Women’s

Earth Day shopping finds

April 22, 2015

If you find yourself lured in by Earth Day shopping deals, consider this little list of ethical and sustainable designers and brands that I’d like you to check out. Some of them are offering Earth Day specials that you might not want to miss out on. But keep in mind that this isn’t a reason to shop. Please shop responsibly and Happy Earth Day!

Edge of Ember

edge of ember mainA contemporary line of edgy, yet feminine jewelry. Each piece is handcrafted in small workshops in Cambodia and Indonesia, and each artisan is paid fair wages to work in humane conditions. This creates a sustainable cycle of trade that works to lift individuals and communities out of poverty. In addition to ethical production standards, 10 percent of all proceeds are donated to local charity programs that focus on preventing sex trafficking.

Kowtow

kow tow main

For a long time, many of our consumer habits have appeared to have no consequence. It is now quite apparent that there is an imbalance in standards of living throughout the world which is fuelled by the Wests continuing short changing and exploitation of labour markets in the so called third world. We don’t believe anyone who is truly aware of what is going on in the world would want to turn their heads and support a slave trade economy. Being into clothes we decided to do something about it. Certified fair trade organic clothing that is ethically and sustainably made from seed to garment.

forestiere

forestiere mainInspired by tradition, natural history, silviculture, and uncommon artifacts, at forestière we believe in a simple, honest approach to design—one that celebrates timelessness, good craftsmanship, quality materials, and thoughtfulness. We favour the uncommon over the commonplace; the carefully considered over the hurried; the handmade over the mass produced; products with stories behind them and that contain a palpable sense of their maker(s). We believe that the art and objects that a person chooses for their life should be a reflection of these kinds of values, and hope to encourage thoughtful buying by providing our customers with a personal connection to their purchases. We are also committed to low-impact, environmentally conscious and sustainable practices, making a conscious effort to use ethically sourced, reclaimed, vintage, salvaged, deadstock, and natural materials in the creation of our designs, as well as re-usable packaging materials made from recycled fibres.

behno

behno mainIn 2012, Shivam Punjya, behno’s founder, went to India to complete his research on women’s health. Punjya founded behno shortly after the tragic Rana Factory collapse on April 24, 2013. benho has partnered with a large nonprofit in India to create and build a new model of a garment factory in rural Gujarat. The factory will revolutionize the way garment workers are treated, viewed and employed. Along with adhering to international factory standards, the factory will strive to empower female garment workers by executing “The behno Standard”. The behno Standard focuses on ethical garmenting by implementing various programming, ranging from fair wages to garment worker health to eco-consciousness. behno is committed to raising awareness to the craft and character of “made in India” by focusing on high quality luxurious and tailored designs whilst providing our garment workers with empowering and safe working conditions.

VOZ

voz main

VOZ is a collection of luxury artisanal ready-to-wear apparel inspired by the beauty of ancient cultures and ceremonial crafts that was founded by Creative Director Jasmine Aarons in 2012. VOZ honors and empowers artisans creatively, economically and culturally by providing education, sustainable fair-trade employment and a platform designed to preserve and support traditional art forms.

Osei-duro

osei duro mainOsei-duro is based in Los Angeles, CA and Accra, Ghana. We produce our textiles and garments in Ghana, applying traditional techniques such as hand dyeing and weaving. We aim to support the local apparel industry – on both a large and small scale – in becoming sustainable. We work towards a vibrant fashion industry, one that exceeds international production standards while respecting the rights and aesthetics of local makers.

Studio 189

studio 189 mainStudio 189 is a social enterprise created by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah that consists of creatives who seek to provide a platform to help promote and curate African and African-inspired content through an e-commerce shopping site, a supporting agency and an artisan-produced fashion collection called FASHION RISING COLLECTION, launched in support of V-Day’s One Billion Rising. We focus on creating opportunities for empowerment, education and employment of artisans and creatives.

Perfect pieces for a Canadian spring

March 20, 2015

Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-3

Happy spring! Oh, I can’t tell you how relieved I am to know that spring has arrived. It’s only +5 C here today but still, it’s officially spring. To celebrate, I wanted to share with you the new spring 2015 collection from Dace, a Canadian eco-fashion darling and a truly gifted designer. Simple lines are difficult to make unique, but Dace Moore manages to design minimalist pieces that are feminine, flattering and just the right amount of different. My favourite pieces are the blush pants and the long, tan coat.

I’m really going to ramp up showing you more and more eco-designers, especially Canadian ones, for two reasons: almost everyone I meet complains about not knowing where to shop, period, let alone where to buy eco-fashion. Second, those who do want to become conscientious consumers complain that eco-fashion is just soooo expensive, but check out Dace, the prices are comparable to Zara or Club Monaco, no lie.

I also ask that you consider these designs as investment pieces. Your money is going to good use, supporting Canadian design and manufacturing. Your wardrobe will last longer and you can feel good about contributing to something positive. Now how’s that for some springtime spirit rejuvenation?

Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-2 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-4 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-5 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-6 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-7 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-8 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-9 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-10 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-11 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-12 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-13 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-14 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-15 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-16 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-17 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-18 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-19 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-20 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-21 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-22 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-23 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-24 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-25 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-26 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-27 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-28 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-29 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-30 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-31 Dace_Spring2015_Catalogue-32

Where to shop “eco” online for spring

March 19, 2015

Aside from buying from local Ottawa consignment shops and the odd eco-purchase in-store, I’m all about eco-shopping online. I’ve been browsing the following sites for some resort pieces for my upcoming trip and I thought you might like to know where I’ve been hopping and skipping to on the interweb.

a boy named sue collage

Dress – $260.00 | Top – $120.00

accompany collage

Kaftan – $160.00 | Playsuit – $234.00 | Shorts – $120.00

brika collage

Watches – $69.00 | Necklace – $90.00 | Earrings – $45.00

elizabeth suzann collage

Top – $155.00 | Tunic – $175.00 | Trench – $295.00

everlane collage

Trouser – $120.00 | Shirt – $35.00 | Blouse – $78.00

heinui collage

Collection not yet available online

need supply collage

Dress – $68.00 | Coat – $288.00Pants – $330.00

of a kind collage

Top – $165.00 | Ring – $136.00| Shoes – $117.00

Duffield Design spring 2015 lookbook

March 10, 2015

Duffield Designs-75

Canada is the third largest country (in terms of land mass) in the world, but it has a population of only 30 million. The expanse of land that many Canadians are blessed to live in, its rugged terrain and its diverse ecosystems have shaped our distinctive character. The bitterly cold winters have made us resourceful, the kilometres of land that we’ve had to dig, blast and plough through have made us a determined bunch, and the country’s unique beauty from coast, to coast, to coast has inspired many of us to be renowned artists.

I consider Megan Duffield of Duffield Design to be one such artist. Duffield is a local eco-fashion designer who is the epitome of slow fashion. She designs, cuts and sews almost all of her pieces in a quaint studio on her wooded property just outside of Ottawa. Her fabric is sourced primarily from a Montreal-based manufacturer of eco-textiles and she collaborates with a local dyer to create the most beautiful and organic-looking colours and patterns.

Duffield has just launched her spring 2015 lookbook, which I had the honour of styling and directing this past fall with Throne Photography, Ashley C. and Heidi S. from Models International Management and Leslie-Anne Barrett of Beauty Bartender. Take a look and visit her online shop to get your fave pieces.

To celebrate her latest collection, I asked Duffield to answer a few questions so that you may get to know her more and truly appreciate her work.

Duffield Designs-24

 

EF Magazine (EF): When did you launch Duffield Design?
Megan Duffield (MD): I launched Duffield Design in November 2011 when my husband and I moved from our studio apartment on Catharine Street in downtown Ottawa into our country home in Dunrobin Shores.

EF: What is your educational background?
MD: I studied Fashion Design at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario from 2002 to 2005.

EF: Where have you worked in the past?
MD: When I returned home from school in London I started working for a boutique in the market called Frou Frou. I quickly developed an interest for visual display and was promoted to assistant visual merchandiser for the company’s seven stores at the time, including Framing and Gift Wear, Bank St. Framing, and the clothing stores Frou Frou & Pom Pom, and The Sassy Bead Co.

I was trained by Brydie Hyndman who has worked for such companies in visual display as Holt Renfrew. After a few years of working together, Brydie retired and I took over her position as head visual merchandiser. I also apprenticed with Marie Moscatel, a local Ottawa designer and Stan Boil a period costume specialist.

Duffield Designs-30

EF: What do you like most about working in your studio at home?
MD: I like that it’s a separate building from our home that enables me to focus on my work of designing and creating clothing with few distractions. The land that we live and work on is also a great source of inspiration for my collections. Being so closely connected to nature, I am reminded on a daily basis of the importance of creating products that are in tune with our environment. Our natural world is a great teacher on keeping a balanced order, understanding that everything is connected and affected by everything else. Respecting that balance and all of the living things within it helps us to preserve our environment and ultimately our future on this plant.

I believe living and working in Dunrobin has helped me to set a vision for the company that encompasses and reinforces my core values, prompting me on a daily basis to stay true to my beliefs and responsibilities as a designer and manufacturer.

Duffield Designs-113

EF: What are the cons of working from home?
MD: There are no cons.

EF: What are the challenges of designing with eco-fabrics?
MD: One of the challenges I have experienced being a smaller design company has been access to Canadian-made eco-textiles. We have some amazing mills in Canada creating quality eco-textiles, unfortunately, to my knowledge, there are no middleman companies buying these textiles and selling them at smaller minimums to designers such as myself. Mills have minimums which run anywhere from (on average) 500-1,000 meters in one colour on one fabric. For smaller design companies, this is an impossible order to meet. So we have little other option but to purchase textiles that are produced overseas, albeit from reputable sources, but it would still be nice to support Canadian-made products when available, and they are available but just not very accessible.

Another issue at the beginning for me was having access to printed eco-textiles. It’s extremely difficult to find them and when you do, most often every other eco-design company is using them. Prints and patterns are one of the ways design companies differentiate themselves from one another so it’s very important to have access to a wide variety of them. Luckily for me, I met Maureen Ballagh and the world of prints revealed itself to me in technicolour.

Duffield Designs-107

EF: Who is your local dyer and how long have you been working together?
MD: Maureen and I have been working together since 2013 to create unique hand-dyed pieces. She has a spectacular flare for creating exceptional patterns and designs that add a dimension of life and character to the pieces. She laboriously dyes each one separately. So much time, effort, and care are poured into the dyed garments and no two are the same. Maureen’s fibre art can be viewed online by visiting maureenballagh.ca.

EF: Who are your fabric suppliers?
MD: My fabric suppliers range from small Canadian manufacturers such as Delyla in Montreal, to Canadian suppliers like Kendor Textiles in Vancouver. I also source from a couple of reputable companies in the States, Pickering International and Enviro Textiles.

EF: Do you have any help with cutting and sewing?
MD: For large orders I work closely with my seamstress and master tailor, Sothea Chhay. She helps me with the large cut runs and piecework but for the most part I do the designing, pattern work, cutting, sewing and finishing myself. Regardless, all of the pieces pass through my hands in one way or another. I think it’s really important as a designer to be active in the production process and its one of the ways I maintain a high quality. As the business grows, I realize that my part in the actual production is going to shift dramatically from what it is now, but I also know that surrounding myself with the right people who take pride in their work and share a common vision with me will ensure that the brand grows in the right direction.

Duffield Designs-86

EF: Tell me about this latest collection, what is new about it? What was the inspiration behind it?
MD: SS15 is a collection inspired by the Ottawa River and the beautiful beaches that hug its shore. In the summer I spend a lot of time walking the shoreline of this unique area, observing the natural world around me. The reflections and colours of the water, the texture of the sand and stones, the fossils that tell a story of the Champlain Sea that once covered this area. Our landscape is so rich with stories and inspiration and I hope this collection gives you a feeling of its beauty and how it speaks to me.

EF: How do you incorporate sustainability in your designs?
MD: I do this mostly through my fabrics and the choice I make to purchase the best quality sustainable fabrics available to me on the market. I look at many aspects when I’m purchasing but the main factors I consider are natural textiles, quality and source. I also practice the idea that sustainability means longevity in fabrication and design. I design everyday essentials that are versatile, classic and comfortable. All of the garments, as mentioned, are manufactured locally from cut to finish and hand delivered to our retailers with minimum packaging.

Duffield Designs-80

EF: What materials have you used in this collection?
MD: When I started my line in 2011 there was a lot of bad press going around about the production process of bamboo and many people were arguing against the use of it as an eco-textile. Needless to say I was apprehensive about it’s use for a long time but after much testing and personal wear “Bamboo from Rayon” as the new by-law insists it be labeled, has become one of my favourite textiles in the Duffield Design Collection, and here’s why. This remarkable plant can regenerate itself quickly and with little to no use of pesticides or herbicides. It’s strong, lightweight and breathable, with wicking and antibacterial properties. It can withstand many washes, maintaining the fabrics integrity and it also takes on dyes very well and keeps the colour strong. Working with bamboo in the collection creates an all around quality piece of clothing that I hope will be worn and loved for many years to come. The spring 2015 collection is produced primarily using bamboo from rayon, modal, (a similar textile using beech wood fibre as it’s base), 100% linen, soy, and yak down which is a new fabric for us this season.

EF: Tell me about a time when a design just didn’t work out.
MD: Ever hear of the expression perseverance pays off? There have been many times when a design hasn’t quite come together exactly as I had expected in the beginning, but I stuck with it and kept trying. There is always a way but it does at times call for patients and perseverance.

EF: What funding support is there in Canada for eco-designers?
MD: I have heard of a grant offered by an amazing designer who has in her very long career blazed the way for eco-esigners in such a graceful and genuine way that I can’t help but love her for it, my idol Eileen Fisher. More information is available on her website about the grants her company offers, visit: http://www.eileenfisher.com/EileenFisher/company/grants/Women_Owned_Businesses.jsp?bmLocale=en_US.

Duffield Designs-58

Duffield Designs-66

Duffield Designs-63

Duffield Designs-36

Duffield Designs-47

Duffield Designs-38

Duffield Designs-50

Duffield Designs-17

Duffield Designs-15

Duffield Designs-13

Duffield Designs-7

How to buy a quality shoe

February 25, 2015

shoe illo 2 (1)

When it comes to ethical and sustainable fashion, shoes, for me, are tricky. I don’t want to purchase shoes from a company that sources leather from poorly treated cows, and I want to know that the leather was a by-product of the beef industry so as to avoid waste. I don’t want to support just any beef industry though, I try to only eat locally raised, grain-fed beef, you know, from happy cows who were treated with respect in life and in death. It’s this too much to ask!?

It’s difficult to find shoes made out of such leather. There are some great online shops that sell high-quality, vegetable-tanned leather shoes, Mallorca-based Coclico being one of my fave, but most other eco-shoe brands are vegan, so they use “pleather” or plastic leather and this material has its own environmental issues.

Many people will argue that I shouldn’t buy leather shoes at all, and a part of me agrees. Why do animals have to be killed at all? We don’t really need meat and we certainly don’t need to wear their skin or their fur. But from a sustainability perspective, many argue that leather is better than plastic. And so long as cows are killed for their meat, might as well use their skins to minimize waste.

This is an entirely separate post, one that I’ve wanted to write for a while now on leather vs. pleather. Until I tackle that beast, I thought I’d approach shoe buying from one type of sustainability, one that involves craftsmanship, quality, durability and timeless design. I turned to shoe designer, Zoe Lee, for a simple how-to guide on buying quality shoes.

Zoe is a rising star in high-end shoe design who opened up a shoe boutique in the Marais quarter of Paris in 2014. She studied at the prestigious Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art and then went on collaborate with the likes of Alexander McQueen, Erdem and Vivienne Westwood before she went rogue and launched Zoe Lee Shoes in April 2011. The Zoe Lee Shoe is not your average shoe, nor your average high-fashion shoe either, as we’ll soon find out. Zoe sources from the highest quality leathers and works with a family-run shoe factory that has been in business for many years.

SYarhi-zoe-lee-7565

Zoe Lee, shoe designer, and her Marais boutique, Paris, France. Photo courtesy of Stefania Yarhi, Textstyles.ca.

 

Side note: Now that she has her own shop, Zoe is soon launching a bag collection made out of scrap leather from factory floors, a great way to reduce waste. If they’re anything like her shoes, I’ll have to put one on my “save for” wish list.

Zoe Lee Shoes are just like Zoe, straight-forward, exotic, understated, no-fuss and beautiful. If you want to see what a quality shoe looks like, dissect one of her shoes. But instead of sacrificing one of her creations, I worked with the talented and adorable illustrator, Becky Murphy of Chipper Things, to break it down for you here (see below).

shoe illo 1 (2)

EF Magazine (EF): What are the basic parts of a shoe?
Zoe Lee (ZL): The upper, insole, shank and heel.

EF: What are the conventional materials used for those parts?
ZL: Leather for the upper, insole and shank. Suede is so fragile, so you wouldn’t want to wear it as an upper. The top part of the heel as well as the rubber on the tip of the heel, they’d be cork filled on the inside. The insole board, which is what the sole goes onto, is usually made out of a very dense, cardboard-like paper, almost papier-mâché. The front part of the insole is made of the same material but less dense. Built into this sole is a metal shank that goes throughout the shoe. A shank is primarily just in heels and anything over two inches. Men’s shoes have a metal shank in them too.

EF: What should buyers look for in a good shoe?
ZL: Good fit, comfort, made of leather, leather-soled and stitching. Different designers use different shapes. If you find a designer who’s shape you like, the likelihood is that the designer’s other shoes will fit you as well. Certain bits have to be glued but there shouldn’t be much gluing either.

There is a good amount of craftsmanship that goes into a good shoe. High-end fashion shoes are seasonal, they’re not investments. They’re more frivolous. So my advise is to buy something classic. Trendy shoes date quickly no matter the quality. Go for what you like as opposed to styles that you’ve seen in magazines. I like to wear my own shoes.

EF: What makes a bad shoe?
ZL: A shoe that’s trying to be something that it’s not. Trying to look expensive when it’s cheap. Something that looks cheap when it’s actually very expensive. Bad stitching, poor quality leather, resin, plastic soles instead of leather soles.

EF: Does price reflect quality?
ZL: Fashion shoes, no matter how high-quality and expensive have a lot of glue in them because most women who buy high-end shoes don’t care about the actual craft of shoe making. Women’s high-end shoes are most often than not, a bad example of quality.

They are no comparison to high-end men’s shoes. Price wise, high-end men’s shoes are more expensive than women’s high-end shoes. A man’s well-made shoe will start at 2,000 pounds (more than $3,800 CAD).

SYarhi-zoe-lee-7613

Ruston, Zoe Lee Shoes, SS 2014 collection. Photo courtesy of Stefania Yarhi, Textstyles.ca.

EF: How long does it take to produce one of your collections?

ZL: Each shoe has a different process for production. It depends on the factory’s capacity too. Some can produce thousands of shoes a day. Italian, family-run factories produce 200-500 pairs a day, but that is at full capacity and with just one style of shoe.

Most small factories produce 600 pairs a season, across 25 styles. My production is longer because the factory I work with has to change the factory line for each style of shoe. One shoe might be white so they have to use white paint, etc. You can’t mix stuff up too much because it’s damaging to the materials.

You put shoes through various processes by hand and by machines and you have to set the machines to the particular style, heel height and width and some times this take a few hours to setup. I work with one factory in Italy. It’s quite small but they’ve done shoes for different brands, big shoe labels too for generations.

EF: Why is Italy the shoe capital of the world?
ZL: Italy has a good history of shoe making in the sense that it has tanneries and everyone who supplies all of the shoes parts have all been making and delivering those parts for a long time. It’s more about the communication and logistics really. Italian factories and suppliers all know each other and this makes planning the execution of a shoe a lot easier.

When making a shoe, everyone has to know what they’re doing and it all has to come together and if you’re, for instance, working with a shoe factory in China, the likelihood is that the factory doesn’t have the history of working with its suppliers and they don’t have the infrastructure so you, as a shoe designer, have to organize more on your end to make sure that you order the right material for your design and that everything comes together properly and on time.

In my case, organizing isn’t my specialty. My factory (located in the Venice area of Italy) knows which supplier produces wider cloths, etc. This is so important because if one thing doesn’t fit, nothing fits. You’re starting from scratch if you work with China and there’s no knowledge of what makes up a shoe. Large, Chinese factories don’t develop, they like to copy.

SYarhi-zoe-lee-7581

Zoe Lee, shoe designer, taken outside of her Paris shoe boutique. Photo courtesy of Stefania Yarhi, Textstyles.ca.

 

SYarhi-zoe-lee-7584

Shoe designer Zoe Lee wears a pair of her own Bonita line. Photo courtesy of Stephania Yarhi, Textstyles.ca.

 

EF: Who is your favourite shoe designer? 
ZL: I like Robert Clergerie and a designer, Kisa Takada, from Japan. She died a while ago but she made some really nice shoes in the 70’s and 80’s. I don’t really like very many shoes that are out there. I don’t shop, I’m not a consumer. I’m more interested in making shoes than buying them.

EF: What kind of shoe would you never wear?
ZL: An elevated platform, I think they’re ugly and cheap looking.

EF: Fun fact?
ZL: My shoes are named after towns and cities in Louisiana. They’re not masculine or feminine, sometimes European and there are so many, more than 10,000 so there’s no risk of me running out of collection names.

Mayflower fall/winter 2014 lookbook

December 15, 2014

I’m prepping another gift guide for those of you who are still on the hunt.
In the meantime I thought I’d share this: I always look forward to Mayflower’s lookbooks.
This one does not disappoint!

MAY_1_grande MAY_2_grande MAY_5_grande MAY_6_grande MAY_10_grande MAY_15_grande MAY_16_grande MAY_19_grande MAY_20_grande MAY_21_grande MAY_23_grande MAY_30_grande MAY_36_grande MAY-31_08b757f0-a7eb-4245-a369-dcda71d49ee1_grande MAY-35_grande

Gifts for your (vegan) loved ones

December 10, 2014

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

By Sarah LaBrecque

While there are lots of food options for vegans, those who abstain from wearing clothing which may have harmed an animal in its production, might have a tricky time finding suitable threads, or have questions about what constitutes a vegan closet in the first place. Leather, fur, wool and even silk (because it’s made from silkworms), is out. So where does a vegan fashionista go for ideas?

Vegan Cuts, an online curator of vegan products, recently produced a vegan fashion guide and lookbook which, according to Vegan Cuts co-founder Jill Pyle, has something in it for everyone. “From glimpses into the industry to inspire the vegan curious,” she says “to quick speaking points for explaining why cruelty-free matters to you when you face inevitable questions about your animal-friendly stance,” the guide is there to help.

One of my first questions after perusing through the guide was, where can I get these items and are they going to cost me an arm and a leg? (not ideal for a vegan). Says Pyle, “We feature a whole range of items in the lookbook, but these specific brands are mostly available online. Generally, it’s possible to pick up vegan pieces no matter where you are, you just have to know what you’re looking for.” Enter the pocket guide (included in the lookbook) of fabrics to avoid, their “Label reading like a pro” tip sheet and a full vegan shopping directory.

Common fabrics like cotton and acrylic are animal friendly but there are a host of others which should be avoided, such as pashmina, suede and shearling. Knowing which materials to be wary of means that a simple check of a garment label makes it possible to shop vegan, without blood, sweat or tears (literally).

And the common impression people have that it’s expensive to be vegan (both in diet and attire), isn’t necessarily true. “For those pieces that are on the expensive side, I’d recommend looking at them as an investment,” continues Pyle, “a pair of Nicora John’s and a Vaute Couture jacket will last way longer than a cheap pair of flats and a jacket picked up at a big box store.” It’s not only an investment for your wardrobe but also for these ethical designers and companies, whose designs will only become more affordable if they can reach a wider consumer base.

So as Christmas approaches — and consumerism inevitably heightens — and you’re stuck for gift ideas for your vegan friends and relatives (or anyone really), look to Vegan Cuts and their fashion guide as a springboard for inspiration.

My picks

00001834_l

Cork clutch – $70.00

00002197_l

Transformative serum – $55.0000003386_l

Deodorant cream – $13.0000003693_l

Chickpea Magazine one-year subscription – $60.0000003965_l

Mala beads – $36.0000004071_l

Hand-crafted bar soap – $11.0000004074_l

Lip balm – $9.5000004115_l

Gourmet chocolate bar six-pack – $20.0000004367_lCanvas bag – $33.00

I’m dreaming of an indigo Christmas

November 16, 2014

ef and larkspur giveaway

I know I’m stating the obvious when I say that indigo is every where right now. From pillow cases to clutches and table cloths, this ancient dye is a design darling. It’s also become a DIY must-do. Don’t believe me? Try ordering a Shibori dyeing kit off of Amazon. This past summer, I was inspired to try my hand at Shibori dyeing and the kit was sold out. I think I’ll throw in the DIY towel and buy some indigo pillow cases or napkins from an artisan instead. Better yet, I’ll order me some sexy indigo lingerie from Larkspur Lingerie, (now that’s a segue).

I first posted about Amanda Bear’s ethical lingerie line this past July and I’m happy to share with you now her Indigo Collection. Not only is indigo a gorgeous colour, but it is also reported to have healing properties. Heather tells me that Japanese Samurai wore indigo-dyed undergarments to promote healing and to protect them in battle. Historically, indigo has been used in traditional medicine as an anti-inflammatory and for skin calming purposes. While she wouldn’t recommend her undies for medical purposes, Heather likes to think the Samurai were onto something…

Since Christmas is just around the corner and snow is on the ground here in Ottawa, Larkspur and I are happy to announce a little giveaway for you. Details below. Good luck!

TO ENTER

“LIKE” LARKSPUR’S FACEBOOK PAGE
CHECK OUT THE INDIGO COLLECTION
COMMENT ON THIS POST, TELLING US WHICH PIECE IS YOUR FAVOURITE

LUCKY WINNER WILL RECEIVE THE ITEM OF THEIR CHOICE! 

ANNOUNCED ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2014

*All Photos by Claire Oring

blue-robe Githa-indigo-f Hazel-indigo-set-f myrtle-indigo-f Zelda-indigo-set-f

FINALLY: Ethical women’s work wear

November 8, 2014

01a0df0c186f18258857421895ca1a4a_large

If there’s one segment of the women’s ethical and sustainable fashion market that is lacking, it’s women’s work wear. Cue Wabi Sabi Eco Fashion Concept’s first collection called “Sustainable City Style Collection,” in which each piece is named after a sustainable city, and designed and manufactured with the wearer and ethics in mind.

Michele Helen Cohen of Wabi Sabi just successfully raised more than the desired $15,000 via Kickstarter to expand the brand’s line and I’m looking forward to seeing the final product. Cohen says that each dress is designed for the city life but inspired by nature.

“We worked hard to create excellent quality clothing that meets the needs of today´s busy, professional woman. From the designs to the construction to the selection of fabric, each and every decision was made by viewing things from a customer´s perspective. Each and every detail was considered for both its aesthetics and functionality.”

This premier collection, made out of knit blends of organic cotton; tencel and spandex; and organic cotton sateen/lycra blends, has a dress for every age and  body type. Cohen tells me that the dresses will wear well, wash well and will become treasured pieces in your closet.  The designs were kept classic to remain timeless but they also have a little bit of that special something. You can easily dress them up or dress them down.

6e7dd74325d32f3cf6545b7411f23e3e_large 7e7ae950ae56d9c74ed132b7e9d0ed19_large 8f1c0a30f1e1384d8d1a235f4ee562ed_large 39bbc0f90d84be6d5cdcee8c52dc112d_large 75c911ff699ffd4740430338d61c0076_large 79a50449447361f92bd7a42a6f1c4e57_large 4979ddd2983d0c3a619d27fce6fa2392_large b4feaf9749ea19d2b5d598b10cffde24_large c792e26834ef8eb3121639ee95794e49_large de149553ec1fee51878f8b244a363303_large

EF + MADESMITH GIVEAWAY

November 1, 2014

madesmith main imageThis blog of mine is a hobby, a creative side project that has been the one constant project in my life for the past seven years. For someone as flighty and indecisive as I can be, EF has always been there, the one tool I use to share my passion for ethical and sustainable fashion, new designers, ideas, concepts and more.

One of the many advantages of running this blog is the chance to meet (mostly virtually that is) and collaborate with my favourite companies. Madesmith is no exception. Madesmith is a storytelling platform that helps people discover well-designed, sustainable objects made by hand in the USA. It features exclusive collaborations with artists and makers that create fashion, beauty and home goods in their own studios or small manufacturing facilities.

Most recently, Madesmith launched Madesmith Academy, an online school where product designers, makers and your average “Joe/Joanna” can learn sustainable craft and business skills from top experts who have built successful brands.

Since I wanted to put together a Christmas gift guide using their products, they’re showing their gratitude by giving all of you 25% off of your Madesmith craft and business courses. I really can’t think of a better gift than the gift of learning, can you? Well, OK, so the products below would be pretty schnazzy too. Yes, I made that spelling up but I’m going to say it’s probably similar to something Yiddish?

USE PROMO CODE “EFMAG” TO RECEIVE 25% OFF MADESMITH ACADEMY COURSES

madesmith gift guide-small

HOME

Tapestry | Rachel Duvall Textiles
Pot | Wind & Willow

THINGS

Skateboard | Loyal Dean
Pouch | Specialty Dry Goods

KITCHEN

Oil | Blackcreek Mercantile
Knife | Chelsea Miller Knives

FASHION

Clogs | Bryr Clogs
Portfolio | Katrine Reifeiss

ADORNMENTS

Hat | Derby Hats
Barrette | Canoe

JEWELS

Earrings | Aili Jewelry
Necklace | Gamma Folk

BODY

Room + Linen Spray | Oille Naturals
His + her soap | The Greater Goods

All rights reserved © EF Magazine · Theme by Blogmilk + Coded by Brandi Bernoskie