession, I find myself trying to plan for the worst.

Lucky for me, I'm not in massive debt and I have some savings, not much, but some. I have found my econista research flowing into research into gold bullion, gold jewelery and other hedges. I already have my earthquake kit consisting of water, powerbars and a handcrank/solar radio. But what else can I do to prepare for a possible recession, or worse, depression (don't get me started on the parallels between now and the start of the great depression but let's just say - investor speculation, in this case, on oil).

I am finding myself holding my breath, like many people, hoping that this presidential election will have some impact, if only psychological, to save us from the financial abyss that is before us.

My apologies for this depressing post and my negative attitude. But looking for the next cute organic cotton dress isn't very high on my priority list these days.

Hearing from my readers, if I have any, would get me back into sync with the movement, so email me. and let me you you're out there.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Introducing Bodkin

Bodkin Brooklyn is a collaboration between designer Samantha Pleet
and writer Eviana Hartman using certified organic and reclaimed materials. Their collection is definitely welcome on the green fashion scene and econista is going to keep an eye out for more from this fresh, contemporary team. Jump to an interview with the duo

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Etsy roundup

I was recently doing "research" at to see if there are any econistas out there making some eco-chic stuff and wow, I found a few wonderful designers making handmade leather handbags. These eco-chic pieces aren't exactly a steal with prices comparable to top designer handbags. So why buy a cute leather no-name purse for the same price? First, it's a one of a kind, not made in some awful sweatshop a world away by overworked people. Second, you support a talented designer who's spending hours on their craft. And third, because it's a great story to tell your friends when they say "I love your bag, who's it by?" Here's a roundup of my favorite designers.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Camilla Norrback Spring 08

Camilla Norrback's Spring Collection is much more memorable than her previous ones. At first, I thought she was a new discovery, then I realized that I'd covered her before. But for some reason, this season speaks to me. It's filled with sophisticated style that is sweet and feminine. There is an understated sexiness that is playful while being mature. Effortlessly elegant, isn't that's how all us econistas wish to be?

Camilla Norrback has chosen to produce the major part of the garments in ecological or environment-certified natural materials. For a fabric to be labeled ecological it must be environment-friendly produced in every step – cultivation, processing and colouring. The methods employed are chosen to affect the environment as little as possible, using natural alternatives to toxins and chemicals. Environment-certified fabrics are processed and coloured in an environment-friendly way, making sure that pigments aren’t released into the groundwater and that the finished fabric contains no toxins or heavy metals that are harmful for the future wearer of the garments.

To buy, check out her website

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Stefano Nati recycled leather bags

Reminiscent of plastic folded folios and document carriers, Stefano Nati takes these simple, everyday containers and turns them into fashionable eco-chic accessories using regenerated leather. Handmade in Italy, the leather is created by grinding up scraps of waste leather that would usually go into a landfill and bonding the grindings with small amounts of natural rubber resulting in a beautiful, modern and durable material. The modern lines are held together with strong metal rivets but generally the shape is determined through folding instead of seams.

Stefano Nati is a native of Nocera Umbra, from a family steeped in the traditions of Umbria's ancient rural culture with its emphasis on hand-made artisans and respect for the earth.

You can purchase his bags at

Friday, May 30, 2008

Target's green videos

For years I've been able to buy Method brand cleaning products at the local Target, I know they've been the first big chain to focus on sustainability. So while checking out the organic cotton clothing at Target's website, I found these eco-concious shopping videos. It looks like they partnered with the author of "Gorgeously Green" and have included some tips for shopping green at Target. So check out the videos.

Target, green-washing or a good start?

A Target advertisement caught my eye on TV last night. Their ads are always well done, but this time, they said the cloths were eco-friendly. I sat up and logged on to see what was going on at Target. The collection they were talking about was "Go International: Rogan Gregory". The photos of the rather cool safari clothes are set in front of solar panels and grassy fields. I was excited and started "doing research" (or shopping). But, i didn't find a lot of organic cotton pieces, as it turns out, about 1/3 of the collection is organic cotton, the rest is silk, linen and then some poly. It's eco-chic to a point and in my opinion, it's a good start.

Who is Rogan Gregory? He's the designer behind Loomstate and Edun and recently open a boutique in NYC, Rogan, featuring his collection of modern street wear that reflects his fresh aesthetic. I'm looking forward to receiving my Target purchase which, in the end, reflects the makeup of the collection - one sustainable piece (the T below), one not. Oh well, like I said, it's a good start.