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.